... Outlook for the solar panel cleaning market: Water vs. dry, manual vs. autonomous | Solar Builder
 

Outlook for the solar panel cleaning market: Water vs. dry, manual vs. autonomous

The introduction of advanced technologies and rising demand for renewable energy sources for power generation could drive innovation in the solar panel cleaning market, according to a report from Global Market Insights. Improvements in existing water-based cleaning operations that allow cost-effective cleansing as well as increasing focus on professional maintenance services is expected to drive industry expansion.

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Driven by growing demand, companies operating in the solar panel cleaning industry are introducing advanced solutions. For example, in 2019, manufacturer of photovoltaic, water-free solar panel cleaning solutions, Ecoppia announced its selection by Fortum to deploy its field-proven platform throughout various projects in India, with the objective of achieving sustainable operation of the solar business. With such developments, Global Market Insights, Inc., reports that the solar panel cleaning market may grow over USD 1 billion by 2026.

The wet segment of the solar panel cleaning market is estimated to grow substantially on account of its high efficiency toward cleaning panel surfaces and wide applicability and feasibility across high soiling conditions. In addition, accessibility of organic chemicals as a substitute for water-based cleaning techniques will complement the product adoption. Moreover, low unit cost, high reliability and easy accessibility are some major features which will stimulate the product demand.

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Stringent government policies toward protection of declining water bodies along with prevention of significant drop in underground water level will enhance the dry solar panel cleaning industry. In addition, growing customer inclination toward ecofriendly cleaning methods coupled with adoption of advanced technologies to effectively remove the accumulated particles without affecting the modules will positively propel the industry landscape.

Growing dependency over automated technologies including machine learning and artificial intelligence in line with rising unmanned operations demand owing to fewer human errors will fuel the autonomous solar panel cleaning market outlook. Furthermore, extensive applicability across large scale solar power generation facilities along with high performance and reliability under extreme temperatures will stimulate technological adoption. In addition, rising demand for quick and effective panel cleaning methods in line with adoption of robots across large industrial panel sites will augment the industry scenario.

Ongoing research and development investments toward product upgradation and integration of cloud-based platform facilitates will fuel the adoption of autonomous cleaning services. For instance, Ecoppia unveiled E4 robotic water-free cleaning solutions in 2019 for single-axis trackers to optimize the solar panel performance in utility-scale installations while reducing operational cost and eliminating water waste & manual labor. Furthermore, less financial requirement and ease of operation are some vital functions that will spur the service adoption.

Ability to limit high soiling rates, faster cleaning services and low maintenance cost will boost the semi-automated segment of the market. Integration of cloud computing & artificial intelligence to enhance operation across harsh weather conditions will further complement the product deployment. In addition, flexible cleaning requirements, upfront cost sensitivity and high compatible tracker system are the prominent parameters which will stimulate the product demand.

Manual solar panel cleaning market will witness a sturdy growth on account of providing highly precise & effective cleaning, in comparison to its available alternatives. Growing inclination toward smart infrastructure in line with increasing solar deployment across commercial & residential establishments will further complement the industry growth. Moreover, shifting focus toward effective cleaning method to curb the threat of panel breakage or fault arising due to improper operations will retain their market share.

The electrostatic solar panel cleaning segment is projected to grow, owing to its ability to improve power output through the usage of high voltage, natural wing, and frequent operation before dust gets deposited. (We’ve written about this concept previously).  There is wide application of electrostatic cleaning technology throughout mega solar power plants that are constructed in desert regions at low latitudes due to limited or no water usage and reduction of adhesion force. Features of the electrostatic technology include higher durability, longer life cycle, low energy consumption, and utilization of a small and potentially cost-effective source of voltage.

The residential solar panel cleaning market was valued over USD 48 million in 2019, and is likely to grow over 8% in the upcoming years. The service could be rapidly adopted on account of feed-in tariff, incentives for grid-tied solar installations, reforms consisting of subsidies, and an increasing focus on optimized power output. Standards throughout several regions to integrate energy-efficient infrastructures and the authorization of building codes is anticipated to propel service demand.
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