How to Clean All Those Solar Panels? Get Robots to Do It
With abundant sunlight and plenty of open space, deserts are an obvious place to put large solar arrays, but there’s a downside: lots of dust, and not enough rainfall to wash it off. A buildup on solar panels can reduce efficiency by anywhere from 7 to 40 percent, according to various research efforts. Cleaning them takes manpower and usually water, which raises costs. Now a handful of startups are aiming to do for the solar industry what the Roomba has done for people who hate vacuuming: Turn the job over to robots.
Ecoppia, a company founded last year in Israel, has been operating nearly 100 of its panel-cleaning robots at the Ketura Sun solar array in Israel’s Negev desert. Using