Portuguese startup Solarud has developed a way to eliminate soiling around the frames of PV panels with low inclination slopes. The device drains water that would otherwise stay stagnant on the surface of modules.

Portuguese startup Solarud has unveiled a water-draining device that can be clipped to solar modules, in order to resolve dust and soiling issues.

“The piece is usable on panels that have frame heights of 40 mm, 35 mm or 30 mm, and thickness between 8 mm and 11 mm. It is suited for modules with slopes between 3 degrees and 20 degrees,” the company’s co-founder, António Peres, told pv magazine.

The device was designed with rooftop installations in mind, where difficult accessibility and height-related risks make soiling an even greater concern for operations and maintenance contractors. While the device cannot replace cleaning, which remains essential, “the goal is to improve the energy production between cleaning cycles by preventing the soiling impact,” Peres said.

The company claims energy gains of 3.5% on average, with better performance being achieved with solar panels in portrait position, when soiling at the bottom of the module affects all its three substrings.

In a case study, the company showed the gains between two equal strings in the same installation – one installed with Solarud and one without.

“The modules were all cleaned on week zero and we then compared the performance of the strings on week 13,” Peres said.

The company developed and produces the device in Portugal. It is available for bulk purchases, starting at 50 units for €100 ($106), or €2 per unit. Each piece weighs 630 grams and is made of UV-resistant recyclable plastic for longer durability.

The company is focused on the European market but distributes globally. Its main clients are investors and project owners seeking fast returns on investment, as well as O&M companies looking to provide better performance alongside their cleaning services.