Budget-friendly robotic cleaning solution for solar panels

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Indian startup Solavio has developed a budget-friendly, portable and shareable robotic cleaning solution for rooftop and ground-mount PV installations. Using a tubular dry-cleaning method, the machine, called Eco Bot, cleans vertically by combining airflow and friction from the anti-static microfibre cloth to remove the dust off the solar panel. 

“The bot by default travels at about 0.3 metre per second. The speed of the robot and the cleaning unit can be modified based on the amount and type of dust,” Suraj Mohan, co-founder of Solavio told pv magazine

The bot can be manually shifted to serve other rows of panels. 

The use of antistatic microfiber cloth for cleaning and even mechanical load distribution ensures no physical damage to the panels. “We have even used certified global third-party agencies to test and certify the bot over an accelerated period (10,000 cycles) covering the life of the plant,” said Mohan.

The bot has been designed with a unique All Wheel Drive (AWD) mechanism. “With the help of the onboard sensors and our proprietary algorithm, it can overcome deviations across x-y-z axis between panels or tables. For deviations beyond certain limits, we recommend the use of our proprietary connecting bridges to ensure smooth operations of the bot,” said Mohan.

The bot is powered by an onboard Lithium battery and can travel as much as 2.5 km on a single charge. “There are no limitations on continuous use, thanks to our onboard electronics cooling chamber,” said Mohan.

The battery uses Japanese cell technology and can be charged with a normal AC charger, an AC fast charger, an onboard PV panel, or a dedicated docking station in the field.

The Eco Bot is cloud-based, enabling remote monitoring, control, and spare part management. LORA-enabled technology ensures security for both the bot and data across the network. The bots can be controlled via the onboard buttons, a remote fob, or the Internet of Things (IoT) dashboard.

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