Enel Green Power has developed a new robot for automated solar panel cleaning without the use of water, in partnership with Sicily-based startup Reiwa.
The robot can move on the panel rows independently and does not require human assistance. It is also able to recharge itself via solar panels and return to its docking station at the end of the journey.
The SandStorm system is equipped with a system of brushes that act as the cleaning force.
“The approach normally adopted involves cleaning the surfaces with pressure washers or tractors equipped with hydraulic brushes; both cases entail water consumption and gas emissions from the motor vehicles used,” Enel Green Power said. “Sturdy and versatile, SandStorm adapts – when necessary – even to the non-homogeneous alignment of the trackers of the panels, managing to move independently from one row of panels to the adjacent one.”
Enel Green Power has already tested the system at its Innovation LabEGP research center of Passo Martino, near Catania, and then on an industrial scale in a 1 MW section of a PV plant it operates in Totana, Spain.
“Today EGP is scaling up the application of this technology with an initial contract for the implementation of around 150 robots in two Spanish PV plants, Totana and Las Corchas, for a total capacity of 135 MW,” the company said.
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