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Now They Sell, And Clean, Solar Panels: SunPower Buys Greenbotics

November 4, 2013

The term “full-service solar company” seems applicable as San Jose-based SunPower (SPWR :NASDAQ) announced today they have purchased Greenbotics, a manufacturer of robots that efficiently clean solar panels.

While terms of the deal were not disclosed, the all cash transaction becomes the seventh acquisition for SunPower.

The acquisition of the Davis, CA-based company makes a lot of sense for SunPower as the efficiency of solar panels lessens when they are dirty. Greenbotics’ robots use less than a half a cup of water to clean panels – making them more efficient than the traditional manned power washer method.

Cleaning solar panels via robots is not a unique business model as Richmond, CA-based Alion Energy while Menlo Park-based QBotix has developed robots to adjust the angle of solar panels to track the sun, ensuring the best angle for maximum efficiency.

SunPower believes that if its customers employ Greenbotics’ Clean Feet robots, they can improve the efficiency of their panels by up to 15 percent. For a 100 megawatt solar utility farm, that’s a lot of energy.

Shares of SunPower were up 11.11 percent in afternoon trading.

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