Every night, nearly a hundred robots come to life in the arid desert of southern Israel and get busy cleaning rows and rows of solar panels.
The robots are designed by startup Ecoppia as an alternative to the conventional, but also labor-intensive, method of sending human workers to hose and wipe down panels manually or use a truck-mounted sprayer to do so.
Dirty panels produce less electricity, but the need to use water for cleaning those panels, especially in dry regions, makes even a clean power project less eco-friendly. And in certain remote corners, water extracted from the ground is too brackish for use without being treated, which adds to the production cost of a solar power plant.
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