Eccoppia’s waterless robots clean solar panel dust in Israel

world's first self-cleaning solar plant, ketura, ecoppia, robot PV cleaners, negev desert, israel, waterless solar cleaning, Siemens AG, Arava Power

Solar parks in the desert face two major challenges: a lot of dust on the photovoltaic panels and not enough water to clean them. Dust can cause up to a 40% decrease in efficiency of the panels. So there is  huge interest to avert this problem. Normally teams of humans come in with squeegees to clean the panels by hand.

Located in Israel’s Negev desert, Ketura Sun solar park scoured the planet for a solution to their dust problem, which they found in an army of Ecoppia’s water-free robots. Ecoppia is an Israeli company that is competing in the market of automated solar panel cleaners for PV panels. 

Ecoppia is a relatively new Israeli company that has hit the ground running in 2013 with their E4 Ecoppia cleaning robots that remove up to 99 percent of the dust on Ketura’s panels using soft microfiber elements and an airflow cleaning system. The robots work by night, are powered by solar energy, and can last three days of cloud coverage on a single charge.


Before they brought Ecoppia’s robots on board, the solar park, which is a joint Arava Power and Siemens AG venture that delivers 9 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy every year, would only clean their panels about nine times a year. And the process was arduous, costly, and potentially unsafe.

world's first self-cleaning solar plant, ketura, ecoppia, robot PV cleaners, negev desert, israel, waterless solar cleaning, Siemens AG, Arava Power

It would take up to five days to clean the panels manually and it was hard work that often put cleaners and panels at risk. But if they didn’t clean the panels, their ability to absorb the sun’s energy was reduced by about 35 percent. Over time, that amounts to a significant loss.

Completely self-sufficient, nearly one hundred E4 robots clean the plant’s panels every day after sunset. Using a sophisticated winch system, they clean 54 square feet in 30 seconds, and Ketura is thrilled with their performance to date.

“Ecoppia has changed the way we run the Ketura Sun field,” says Yanir Aloush, VP Operations at Arava Power.

“Less guesswork about when to clean, less downtime since there’s no need for on-site cleaning crews, less external personnel on the ground – we are very excited by the potential upgrade Ecoppia’s solution offers us.”

:: Ecoppia

About Tafline Laylin

As a tour leader who led “eco-friendly” camping trips throughout North America, Tafline soon realized that she was instead leaving behind a trail of gas fumes, plastic bottles and Pringles. In fact, wherever she traveled – whether it was Viet Nam or South Africa or England – it became clear how inefficiently the mandate to re-think our consumer culture is reaching the general public.Born in Iran, raised in South Africa and the United States, she currently splits her time between Africa and the Middle East.Tafline can be reached at tafline (at) greenprophet (dot) com, @teakettle22,

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