Drone's-eye view of how solar farms clean all those panels

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Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/25/drones-eye-view-of-how-solar.html

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#2

That is a pretty cool and specialized tool.

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#3

Yet another reason why fossil fuel corporations promise jobs that are somehow always in the future, but generating energy via renewables actually delivers them.

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#4

Those are some dusty cells; the problem of sunlight and deserts going together, I guess. The before and after shots are pretty impressive; better than a quick run around with a feather duster.

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#5

Sweet solar panel roomba. You would think that they would run it at night. I want to be a modern John Henry and challenge that robot to a solar panel cleaning duel.

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#6

The tool should capture the water coming off of the bottom of the panels, or the panels should have eavestroughs, so that the water can be re-used. Depending on the cleaning intervals, the plant growth caused by the errant water could cause additional problems.

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#7

Specialized? Very soon, solar will be everywhere.

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#8

Yeah, just what I was thinking. It seems rather wasteful, if nothing else. Ground cover could potentially cut down on dust, but I imagine the labor expended dealing with tall plants negates any potential benefit.

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#9

Very cool indeed, and not a million miles away from the Crossfire I used to clean and oil the bowling lanes at work every morning.

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#10

Just talked with someone who works with a company that uses drones to identify low performing modules in large solar farms. Their equipment uses heat signatures, as I understand it, to pinpoint a panel or section of a panel which is not up to spec.

This is not his company, I think, but it will give you an idea of what is happening:

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#11

But think how much exercise you’re missing out on!

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#12

Nice! Next time try not to use soap because it creates a shine that reflects sunlight instead of absorbing it. Panels should be cleaned every 6 months, at least, for maximum efficiency. Job well done! Solarpaneldoctors.com

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#13

Cleaning solar panels makes little difference on power output tests on Harbor Freight 15 W and Grape 100 W panels reveal. Wind turbine and gridscale solar PNM July 27, 2016 spreadsheet r scam/fraud DATA? https://www.pnm.com/2017-irp-meetings PNM concludes both require “fossil fueled” load following backup. https://www.pnm.com/energy-sources

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#14

That’s what I call clean power!

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#15

I find it kind of odd that a cleaning solution wasn’t already designed into the initial engineering. I mean if the panels all align in a straight row like in the video, why not something that travels down the panels, sweeps and washes, while collecting and filtering the cleaning solution?

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#16

Growing a groundcover would use too much water. And the dust comes from miles away

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#17

Well, the water that’s ending up on the ground is allowing some groundcover to grow. But yeah, it’s not impacting dust from distant sources (nor probably doing much for dust right there, either), and creates problems with plants that need to be cut down, so that water is a total waste.

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closed #18

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