The dustier and drier the air gets, the faster the solar panels will get dirty. As photovoltaic systems’ operator you should not rely on the natural cleaning power of rain. Rather, after dusty periods, it is time to wash the panels in order to maintain the yield capacity of the plant. A solution is to climb on the roof by yourself to clean them with a washing brush on a telescopic pole. But for security reasons mainly and time saving, you’d better not do that.
And here we are: SolarCleano cleaning robot is the solution to do it in a safe and efficient way. The synergy of theory and practical experiences of the manufacturer from Luxemburg, enables the SolarCleano to clean all types of installations until 25° slope. The cleaning robot was equipped with a total of four Dunkermotoren drives, consisting of the BG 65S with PLG 63 LL gears each and the travel drives additionally with E90R brakes, which ensure that both the robot moves, and the brushes rotate.
Dunkermotoren motors were selected for their robust design and compactness of the motor unit. These features, together with the BG 65S's integrated controller, enabled SolarCleano to develop a compact cleaning robot that is as economical as possible and requires only one operator. This was also possible thanks to the support of our long-standing distributor for the Benelux, the Dutch company ERIKS BV, who did the tuning, developed a very compact control box and optimized the cabling for robustness and modularity.
The SolarCleano washing robot can run at speeds of up to 40 m/ min. The maximum driving speed can be continuously preselected with a rotary potentiometer on the remote control. Thanks to the joystick it is possible to drive forwards and backwards and steer to the right and left, while the other hand is free to limit the maximum driving speed at the potentiometer, to switch the water supply on and off, to reverse the burrs or even to arrange the water hose.
The two brushes are 1.20 m wide in the standard version, and other lengths are available on request. They fit 1 m wide standard solar panels; the overlap beyond the module is intended to ensure that the bristles double-clean the lower edge of the panel in just one passage. In total, experience shows the robot cleans around 1000 m²/h.
Each robot is equipped with two brushes, which are made of two types of bristles. The soft bristles wipe away pollen, sand and pollution, the harder ones are made to clean persisting dirt. SolarCleano offers four different types of bristle mixes based on dirt intensity. Also, the brush height is manually adjustable.
The robot cleans on standard water tap pressured water (2 bars). There are of course options to raise that pressure using an additional pump, especially if the roof is located high above the water source.
Two Dunkermotoren BG 65S with integrated speed controller rotate the front and rear brushes. The rotation direction of the brushes can be changed independently from the remote control. In order to achieve a good cleaning result, it should always rotate in the opposite direction to the driving direction. So, it throws the dirt dissolved with water and brush power forward, until it finally flows off with the water over the edge of the module.
The two others BG 65S drive the crawler tracks. These can also run forwards and backwards separately, so that the cleaning robot can turn on the spot. However, thanks to a “reverse” button on the remote control and brushes at both ends of the robot, a U-turn is never necessary.
A lithium ion battery supplies the motors with power. Two batteries are included in the supply, and they should be enough for an eight-hour working day.
SolarCleano is large, since it includes 1.2 m wide brushes and battery. Manual transport by one person is therefore not possible. For this reason, the manufacturers have devised a quick-release coupling system for attaching and removing the brushes and the battery, as well as for separating the power cable and water connection, in order to dismantle the cleaning robot into four parts. Once this is done, each part can be transported by only one person. The assembly and disassembly of the robot takes about five minutes and is tool-free.
With the SolarCleano, Dunkermotoren is now represented in another robot application and shows that brushless motors with integrated electronics are very well suited for these applications. Further applications for BG motors are particularly evident in the field of industrial automation for AGVs and shuttles.