NZ’s first solar panel cleaning robot takes to the skies

Eco Shine Solar has deployed New Zealand’s first solar panel cleaning robot, promising increased safety, system efficiency and energy savings

The robot, designed and manufactured in Luxembourg, is the first of its kind to be imported into New Zealand by Eco Shine Solar founders and brothers Edwin, Sam, and Ben O’Dea. 

Traditionally, solar panel cleaning uses water-fed poles and manual brushing.

Ben O’Dea says the adoption of the solar panel cleaning robot is a leap forward in maintaining renewable energy systems, offering a safer, more efficient and automated cleaning solution. 

The innovation comes at a crucial time as the solar industry in New Zealand experiences rapid growth, yet faces challenges with underperformance due to inadequate maintenance.

Eco Shine Solar cleaned 1000-plus heavily soiled solar panels on a rooftop installation over two days in February in Whangārei, Northland.

The system was installed in 2016 and had never been professionally cleaned, O’Dea says.

“The panels were in bad shape with heavy soiling from dirt, dust and lichen,” he says. “Lichen is particularly tough to remove from solar panels as it requires manual methods to remove safely and effectively.

“Despite this, the robot performed extremely well resulting in a 35 percent increase in system efficiency. This will result in thousands of dollars in energy savings each year, underscoring the importance of proper maintenance to maximise energy production and extend the lifespan of solar investments.”

As of the end of January 2024, the Electricity Authority recorded 56,752 solar systems were installed across New Zealand, accounting for 2.7 percent of homes. The average residential system size was 6.1kW and 30.1kW for commercial businesses.

As a general rule, Eco Shine Solar recommends cleaning residential solar panels at least once a year in New Zealand to ensure optimal performance. 

“Proper cleaning of solar panels is crucial, as incorrect methods can void warranties and diminish the system’s effectiveness,” O’Dea says. 

“Eco Shine Solar’s use of the solar panel cleaning robot ensures that panels are maintained to the highest standard, safeguarding against potential damage and warranty issues.”

Photo by Eco Shine Solar.

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at

Sign up to INCLEAN’s newsletter.

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required