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Water-free robotic solar panel cleaning system at work in India's Bhadla Solar Park
Ecoppia, a world-leading developer of robotic, water-free photovoltaic solar panel cleaning solutions, has signed an agreement with Solairedirect India, subsidiary of energy multinational ENGIE Group, to deploy its automated system in the 10,000-hectare, 2,255 MW Bhadla Solar Park in Jodhpur, Rajasthan India.
Located in a vast desert area, Bhadla Solar Park is prone to frequent dust storms, which can reduce energy generation by as much as 40% in a matter of minutes. Traditional, labour-intensive, water-based panel cleaning solutions are neither cost-effective nor timely when immediate recovery from sandstorms is mission-critical to maintain a levelised cost of electricity.
To alleviate the production loss associated with soiling and maintain panels at peak performance year-round, Engie's site in Bhadla will be cleaned nightly by Ecoppia robots.
Ecoppia says that this is the only solution able to maintain peak energy production and restore panels post-storm in just hours - without water or external electricity consumption. Moreover, when concerns about availability of water and increasing labor costs play a key role in strategic decision-making, it says it is the only company that can provide clear visibility over O&M costs for a 25-year timespan.
With the deployment of Ecoppia across its site, ENGIE is expected to save over 1.5 billion of litres of water and reduce its operating expenses drastically.
Cleaning over 70 million solar panels to date, using experience gained working with energy conglomerates like Adani Power, SunEdison and NTPC, Ecoppia cooperated closely with ENGIE throughout the design and deployment process to maximise rollout efficiency and optimise return on investment. The announcement also comes on the heels of Ecoppia's recent shift of its assembly facilities to India, as well as the opening of its new Asia headquarters in Gurgaon, India.
"We expect to harness Ecoppia's revolutionary cleaning system to dramatically raise output and lower costs," says Gaurav Sood, managing director of Solairedirect India. "This type of technological breakthrough not only benefits our own business interests, but the solar energy sector as a whole.
"We are proud to be one of the world's first solar energy providers to adopt Ecoppia's cutting-edge, autonomous robotic panel cleaning paradigm."
Eran Meller, CEO of Ecoppia, adds: "We're proud to cooperate with forward-thinking companies like ENGIE in what is truly a true revolution in renewable energy.
"By ensuring cost-effective panel cleanliness on a day-to-day basis, we've created a new standard of plant output that is changing the way operators, investors and governments view the benefits of solar power."
12th January 2017