Please describe your role at Ecoppia and expertise in the sector?
I currently serve as President – Asia, Middle East and Pacific at Ecoppia Scientific (TASE: ECPA), a world leader in robotic solar panel cleaning solution provider, responsible for P&L of the region – sales, operations & manufacturing. With 17 years of energy sector experience, I have worked across the complete value chain of renewables right from developers / IPPs to EPC to Module manufacturers and now in Maintenance & Automation. I enjoy working in dynamic environment, establishing nascent solutions, and building businesses from scratch.
How did your story in solar begin and in your opinion, how much has it changed since then, if at all?
I began my solar journey in 2011 as an early employee in SunEdison, where I was heading channel partnership for Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Post SunEdison, I joined Tata Power Solar, as Head Channel Strategy, and post Tata, I joined RattanIndia (NSE: RTNPOWER) as BU Head (VP, P&L) Solar. Over last 11 years, I have seen the sector changing on multiple dimension – from a playground of niche funds to battleground for deep pocket pension funds. From an industry which had to deal with skeptical bank lending with technology risk riders, the Solar industry has is now allowing retail investors to participate in renewable revolution owing to democratized and distributed financing, that is revolutionized by tokenization of renewable assets, infrastructure investment trusts (InVits) and Real estate investment trusts (REITs).
Can you tell us about your most advanced sector (solution/service) and what sets you apart from other competitors?
Ecoppia provides automated robotic cleaning for the utility-scale solar PV sector. With nearly a decade’s worth of experience in the Middle East, we deliver a fully autonomous cleaning solution, providing quality cleaning with proven unmatched availability rate and performance. By using a robust AI data hub, hosted on a cloud-based platform, our solutions allow continuous monitoring. Data collection, Ecoppia believes, not only gives managers added visibility, but with a well-designed dashboard replete with analytics, it becomes a meaningful way to engage with and understand onsite cleaning operations.
What’s a recent milestone Ecoppia has achieved that you would like to share with us?
We’re proud to have recently reached 3,700 MW of deployed projects, which span over 30 solar sites worldwide. With more than 15,000 MW of signed agreements and a versatile suite of cutting-edge robotic cleaning solutions, Ecoppia has for nearly a decade lead innovation in the market and will continue doing so. We have also recently launched our newest solution, the H4, which addresses scalability and remote management for large scale solar PV sites. To further bolster the solution’s smart, effective, and safe features, the H4 introduces helix technology into PV cleaning. This patented technology offers spiral cleaning, which prevents heavy dust accumulation by moving dust particles downwards, pushing them off the module surface, while also protecting the modules’ anti-reflective coating.
What are your expectations for the MENA region in terms of growth and new opportunities for Ecoppia?
With renewable targets for 2030 set as high as 50% in some MENA countries, solar energy production in the MENA region is only growing. The region has 34GW potential in projects, with its current installed capacity set to triple* in the next 8 years, of which almost half consist of ultra-large sites. With this growth, and as projects are built in remote areas, the challenge of how to keep modules free of dust and soiling is already at the forefront – manual labour is simply no longer a sustainable or feasible solution, and so autonomous cleaning is the natural solution for IPPs. Our experience reveals production increase of 3-6% on average in Middle East projects versus manual cleaning, and up to 32% increase post dust storms events, while the water saving is by itself a critical factor both on the economic side and the sustainability front.
Congratulations! Ecoppia’s H4 cleaning robot has recently won an award. Are robotic cleaning services a must-have aspect of solar projects at this time?
Yes, large-scale sites cannot operate efficiently without an automated and trusted cleaning system, and IPPs need to factor this into both CapEx and OpEx. As the margins for profitability continue to become slimmer, IPPs have begun to understand that choosing a trusted, reliable partner that consistently delivers, makes a big difference for O&M and LCOE; and automating their cleaning with robotics is a major component that can help them achieve this. The H4 was designed to address many of the local challenges we have seen in the Middle East – very long rows and complexity of structures. With an extended cleaning coverage per robot of over 2 km, superb maneuverability, and Ecoppia’s renown safety and reliability features, the H4 offers an appealing business case with the highest lifetime value.
For nearly a decade, and with over 16GW of agreements, Ecoppia is the pioneer and world leader in robotic cleaning solutions for PV. Offering a cloud-based platform and a suite of advanced, Ecoppia’s fully autonomous robots cost-effectively maximize the performance of utility-scale PV sites all over the world. Remotely managed and controlled, the Ecoppia platform allows solar sites to maintain peak performance with minimal costs and human intervention.
Ecoppia in Numbers:
+ 3,000MW deployed
+ 16,000MW signed agreements
+ 30 large scale projects
4 continents of operation
+ 6 billion panels cleaned
3 robotic platforms
Don’t miss MESIA’s upcoming webinar on “Automatic and Innovative Module Cleaning Solutions for Solar PV” where Nalin will be one of the panelist