Crel and Enel leverage mature field experience to build better robots

Published on Monday, 13 August 2018

“To be an innovator means imagining the future, while remembering the lessons learned in the past”

– Gabriele Criscione, CEO of Crel

According to Gabriele Criscione, innovation is the capacity to make and anticipate the future. He explains: “The principle objective of our business is to completely automate the cleaning process of photovoltaic panels, to reduce the operational costs produced by the outdated methods currently in use and, above all, to ensure the energy efficiency of the panels, thereby greatly reducing the phenomena of soiling impact.”

Automated cleaning robot for photovoltaic panels, Crel startup at Enel Innovation Hub and Lab Catania.

How it all began

When our partnership with Crel began in 2015, we immediately recognised its value. The company already had a good reputation and we understood the expertise involved in its proposal to create an automated cleaning robot. As Gabriele Criscione explains, “We wanted to build  a cleaning robot distinct from the best offers on the market. Today, after three years of working together and creating five versions of the robot, we can say that we have overcome the challenge, even though technological evolution inevitably and constantly pushes us to be the first.”

Criscione adds: “We have realised that robots are not the result of laboratory tests, but are the product of mature experience in the field. There you can analyse all the variables that are strictly tied to the conformation of the site objectives from various installations, but above all, the differences in environmental and territorial characteristics.” Today, the system is fully operational at the FVAdrano photovoltaic park and at the Enel Innovation Hub&Lab in Catania, Sicily.

After successfully integrating the automated system in Catania, Crel partnered with our EnelGreen Power division in Brazil and implemented the solution at the largest photovoltaic plants in the country. Salvo Salerno, Crel’s LATAM Sales Manager, is excited about what this collaboration means for the company. He has been working on this project for several years and says: “It represents a great opportunity to leverage our experience as well as our human and intellectual resources with Enel, a company whose undisputed leadership we recognise and with whom we share the same values and principles that provide the foundation for success.”

Values and lessons that matter

Gabriele Criscione understands the challenge Crel faces in order to adapt to the speed at which technology is evolving. However, he acknowledges that the opportunity to work in a space that provides access to advanced technology, with a supportive team such as the one at the Catania Innovation Hub&Lab, makes it worthwhile. “The dedication and perseverance of all the people who have collaborated with us has been impressive. Despite many difficulties over the last two years, they have never ceased to believe in us and in the project, and have always encouraged us to give our best. We owe them a great deal.” 

Crel’s experience at the Enel Innovation Hub&Lab reminds us that not only are technology and facilities important for innovation: people are also essential to achieving success.  Progress was  made possible by dedicated teams working together. “What the team has taken away from this experience is Enel’s continuous and constant commitment, in addition to its staff’s boundless passion for their work, their efforts to enhance everyone’s knowledge and make even the most ambitious projects possible.” We couldn’t be prouder to have shared this experience with such a dedicated team.

Open Innovability

Be part of the change