Before Aerial Power, manual or robotic cleaning were few of the cleaning options. Some of these are even only semi automatized mechanical solutions. As maintenance represents a significant proportion of a power plant’s running costs, anything that reduces this cost could be a game changer in power plant economics.

Cleaning costs represent more than half of plant operational costs in some deserts of the world, such as in Rajasthan, India. The cost of cleaning panels with Aerial Power is set to become a fraction of that with competing technologies. The drone uses artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques tailored to navigate autonomously along solar panels that have accumulated dust, providing the end user with a reliable solution.

Manual cleaning without a drone
The manual cleaning of solar panels in the Middle East (photo: Aerial Power)

Aerial Power is patent GRANTED technology

A global patent portfolio on this technology has been built and positions Aerial Power uniquely as the pioneer of this new commercial application of UAV’s. Patents on using the airflow of a drone to clean a surface are not only pending in multiple jurisdictions, but have also been already granted in countries from the United States to Australia.

The cleaning method used on solar panels in arid areas has unique advantages over alternative methods of cleaning and maintenance.

Testing field of the cleaning drone 'SolarBrush'
Testing field in Chile (photo: Aerial Power)
Quality advantage

Aerial Power dusts the panels off using the airflow of a drone. Ideally, frequently. The built up of encrusted surfaces is prevented or reduced. This contrasts with the mechanized, competing options that run the risk of damaging surfaces by having to apply 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.

Cost advantage

Drones can clean a whole solar farm from a dedicated base, without the need to manually redeploy cleaning devices between panel rows. And by eliminating the need to move labor or cleaning robots between rows, Aerial Power significantly saves cost.

Environmental advantage

Competing solutions often require the costly transport of water to remote locations as well as its purification. However, Aerial Power drones cleans panel surfaces while they remain dry, which means that the cost of water isn’t a limiting factor, and it can prevent the build up of encrusted surfaces by being used more frequently.