Indian company Next Automation has developed a tractor-mounted hydraulically operated arm as a cleaning solution for solar farm panels.
Since pv magazine india
Next Automation’s hydraulically driven cleaning machine, SolarTrack MK1, offers better control with optimal water usage.
“Currently, manual cleaning requires tankers and workers to clean the panels on a regular basis,” said Jagathala Prathapan, the founder of Next Automation. photo magazine. “With an eight-hour shift, it takes a month to clean a 15 MW plant with six workers and 2,25,000 liters of water. The SolarTrack MK1 only takes five days to clean the entire plant with a maximum of 70,000 to 90,000 liters of water.
The overall cleaning system consists of three parts: brush, water and hydraulic system.
The water system contains a water storage tank to transport water with the tractor itself. During the cleaning operation, a sprinkler system placed near the rotating brush sprays water on the surface of the panels. Wet cleaning gives more effective cleaning than dry cleaning methods because sticky particles and bird droppings cannot be cleaned with dry cleaning methods.
The hydraulic system helps control the swivel mechanism of the cleaning system, the rotation of the brush and the adjustment of the cleaning height for different inclinations of the panels.
“For solar park operators, dust and bird droppings on the panels are the biggest enemies as they drastically reduce the efficiency of the solar panels. Our equipment can clean up bird droppings and sticky particles, which is usually not possible with conventional panel cleaning robots. Wet cleaning is possible with the mounted water system itself,” said Prathapan.
When it comes to ease of use, SolarTrack MK1 can easily cover the entire length of the panel in one pass. The tool allows for more precise cleaning and requires no external power source or batteries. The SolarTrack cleaning system is externally mounted on tractors and can be customized. After use, it can be folded up and transported safely.
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