The principle of PV solar power generation is called “photovoltaic effect”, the creation of voltage or electric current in a material called “cell” upon its exposure to light. The irradiation of sunlight on PV panel generates electric current with high efficiency, but when the panel is covered with dust or dirt, the power generation efficiency (so called “yield”) goes down.
Various dirt accumulated on the panel surface, i.e. contamination by micro-particle (so called PM2.5) in the rain, wind and snowfall, birds’ droppings, pollen, dirt, sand, yellow sand, and also by the natural disasters like ash fall from volcanoes shade the sunlight, causing yield loss in solar power generation. Periodical cleaning of PV panels is necessary.
SOLRIDER® has been developed to solve these problems.
The main, cleaning unit of SOLRIDER® is mounted on the self-propelling guide rail, which rail uses the far and near sides of the panel edges. The main unit moves up/down the guide rail, while the guide rail itself runs left/right, with the remote control unit, and the main unit cleans the entire surface of a panel array with water, brushers and wipers.
The guide rail can be dismounted from one array and carried to the next array, easily.
The self-propelling guide rail is supported by many tires made of urethane that the system’s weight pressure applied on the panel surface is minimized, so that the guide rail moves left/right without any trace on the panel surface.
The cleaning water is supplied to SOLRIDER® via a demineralizer unit and water hose. Water is splashed on to panel surface by the jet nozzles.
The water splash lifts up even stiff dirt from the panel surface, and the spiral shaped rotating brushes remove the dirt.
When the unit does brushing, some dirty water remains on the panel surface, but the wiper removes it and the panel surface is cleaned, thoroughly.
One each wiper is set on both sides of the main unit, outside of the two brushes, which setting allows removing of dirty water when SOLRIDER® moves left/right. The standard setting is the brush type wiper, but the rubber type wiper can be used instead.
The housing of SOLRIDER® is made of plastic materials, and it not only covers the main unit, but also prevents dirty water from scattering to adjacent panels.
The housing prevents dirty water from scattering that cleaning of a panel array can be made efficiently.
The self-propelling guide rail has a pair of wheels to be attached to the far and near ends of the PV panel array. The distance between the two wheel sets is adjustable, so that the guide rail will fit almost any PV panel array. There is no need to construct extensive rails to mount and move SOLRIDER left/right.
The length of the guide rail can be extended by an optional rail, so that it will fit panel arrays with the depth of up to 6m.
The wheels applied to the far and near ends of the panel array keep the guide rail (and the main unit) firmly, so that the system will move around freely even on a panel array with a steep angle up to 40 degree.
The soft nylon brushes of SOLRIDER® rotate at a speed of 20 rotations per sec., and SOLRIDER® moves around the panel surface up to 5Km per hour and cleans the panel surface.
Water-washing, brushing and wiping of a 1MW PV solar farm took as much as 8 days by manual labor, by a 2-man team. SOLRIDER® does the job by the same 2-man team, in just one day.
When cleaning a 1M PV solar farm manually, more than 25K Liter of water is used typically. However, SOLRIDER® works much faster and uses water effectively that it uses only less than 3K Liter of water for the same job.
The manual labor tends to leave some un-cleaned spots or un-wiping of dirty water that there is a possibility of some yield loss. SOLRIDER® is an untiring robot and it does its job precisely that such yield losses are minimized. SOLRIDER® also gets rid of the risk of working in a high place.