According to reports, India has witnessed an exponential growth in interest and awareness in the solar energy space, and this has led to growth in the number of solar plant installations and a decrease in the cost of solar power.
With the aim of using AI and cloud computing into solar energy platforms, Noida-based Skilancer Solar manufactures centrally controlled, self-powered, robotic arms for automatic cleaning of solar modules. In this week’s feature, Analytics India Magazine caught up with the founders of Skilancer Solar to gain more insights into the clean-tech platform. Founded in 2018 by Manish Das and Neeraj Kumar, Skilancer Solar is a clean-tech startup that manufactures robots to clean solar panels.
A lot of industries in India utilise traditional/manual methods of cleaning which are less optimal, use water inefficiently, require manpower and the cleaning frequency is also less, this often results in decreased power output by the solar plants. So Das and Kumar decided to bring about a change in the solar industry by developing AI robots that can clean solar panels that are safe, reliable, energy-independent operation, autonomous, among others.
Skilancer Solar manufactures centrally controlled, self-powered, robotic arms for automatic cleaning of solar modules. With India’s rising water scarcity issue and challenges with manual/traditional methods of cleaning and cleaning frequency, Skilancer’s cleaning system aims to offer a better solution for solar plants and industries using solar panels.
According to Das, Skilancer Solar’s innovative waterless automatic solar module cleaning system is cost-effective, safe and cloud-based. The digital interface has the following features:
- Each robot can be controlled remotely through a PC or mobile interface.
- Warnings are directly communicated to the user by each robot.
- Each robot gives their running time, water saved, man-hours saved, etc. which is then summed up and displayed.
While there are many robots available in the market, the makers of Skilancer Solar robot believe that their product is quite different from others in the market. According to Kumar, Skilancer Solar’s robot is retrofittable, which means there is no need to add extra railing or support structure like in case of other robots. The robot is fully programmable and automatic, so no dependency on manpower. The Sensor packed robot provides many unique features like theft prevention, self troubleshoot, Malfunction alert, weather condition alerts and monitoring etc.
Use Of AI And ML At Skilancer
At Skilancer, the company uses AI and analytics in every robot that is developed in-house. According to Das, Artificial Intelligence is fueling the next generation of robots and analytics platforms that will provide more accurate and automated solar panel cleaning robots which will always keep the efficiency of the panels up to the mark.
The Skilancer analytics platform collects information from its robots using the Internet of Things. It uses MQQT protocol and Rest API to transmit data to the central server. Das added, “Our users can see the performance of the robots using our platform along with the savings that it has helped them achieve till date.”
At present, the company is working towards integrating a weather monitoring and weather forecasting system inside the robot which will be fed into the robot so that if there is a prediction of high wind speed, the robot will not operate, thus preventing any collateral damages.
Core Tech Stack
At the backend MySQL and PL/SQL form the core of the analytics platform, i.e. handling the data. Apart from that, the analytics platform is connected to the Robots it has designed via MQQT protocols and Rest API for communication.
Currently, the company considers Ecoppia, Solbright and Boson Robotics potential competitors. When asked about their plan over the next five years, Kumar replied that the company has already established its presence in Doha and is looking forward to expanding the operations to the Middle East, while also focusing on diversifying their product portfolio.