Israeli startup Ecoppia develops specialized robots that autonomously clean industrial-sized solar panel fields, without the use of water. The company announced a strategic $40 million investment coming from CIM Group, and American real estate, infrastructure, and energy management company. This adds on to the startup’s $13 million in fundraising up-to-date.

The robots don’t just clean panels

The robots focus on preventing dust and soiling accumulation on the solar panels, without the need for water or human intervention. This allows massive solar-energy fields from around the world to continuously produce electricity all year long. Furthermore, the company processes collected data from the robots as a cost-effective solution to reduce maintenance and operating expenses, while maximizing profits.

Eccopia’s cloud-based autonomous robots utilize dry-cleaning technology that removes 99% of dust daily. In parallel, data mining occurs in order to optimize operations and predict maintenance demands. The robots tool kit includes a brush made of microfibers that push soil and dust down the panel. Once the labor is done, the robot grabs some R&R while docked at a charging station, which utilizes - you guessed it - solar power to recharge the robot’s batteries.

Eccopia CEO Jean Scemama referred to the strategic investment when saying “Choosing Eccopia was a glaring show of confidence in a shared vision, made by one of the biggest investment groups in the U.S. All around the world, we see more and more markets jumping on the autonomous robot solution train, with regards to solar panel sites.”

The startup was founded in 2013 by former CEO and current Chairman Eran Meller and CTO Moshe Meller. The company notes that the latest investment will enable expansion into previously uncharted markets, which recognize the advantage of transitioning to an autonomous robot cleaning solution, as well as allow the company to continue developing data-processing and automation features.