Let the solar games begin — more innovation on the Intersolar show floor


Sunbrush recently launched its mobile solar module cleaning hardware in the United States. The hydraulically powered unit is mountable via a standardized connection on regularly used machinery – tractors, excavators, etc. The system’s optional thermal cameras and work tracking tools feed data – hot spots, defective cell connections, sub-string failure localization – back to asset owner databases. The system can clean 4.3 miles of modules per hour.

In the booth demo, with the lightest touch, we were able to move a seemingly heavy metal arm and the brush it held. This system – called Washtronic – also aims to keep the brush consistently in contact with the modules even as the ground underneath the modules, or the modules themselves, vary in height.

Sola-Tec Series

At the booth of distributor Premier Water Cleaning Systems, was Sola-Tec’s “water powered” series. Setting the unit up, is a two person job – as seen in the first thirty seconds of this video, after which a person or a vehicle guides the hardware across the modules.

The unit’s width can be adjusted by hand onsite, and has no electrical parts. The company notes that in-the-field repairs can be done quickly with the all-mechanical component construction. The assembly guide suggests that the system has 28 unique part numbers.

Security PSI offers remote human surveillance services for solar power plants.

In one example, the company noted that once Security PSI saw the alleged thieves in action, they called the local police. The locals said it’d be two hours before resources could be deployed, as the solar power facility was fairly remote. At that point, the individual monitoring the facility made use of the microphone, alerting the onsite individuals to Security PSI’s remote presence and that recording was ongoing. At that point, as seen in the above video, the incident quickly ended.

Not just hardware was displayed at the show.

There were a few engineering services groups on the floor at Intersolar (168 companies in total were listed as 2020 Exhibitors).

Software solution providers like Energy Toolbase and Helioscope had a booth, while online solar project marketplace Open Energy threw a party. Blymyer Energy’s swag was a packet of Sunflower seeds.

Leaf Suit is launching a new product to cool workers that uses the same technique as sweating – evaporation. “The airflow module inducts air through the devices which passes over the inner composite bi-layer, evaporating water from the surface. This cooling action pulls heat from the body and allows the user to maintain a cool, comfortable body temperature.”

Research the company references suggests $12,000/year in lost productivity due to heat, and a seven times increase in accidents due to heat. The company will be releasing an updated version of the product in the next couple of weeks.

Omniclip showed a simple clip that first connects to the solar module’s aluminum frame, and on the other side to chicken wire fencing to keep out critters.

Intersolar also had its own Solar Games, with teams going head-to-head to install ten solar modules. A 90-minute timer was run, and if the team finished before 75 minutes they received bonus points. Installation mistakes cost points.

In the first round, PV modules plus an SMA inverter coupled with Tesla energy storage was installed. Round two got the offgrid treatment with charge controllers from MidNite Solar and a Rolls Battery for energy storage. Sol-Up took home $5k for beating Sullivan Solar in the final round.

And lastly, ground screws from Ashman minimize the amount of ground upturned when installing — and that helps the environmental review process with the local authorities.

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