SunPower acquires panel-cleaning technology company Greenbotics

Californian solar company SunPower has announced the acquisition of Greenbotics, Inc., a local company that has developed a robotic solar panel cleaning technology for large-scale, ground mounted solar power plants.

Greenbotics’ technology and service expertise will be used initially for the SunPower Oasis Power Plant product in a move that greatly enhances SunPower’s energy services and product portfolio.

Over the past two years, Greenbotics‘ innovative CleanFleet robots – a service that helps optimize the performance of solar plants through a cost-effective and water-efficient cleaning process – have been employed throughout the southern and western U.S., achieving impressive results and forging a solid reputation for the company.

The robots require just half a cup of water to clean a single solar panel, reducing water usage by an average of 90% when compared to traditional cleaning methods.

Each robot can be configured to clean a variety of solar panels – including fixed-tilt arrays and single-axis trackers – and the technology employs a greener cleaning alternative to pressure washers and sprayer trucks. In the hot and dusty desert conditions of southwest U.S., Greenbotics offers an optimal solution for keeping solar panels operating at maximum efficiency.

The robots generally undertake the cleaning process at night in order to avoid disruption to the panels‘ efficiency, which is at its optimum during daylight hours.

"SunPower’s acquisition of Greenbotics and its CleanFleet robots will allow us to further maximize the proven system performance of our high efficiency, most reliable solar panels, which is critical to a project’s economics and levelized cost of electricity," said SunPower CEO and president, Tom Werner. "Customers in markets such as the western U.S., the Middle East and Chile will especially benefit, as dust and debris is a challenge, and water is in shorter supply."

In particularly hot, dry and dusty conditions, effective cleaning of solar panels can often add 15% to a PV plant’s annual energy production.

"We are very pleased to add the valuable services offered by Greenbotics to our energy services offering," concluded Werner.