March 28, 2013, 3:49 PM — Installing solar panels on your roof can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, and they can save you money in the long run. Of course, they can also build up dirt and dust, which can negatively impact their efficiency and power-generating capabilities. What's a homeowner to do? Let a robot do the dirty work, of course.
Japanese-based robotics company Miraikikai Inc., in collaboration with Kagawa University, have developed a prototype robot that's designed to autonomously clean solar panels, without so much as a bucket of water from you.
The 11-kilogram (24.3-pound) H-shaped robot will automatically run along your panels as soon as you hit the start button. Using a rotating brush, it can then remove all the dust and grime that has accumulated on your solar panels. Once it completes its job, the robot simply switches itself off.
The robot will happily clean your panels for two hours straight until the battery wears down. The prototype will evolve into a fully-fledged machine sometime in 2014, and it will be predominantly marketed toward residents of the Middle East and North Africa, where solar panel adoption rates are relatively high.
Now that a robot has solar panel washing covered, you've now got some time to get on with another chore, like vacuuming or loading the washing machine. Or you could just recline in the sun and watch this robot at work.