SunPower has 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.
For the past two years, Greenbotics says it has used its CleanFleet robots to wash hundreds of megawatts of systems in the Southwest and Western US. The robots can be configured for use with a variety of solar panels and mounting types, including fixed-tilt arrays and single-axis trackers. The robots use under a half a cup of water to clean each panel, which is 90 percent less than traditional cleaning methods, according to Greenbotics. The CleanFleet robots can be tailored for each power plant’s schedule. Most panels are cleaned at night to avoid disruption during the energy-producing hours.
In other news, St. Louis based Microgrid Solar conducted a solar installation in conjunction with the St. Louis Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program – Set the PACE. The program is administered by Energy Equity Funding and financed by PNC Bank, which offers low cost financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to private building owners in the city of St. Louis. The program’s first installation is a rooftop array at the Four Muddy Paws Lafayette Square location, a turn-of-the century edifice converted to a pet market. Microgrid Solar is a certified contractor for the St. Louis’ PACE program.