In addition to excessively high temperatures and cloudy weather, solar panels are also tormented by the problem of ordinary dirt, which reduces their efficiency in generating electricity. Keeping them in good condition is difficult, especially where access is difficult (roofs, facades), so it’s no wonder that to counteract this, an automated solar panel cleaning system has been created using drones called HELIOS from ART Robotics.
Solar panel cleaning system
Dust and a number of other pollutants accumulate on solar panels and reduce their efficiency. The HELIOS system is to solve this problem by using, in a way, two drones – one flying (hexacopter) and the other cleaning, which hangs under the former. After reaching the panel surfaces, it is lowered from the tilting platform, starting the cleaning process with its brush and vacuum cleaner. The flying drone recognizes the panels themselves automatically, using a computer vision system.
The process is therefore largely automated, because after landing on the panel of a crawling drone, the flying drone returns to the starting point waiting for the signal to complete the work by the former. After receiving it, he would fly back to the roof, pick up the other robot, and bring it to the ground. All this under the watchful eye of an operator who would supervise them and, if necessary, take them over and control them manually.
Also read: We can envy the Italians. The state is putting four billion euros on the table for semiconductor manufacturers
After developing a fully functional prototype, the company went to the Kickstarter website to finalize its commercial development. However, instead of drones, they are offering Belgian investors a panel cleaning service that will be available when the system is available. Prices start at EUR 120 for a package of up to 20 panels, and the planned commercial price for this package is EUR 150.