The need to wash solar panels has emerged several years ago, as industrial solar farm plants became more and more widespread worldwide.
Pollution of solar cells leads to a gradual diminishment of the energy output, causing up to 80 % of energy loss at some geographic locations.
The importance of this harmful effect varies greatly upon local environmental conditions. At some areas, natural rain itself is sufficient to clean the solar cells, whereas pollution by sand, dust and other materials makes solar energy capture largely uneconomical at other locations.
For further reading about the necessity to wash solar panels, you can take a look at this paper by SINTEF, a Norwegian organization for applied research and innovation.
Solar panel cleaning solutions have been started to be developed worldwide in the beginning of the 2000’s, and some of them are now available for commercial use. We found that most of these solutions used a high amount of water and that also made them dependent on water hoses or large quantities of water transported to the solar farms to be cleaned.
Waterless, clearly mechanical cleaning solutions also exist, but we believe that dry cleaning is not adapted for high-quality cleaning of contaminated surfaces.
With the technology presented here, our main goal was to overcome these limitations by devising a much more water-efficient and yet automatized method to clean solar farms.
Minimal Water Usage with Maximal Cleaning Effect
Our concept allows for cleaning solar panel surfaces by using an order of magnitude less water than other currently available solar panel washing approaches we found on the market.
This solution was developed technically by a Norway Grants project and successfully field-tested in April 2017. The development and testing was carried out by ProDSP Technologies Zrt., a Hungarian engineering office working for industry leader companies of the automotive industry.
For more information bout the project and our team, please see our Presentation here.