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Cleaning the Snow Off Solar Modules

Linda Hardesty

Solar Panel Energy ManageMaximum Solar provides operations, management and loss mitigation services to commercial-scale, Massachusetts, ground-mounted solar facilities, including snow removal from solar panels.

Maximum Solar, which owns and operates more than $37 million of solar assets, noticed that when snow covers the panels of solar modules, electricity production goes down to zero. According to the company’s website, for a 2.5 MW system, that loss amounts to $3,200 per day. So the company has developed a machine that removes snow, using a heated air blower.

Other inventors have focused on keeping solar modules clean of dirt and debris. In November, SunPower announced it acquired Greenbotics, a Davis, Calif.-based company that offers panel-cleaning robots for large-scale solar power plants. SunPower expects to utilize the robotic technology and the Greenbotics team in conjunction with its SunPower Oasis Power Plant product, especially in markets with challenging dirt and dust environments. Regularly cleaning solar panels located in desert regions can increase annual energy production by up to 15 percent, says Greenbotics.



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