Israeli start-up Ecoppia was selected to Red Herring’s Top 100 Europe List and PV Magazines “50 Array-Changing Technologies.” The company is about to bring its robot solar panel cleaning solution to the promising Indian market. An interview with Anat Cohen Segev.
Everybody loves a robot. But what the cleantech industry loves even more is a truly unique, effecient technology. “Our solution is the only operational completely dry solar cleaning solution on the market, using absolutely no water,” explains Anat Cohen Segev, Ecoppia’s Director of Marketing.
Ecoppia’s E4 product is a water-free robot which uses a powerful, soft microfiber cleaning system with controlled airflow – removing 99% of dust daily and keeping solar panels at optimal production rates. The company is getting a boost from some very prestigious publicaitons. Red Herring, which selects start-ups they predict will “grow at an explosive rate” chose Ecoppia for its Top 100 Europe List. Alex Vieux, publisher and CEO of Red Herring, said “Each year, the competition gets tougher but we believe Ecoppia demonstrates the vision, drive and innovation that define a Red Herring Top 100.”
Another recent recognition came from the solar industry publication PV Magazine, which ranked Ecoppia 15th in their list of “50 Array-Changing Technologies.”
The hype seems to be well-founded on both a unqiue technology and solid market need. “Dry, dusty desert climates – like those found in the Middle East, India and other places in the world – are prime candidates for solar fields because of the abundance of sunlight. However they also bring with them challenges,” explains Anat Cohen Segev. “Constant soiling and dust storms, which are prevelant in these areas, can dirty the solar panels and lower effectivity dramatically. Moreover, these areas are low in water supply, which solar panel cleaning solutions need to work.”
And this is where Ecoppia comes in. completely water-free and energy independent – the robots clean solar panels to bring them to optimal functioning. There is no need for pipe systems to transport water, and no hidden costs. The system is operable by a remote management tool. “We are connected to, for example, The Weather Channel, so we know when a sand or dust storm is on the way. The system can neutralize the effects of the storm within only a couple of hours, returning the panels to optimal output,” explains Cohen Segev. “This has a significant effect on the yield and overall plants’ ROI”.
Ecoppia’s system is already cleaning 5 million panels every month in installations in the Middle East, and the company forecasts it will reach 10 million panels a month by Q2 2016. Their main focus is on the Indian market. “There is strong interest in India for our solution, especially in regions like Gujarat and Rajasthan, which have little rainfall and frequent sand storms,” explains Cohen Segev. “We are in advanced discussions with the major solar developers in India, and will have a first deployment by the end of this year.” The company is planning to open an office and manufacturing facility in India as well.
Oded Distel, head of Israel NewTech, is pleased to see Ecoppia’s progress in India: “There was a perception, somewhat justified, that it takes a very long time to sell technology into India. However things are changing, with the new government in India and the strong and growing business ties between Israel and India. Ecoppia is moving there very quickly and we look forward to seeing them succeed.”
Check out this clip on Ecoppia’s solution: