CIM Group has made a $40 million investment in Herzliya-based Ecoppia, a provider of robots for automatic cleaning of solar panels, and became the largest shareholder in the company. Ecoppia’s VP of marketing, Anat Cohen-Segev, told Techtime that CIM’s evolving ecosystem in the solar market will drive business expantion. “They have established extensive activity in the solar market.”
Ecoppia’s robots clean the solar panels automatically using only microfiber and without the use of water. Regular cleaning is vital, as dust and dirt may dramatically reduce their power output. These autonomous robots clean the panels every night, removing about 99% of the dust that has accumulated during the day. One robot is capable of cleaning 1,200 panels a night.
Ecoppia robots have their own on-board dedicated solar module, allowing batteries to quickly charge in between operations. A cloud-based platform enables remote management via any connected device, while data arriving from smart sensors and AI platform can independently initiate cleanings, based on weather conditions and other parameters.
Founded in the early 1990s by the two Israelis, Avi Shemesh and Shaul Kuba, CIM Group currently manages assets worth of $60 billion. Its portfolio company, Sky Power from Canada, manages solar projects with a total capacity of 2,500 megawatts worldwide. Earlier this year CIM has begun developing the Westlands Solar Park, a 20,000 acres solar park in California, planned to produce 2,700 megawatts.
COVID-19 had a Positive Impact
Ecoppia collaborates with leading Energy companies such as the French Engie Group and EDF, the Indian NTPC and Adani Power, Actis Group from the UK, unEdisson/TerraForm from the US. It says that its activities have grown annually by 200% in the last 6 years. Big financial backer is crucial in the energy market: agreements demand long-term commitment, sometimes for decades, and the ecosystem prefer a strong financial soundness. Thus, CIM Group’s investment helps Ecoppia to meet the financial standards needed in the market.
Unlike many technology companies, the COVID-19 crisis had a positive impact on Ecoppia’s businesses. Cohen-Segev: “It made our advantage clearer. Due to the quarantine and social distancing, maintenance works were stopped at many solar sites, and the panels accumulated dust and dirt that damaged performance. However, in the case of our customers, cleaning works continued as usual, since the cleaning is performed by automatic robots. We have always believed in automation, and COVID-19 has accelerated this understanding among energy companies as well.”