Ecoppia said the Ketura Sun solar power park in Israel's Negev desert, jointly owned by Siemens AG and Arava Power, is now equipped with an autonomous cleaning system.
The 20-acre facility, producing 9 million kWh of renewable solar energy per year, is cleaned nightly by a fleet of almost 100 water-free, energy-independent Ecoppia E4 robots.
The accumulation of dirt and dust on photovoltaic solar panel surfaces is one of the greatest impediments to solar energy production, and can reduce panel energy output by up to 35 percent.
Located in the hot southern stretch of Israel's Negev desert, between the Gulf of Aqaba and the southern tip of the Dead Sea, Ketura Sun suffers from frequent sand storms and virtually no rain. Due to the expense of traditional, labor-intensive, water-based cleaning, Ketura Sun's solar panels were only cleaned some nine times a year.
This manual panel cleaning would take up to five days, during which time the field operated sub-optimally and work crews endangered sensitive equipment. In the interim between cleaning cycles, the park suffered electricity production degradation due to soiling.
Following a pilot, during which Ecoppia's solution removed 99 percent of panel dust daily, E4 robots were deployed over the entire Ketura Sun field in less than three months. Nearly 100 centrally-controlled E4 robots clean the entire field every night, ensuring maximum production efficiency during sunlight hours.
Cost effective and efficient, energy-independent E4 cleaning robots use a soft microfiber and air flow cleaning system to remove 99 percent of dust daily, applying zero load on the panel surface, keeping panels at optimal production all the time. Using a control unit and sensors that drive the robotic system along each solar panel row, E4 is fully remotely managed, monitored and controlled.