Accumulation of snow, ice, dirt, dust, leaves, pollen, and bird droppings on solar panels greatly affects their performance.
Recent findings from the International Energy Agency state that this fouling is the biggest problem facing solar panel production, causing annual losses of up to 5 percent of capacity, which is equivalent to between 3 and 5 billion euro.
Industry reviews have found that due to the inaccessible location of solar panels, manual cleaning can be not only difficult but also dangerous. As such, manual cleaning is reported to be not only time consuming but also expensive.
We spoke with Oded Fruchtman, CEO of BladeRanger, about this matter. BladeRanger is a cutting-edge robotics and artificial intelligence company specializing in cleaning and inspection solutions within the global solar energy industry.
What are the main health and safety risks workers face when manually cleaning solar panels?
When it comes to manually cleaning solar panels, there are several key health and safety risks that workers face:
– One of the biggest risks is falls, since solar panels are often installed on rooftops or other elevated, sloped, or steep surfaces without a safety fence. These surfaces can be slippery and uneven, making it easy for workers to slip and fall, especially when water is involved, turning these roofs into dangerous water slides.
– Sun exposure is another major risk, as prolonged exposure to the sun can cause skin damage and heat stroke. Additionally, solar panels can magnify the sun’s rays, increasing the risk of exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
– Heat stress is another risk, as cleaning solar panels can be physically demanding and can be done in high temperatures. This can lead to heat exhaustion, dehydration, and other heat-related illnesses.
– Another major risk is electrical hazards, since solar panels are connected to electrical systems. If not handled correctly, this can present a risk of electric shock or burns.
– Physical injuries, such as strains and sprains, can also result from repetitive movements and awkward postures.
– Lastly, workers may be at risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals if cleaning solutions are used.
To minimize these risks, companies are using robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate the cleaning process, which reduces the need for human intervention and therefore minimizes risks.
How are robotics and artificial intelligence currently being used to minimize these risks in the solar energy sector?
Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are being used in the solar energy sector to minimize health and safety risks associated with cleaning solar panels. Autonomous cleaning robots, like Pleco, are equipped with sensors, cameras, and AI algorithms that allow them to navigate and clean solar panels without human intervention. These robots are reducing the risk of falls and exposure to UV radiation, since they are light and easy to transport, do not need water and are autonomous.
Other AI solutions, like Deep Solar, help solar plant owners stay informed on a daily basis with actionable insights, including root cause analysis, that increase energy performance, reduce expenses, and improve ROI. This not only minimizes risks, but also optimizes cleanliness and maximizes ROI for plants.
Predictive maintenance, using AI-powered systems, can analyze data from solar panels to identify signs of failure or degradation before they occur, thus preventing electrical hazards. AI-controlled cleaning algorithms can also be used to optimize cleaning schedules and adjust cleaning processes based on weather conditions, thereby improving efficiency and reducing the need for human intervention in panel cleaning and maintenance. solar.
What additional benefits, besides security, can be obtained by implementing automated cleaning of solar panels?
Implementing automated solar panel cleaning can provide a wide range of benefits beyond improved security. One of the most significant benefits is increased efficiency, as automated cleaning robots can clean solar panels faster and more efficiently than humans, reducing the time and labor required for cleaning. Additionally, automated cleaning robots can be programmed to clean solar panels in a specific pattern, ensuring that all areas of the panels are thoroughly and consistently cleaned, which will also improve the quality of cleaning.
Another benefit is reduced water use, as automated cleaning robots use waterless cleaning methods, which reduces the amount of water needed for cleaning and can help conserve resources. Automated cleaning robots can also increase the overall power output of a solar power plant by keeping the panels clean, which is also a major benefit.
AI-powered predictive maintenance systems can also analyze data from solar panels and identify signs of failure or degradation before they occur, which can help prevent power failures. Implementing automated cleaning can also be cost-effective, as it can help reduce labor costs and increase efficiency, ultimately leading to lower maintenance and operating costs for solar power plants. In addition, it can be environmentally friendly as it can be designed to clean solar panels without damaging them, and it also uses waterless cleaning methods that can save a lot of water and reduce environmental impact.
In this way, implementing automated cleaning of solar panels can provide a wide range of benefits beyond improved safety, including increased efficiency, improved quality of cleaning, reduced water use, increased energy production, maintenance predictive, profitability and respect for the environment.
How is BladeRanger different from other robotics companies in the market in terms of its focus on cleaning and inspection solutions for solar panels?
BladeRanger is a robotics company specializing in cleaning and inspection solutions for solar panels. Our technology is specifically designed to handle the unique safety and efficiency challenges involved in cleaning and inspecting solar panels.
One of the key differences between BladeRanger and other robotics companies on the market is that the company’s goal is to develop a lightweight, easy-to-use robot for cleaning solar panels. The company’s flagship product, the BladeRanger-Pleco robot, is the world’s lightest autonomous waterless solar panel cleaning robot that can be easily transported and deployed on rooftops, making it more affordable and safer to use. .
BladeRanger’s technology also incorporates advanced artificial intelligence algorithms that allow the robot to navigate and clean solar panels autonomously, reducing the need for human intervention and minimizing security risks. In addition, the company’s technology can also be used to inspect solar panels, providing actionable information on a daily basis, including root cause analysis, which helps increase energy performance, reduce expenses and improve return on investment.
Another big difference is the waterless cleaning applied by the Pleco robot which is a high quality cleaning without the use of water. It is not just saving water but in most cases there is no access to water and in some places the use of water is prohibited (such as schools and chemical factories).
Overall, BladeRanger differentiates itself from other robotics companies in the market by focusing on developing lightweight, easy-to-use, and less water-consuming robots that are specifically designed to handle the unique challenges of cleaning and inspecting rooftop solar panels. The company’s technology incorporates advanced artificial intelligence algorithms that allow the robot to navigate and clean solar panels autonomously, reducing the need for human intervention, minimizing security risks, and providing useful insights for solar plant owners. .
What steps is BladeRanger taking to promote a more sustainable energy future through automated solar panel cleaning?
BladeRanger is taking several steps to promote a more sustainable energy future through self-cleaning solar panels:
– One of the main steps is the use of waterless cleaning methods, which can save a lot of water and reduce environmental impact. The company’s flagship product, the BladeRanger robt Pleco-solar, is specifically designed to use waterless cleaning methods, helping to conserve resources.
– Another step that BladeRanger is taking is to increase the total energy production of solar power plants. By keeping solar panels clean, the company’s technology can increase the efficiency of the panels, leading to more power being produced.
– AI-powered predictive maintenance systems that analyze data from solar panels and identify signs of failure or degradation before they occur, which can prevent the need to replace solar panels. This helps reduce waste and extend the life of the solar panels.
– Inspect solar panels, providing actionable insights on a daily basis, including root cause analysis, which helps increase energy performance, reduce expenses and improve ROI. This helps to optimize the cleaning and maintenance of the solar panels, which leads to more efficient energy production.
Overall, BladeRanger is taking several steps to promote a more sustainable energy future through automated solar panel cleaning, including using waterless cleaning methods, increasing overall energy output from solar power plants, the use of AI-powered predictive maintenance systems and the provision of actionable information for solar plant owners to optimize the cleaning and maintenance of solar panels.
Founded in 2015, BladeRanger created PLECO, the world’s lightest autonomous waterless solar panel cleaning robot, to increase the operational life and performance of solar panels. Founded by robotics experts, BladeRanger wants to make every lightning bolt count in the mission toward a sustainable future. BladeRanger is based in Israel and employs 20 people. For more information, visit bladeranger.com.