The solar market has been dependent on traditional cleaning systems for de­cades. Recently, however, there has been a noticeable shift from traditional to semi-automatic and automatic cleaning. Historically, traditional methods have been used since the beginning of solar power development in the country. Semi-au­tomatic cleaning appeared around 2010. For the purposes of this article, “se­mi-automatic” may be defined as a combination of automatic rotary brush syste­ms on the modules or between rows, and manual cleaning; while automatic systems require minimal manpower. The article is based on InSolare’s experience in the solar industry since 2009. InSolare is a technology leader (>250 MW completed and >300 MW in the pipeline) and has a team of over 200 employees who are led by a PhD holder with around 50 patents. The key methods for cleaning solar plants can be divided into three types.

Traditional wet cleaning: Here, a water pipe network is constructed across the solar plant, with nozzles built at predefined intervals/locations for the cleaning te­am to plug in the hose pipes as re­qu­ired. A brush/­mop­/cloth may be used by the cleaning team after spraying water on modules. This facilitates the most effecti­ve cleaning, but is slow, expensive and us­es a lot of water, which may not be av­ai­­lable at remote sites. Water spray syste­ms, using nozzles, sprinklers or other me­a­ns, have attracted attention. However, the­se are deployed mainly in areas where access is a challenge, such as commercial/industrial superstructures, car parks or residential areas.