Mechanical engineer Ridha Azaiz, whose company Aerial Power is currently testing the aircraft in Chile, created the SOLARBRUSH cleaning brooms to increase the power of panels by up to 35%, according to an article from Fast Company. Aerial Power is now combining Azaiz's technology with UAVs.
As opposed to a robot or other device that puts weight on the panels during cleaning, the brush attached to the UAV is the only part that touches and, therefore, causes less damage and allows for more frequent cleaning, the report says. Because the system does not need water to do the job, it also saves time, resources and human effort, especially in locations where water is scarce or desalination is pricey.
Fast Company says Aerial Power anticipates bringing the product to the market within the next year – ideally for cleaning large and ground-mounted arrays so that the operator can fly the device in a larger airspace and avoid any potential barriers (e.g., buildings next to rooftop arrays).
Read the full report here.
A YouTube video presentation on the SOLARBRUSH technology can be found here.