The key to successfully emerging from the current energy crisis is to rapidly scale the transition to solar, wind, and hydro—while ensuring our current renewable energy farms are operating at peak performance. Poorly maintained solar panels can lose up to 30% of their sun-generated energy. In order to keep renewable energy farms running 100% operationally—and at peak power generating performance—regular maintenance, cleaning, and repairs are required. There are many current trends we want to highlight that are reducing carbon footprint and conserving water in the critical and renewable energy sector—all improving sustainability.
Dust-Repellent Solar Panels Could Save Billions of Gallons of Water
Many of the world’s largest solar installations are in deserts or other dry climates, and dust is public enemy #1. Dust accumulation can reduce panels’ efficiency by 30 percent within one month (depending on the geography and weather). Cleaning the world’s solar panels consumes some 10 billion gallons of water per year. MIT researchers found that electrostatic repulsion can raise dust particles off the surface of solar panels, and running a charged bar across them sweeps the dust off the panels. In the meantime, it’s critical that solar panels are cleaned regularly to provide peak renewable energy performance to the power grid.
Combination Drone-Robot Delivers Waterless Panel Cleaning
In other panel cleaning news, Belgian clean-tech company ART Robotics introduced HELIOS, an autonomous solar panel cleaning service composed of robotic panel cleaners—placed on panels by drones. “The cleaning robot uses a traction system that allows the robot to move on inclined surfaces and even cross over to adjacent panels. A brush and vacuum combination ensures a high-quality cleaning of the panel surface,” ART Robotics said.
Wind Turbine Maintenance Market to Grow 9 Percent CAGR Through 2031
According to market research firm Transparency Reports, the global wind turbine operations and maintenance market grew to $15 billion in 2020 and will grow at a CAGR of 9 percent through 2031. The same firm indicates that brake, inverter, tower, gearbox, generator, and rotor blades are the components that require regular inspection and servicing to function correctly. Maintenance costs are estimated to be $42,000–$48,000 per year.
Given the current energy crisis, the planned installation of new wind, solar, and battery storage capacity for 2022 and 2023 dwarfs that of previous years—setting a much faster pace towards renewable energy independence.
Record-Breaking Offshore Wind Lease Sale
On Friday (February 25, 2022), the federal government leased half a million acres of the Atlantic Ocean for offshore wind development in the largest-ever and most expensive leases in history. The feds sold the leases via a three-day auction, with 14 companies competing for the rights to develop wind farms on six areas of the New York Bight, a shallow stretch of sea that runs between Long Island and New Jersey. The total price tag was $4.37 billion, with subsidiaries of National Grid, Shell, Total, EDF Renewables, and Invenergy among the lessees.
With a record number of renewable energy projects planned for 2022 and 2023, the future of green energy looks bright. As referenced, regular maintenance of solar panels and wind farms is just as important as the installation itself. Maintaining and repairing these large facilities will keep their energy production optimal and will require less pull from legacy fossil-fuel-powered facilities. For more information, please contact our facilities management services team.