Skilancer Solar’s Robotic Cleaning Solutions - Increases Efficiency, Saves Water

Increasing water scarcity could pose a severe constraint to energy supplies and solar expansion in India. Another interesting fact is that in India, the monsoon season has become increasingly unpredictable due to climate change. This has increased stress on the power supply. In 2012, the world’s largest blackout in India that plunged nearly 670 million people into darkness was caused by farmers using excessive electricity to pump water to compensate for the poor monsoon season.

October 03, 2020. By News Bureau

Increasing water scarcity could pose a severe constraint to energy supplies and solar expansion in India. Another interesting fact is that in India, the monsoon season has become increasingly unpredictable due to climate change. This has increased stress on the power supply. In 2012, the world’s largest blackout in India that plunged nearly 670 million people into darkness was caused by farmers using excessive electricity to pump water to compensate for the poor monsoon season. This quite evidently shows the urgency of the matter.

Skilancer Solar manufactures centrally controlled, self-powered, robotic arms for automatic cleaning of solar modules. With India’s rising water scarcity issue and challenges with manual/traditional methods of cleaning and cleaning frequency, Skilancer’s cleaning system offers a better solution for solar plants and industries using solar panels. One robot can clean up to a 200 kW capacity plant or a kilometre in length. It pays back the plant in a matter of 24 months as there is no operational cost and no water use. Skilancer Solar’s innovative waterless automatic solar module cleaning system is cost-effective, safe and cloud-based. The digital interface allows for

  •  Each robot to be controlled remotely through a PC or mobile interface
  • Warnings are directly communicated to the user by each robot
  •  Each robot gives their running time, water saved, man-hours saved, etc. which is then summed up and displayed

Skilancer focuses on manufacturing products where its IP lies i.e Electronics control board and few other under patent components. Most of the major components are outsourced to different companies where heavy machinery is required or the manufacturing process is capital intensive. Assembly of different components into the final robot is carried out by the Skilancer Solar at Faridabad manufacturing unit.

“It is very satisfying to see a happy customer at the end of the day. Our customers have observed reduced operational expenses and on the other hand, increased generation of power which sums up as reduced ROI of the plants. One of our customers in Nagpur has observed 7% increased efficiency by using our robotic cleaning system to what it was earlier. Our customer in Jodhpur has observed 16% increased efficiency,” says Manish Das, Co-Founder, Director, Skilancer Solar.

Skilancer Solar claims that its technology allows solar plants to save 13,000 litres of water per megawatt per month. Product contributes to saving water in dry zones like Rajasthan by installing their cleaning robots there.

Salient features:

• Artificially intelligent

• Safe & reliable

• Internet connected

• Energy independent operation

• Water free

• Autonomous

• Daily cleaning of PV modules

Design

The design of the device was a rolling brush that traverses along with an array of solar panels. The device would attach to the array using rollers that grip the frame of the panels and use them as rails to roll along with the panel. The system cleans the panel using a spinning brush to clean any dust or debris. Ideally, the device would not use water and would not need to be connected to any source of water.

Functional Analysis

The company devised a system that moves along the length of an array of panels, cleaning the entire array. This design was selected primarily for its simplicity. Its component subsystems have been observed to function well in other applications. The device moves across a row of panels and cleans using a spinning array of brushes. The system will move using soft rubber wheels driven by an electric motor. The rotating brush system will be mounted on a rotating axle which is also spun by the main drive motor. Using a single motor is advantageous for both cost and simplicity. However, the drive motor will need to deliver high torque in order to function effectively. To reduce the stress on both the system and the panel surface, a series of lighter cleaning cycles will be used rather than a single more intense cleaning. This device will run across a row of panels and back to its original position. The device will be powered by an internal battery. At the end of each cleaning cycle, the system will return to a docking station at the end of the panel where it will recharge the battery.

The dock system will act as an extended platform next to the panels to allow the system to move off the panel surface, so it does not obstruct sunlight from any part of the panel. The system uses a motorized brush to clean the surface of the panel array. The system is moved along the panel by two sets of motorized wheels, with one set located at either end of the device. The entire system is driven by a compact high-torque DC motor. The entire system is controlled by an onboard microcontroller which is paired with a dedicated motor controller. This control system is able to fully automate the system’s cleaning process with the ability to schedule cleanings at any given time.

- Skilancer Solar 

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