STARTUP CHALLENGE: PHOTOVOLTAIC CLEANING

Seventy companies from 25 countries present proposals to improve the cleaning of solar panels

The second startup challenge by Iberdrola — through its Renewables subsidiary and its International Startup program - PERSEO —, Cleaning of photovoltaic panels, has received 74 proposals from 70 companies in 25 countries.

The company launched last August the Startup Challenge: Photovoltaic cleaning, an international call for companies from all around the world to present waterless, sustainable and low-cost solutions to improve solar panel cleaning processes in large-scale photovoltaic projects, such as the Núñez de Balboa (Spain) and Hermosillo (Mexico) plants. Registration ended on 18 October 2019 and the winner will be announced between January and February 2020.

WHAT SOLUTIONS WERE PRESENTED?

The initiative was looking for systems that could be applied in the following installations:

  • Plants with fixed tilt (three vertical panels per string, each two metres tall).
  • Plants with multi row single-axis tracker (one panel per string).
  • Plants with one row single-axis tracker (with two panels per string).
  • Generic solutions applicable to different kinds of plant configurations.

The most important factors taken into account in the proposed solutions are:

  • In addition to dry cleaning solutions, solutions with very low water consumption could be considered.
  • Be fixed or portable, so that they can be used in several nearby plants.
  • Configuration of the photovoltaic power station: plants with fixed panels or mounted on single axis trackers.
  • Be totally autonomous and/or remotely operated.
  • Remove stick stains on the panels and prevent them from becoming embedded in them.
  • Be energy-independent of the plant and not add weight to the panels or negatively affect their characteristics.

BENEFITS FOR PARTICIPANTS

 Pilot project
Iberdrola will bear the costs and give the winner of the challenge technical support to test their solution on installations pertaining to the Renewables subsidiary, providing access to high-tech equipment, teams, infrastructure and sites as well as coworking areas.

 New clients and investors
If the pilot project is successful, the company will incorporate the solution into its provider portfolio to improve the operability and maintenance of its photovoltaic plants. Plus, Perseo might consider investing in the project.

 Scalability of the business
The winning technology could be scaled up to group's entire photovoltaic project portfolio, which has a total installed capacity of 14,000 MW.
 

Timeline.
 

 Legal Rules [PDF]