Efficient and Eco-Friendly: Aerial Drones Enable Water-less Cleaning in the Energy & Utilities

Manual or robotic cleaning is often invasive to the sensitive surfaces of solar panels. Some of these approaches are only semi-automated mechanical solutions. As maintenance represents a significant proportion of a power plant’s operational costs, any reduction in these costs could be a game changer for power plant economics. This is where our innovative drone cleaning technology comes in:

Demonstrating the Impact on Solar Panel Efficiency

Aerial Power cleans solar panels using the airflow of a drone, ideally on a frequent basis. This process prevents the build-up of encrusted surfaces. In contrast, mechanized alternatives can potentially damage surfaces by applying forces from wheels and suction cups.

Similarly, manual cleaning is prone to human error, leading to damage through carelessness, fatigue, or using water at the wrong temperature – which can cause micro-cracks in the panel surface.

Manual Cleaning of Solar Panels
Manual Cleaning of Solar Panels in the Middle East

The cleaning method used on solar panels in arid areas offers unique advantages over alternative methods of cleaning and maintenance by utilizing the airflow produced naturally during drone operation.

Unparalleled Advantages: Drone Airflow Cleaning

Drones can clean an entire solar farm from a dedicated base, without the need to manually redeploy cleaning devices between panel rows. By eliminating the need to move labor or cleaning robots between rows, Aerial Power significantly reduces costs.

Efficiency and versatility

  • Reduced manual labor and costs
  • Ability to clean various surface sizes
  • No hardware customization needed

Environment and sustainability

  • Reduced water usage
  • Lower carbon emissions
  • Minimal ecosystem disruption

Increased safety and reduced risk

  • Minimized worker accidents
  • Fewer moving parts in machinery
  • Easily transported and operated

Accessibility and coverage

  • Reaches difficult-to-access areas
  • Capable of cleaning large areas
  • No crop-trampling in agriculture

Technology and adaptability

  • Non-tactile, preserves warranty
  • Sensors ensure precise cleaning
  • Continuous software updates

Preservation of materials

  • No micro-cracks or vibrations on glass
  • No abrasion of anti-reflective coating
  • No mount bending or ground sinking
Sand and Dust Storm approaching solar power plant
Sand and Dust Storm Approaching a Solar Power Plant

A global patent portfolio on this technology has been established, positioning Aerial Power uniquely as the pioneer of this new commercial application of UAVs. Competing solutions often require the costly transport of water to remote locations, as well as its purification. However, Aerial Power drones clean panel surfaces while they remain dry, meaning that the cost of water isn’t a limiting factor. The drones can prevent the build-up of encrusted surfaces by being used more frequently.