Portuguese start-up ChemiTek has raised €1.2 million in a funding round that saw the participation of Portugal-based investment firms Ganexa Capital, Statusmaneuver, and EDP Ventures, the venture capital arm of national utility EDP.
The company specializes in the production of a detergent product for cleaning and antistatic protection for photovoltaic modules, solar tiles and solar thermal panels. “Solar Wash Protect is applied by the installers of photovoltaic plants, by solar panel cleaning companies, and solar parks with their own maintenance teams,” a company spokesperson told pv magazine. “In the case of private individuals, the liquid is purchased by the PV system provider.”
According to the manufacturer, the detergent removes all kinds of organic dirt, such as bird droppings, sand, dust, pollen, and resin from the modules and, at the same time, thanks to its antistatic properties, it reduces the adhesion of dust to the glass, keeping panels cleaner between cleaning cycles. “It also reduces water consumption by about 50% and increases energy production by up to 5%,” the spokesperson went on to say. “The first reason that caught the attention of our researchers who created the product was that a dirty solar panel loses energy production capacity and that if you wash it with just water or with conventional products, the energy production is not as great as with our SWP.”
The product must be mixed with water and has to be applied to the modules using a brush or a mop to remove or loosen the dirt. Then the module must be rinsed with water to remove any dispersed dirt or excess of product left on the panels. The remaining water can be left to dry or be removed with a squeegee.
The detergent is available in two versions: the SWP50, with a mixing ratio of 1kg of concentrated product to 50 liters of water; and the SWP300, with a mixing ratio of 1kg of concentrated product to 300 liters of water.
The product was recently certified by the German laboratory TÜV Sud, according to the EN 61215 standard and is also claimed, by the company, to have letters of conformity from 12 of the world’s 15 largest panel manufacturers.
“ChemiTek allows not only to increase the output of solar panels, maximizing the generation of renewable energy, but also to reduce the need for cleaning and maintenance interventions in solar parks, which will be fundamental for us to accelerate the introduction of solar energy in our networks,” said Luís Manuel, executive director of EDP Ventures.