Solar panel robot doesn’t need water to clean

Sandstorms are an issue for solar power in Saudi Arabia, but robots can help.

(Credit: Tohru Miyake/Miraikikai)

Saudi Arabia wants to spend over $100 billion to build vast solar arrays and reduce its dependency on oil to generate electricity. But desert sandstorms pose a major challenge to keeping solar panels clean and efficient.

Japanese startup Miraikikai is developing a solution to getting rid of this pesky dust and grit: a cleaning robot that doesn’t need water.

The firm has produced the Wall Walker wall and ceiling robot, and recently unveiled a prototype solar panel cleaner built with researchers at Kagawa University.

It weighs about 24 pounds — light enough to be carried by one person — and measures about 22 inches across.


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