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Thread: Solar Panels - to ckean or not to clean?

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    Default Solar Panels - to ckean or not to clean?

    just wondering what the opinions are on cleaning rooftop solar panels? some say yes , some say no . Various YouTube videos on how to do it the right or wrong way are also split down the middle. I have been giving mine a hosing from ground level just to get the salt spray off ( live near the beach ) but they remain quite grubby and I haven't noticed any large drops in their output.
    the local solar panel cleaning bloke has recently closed his business which tells me he wasn't getting enough work out of the concept , or he was charging too much or his insurance went up again lol



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    i do mine about 2- 3 times a year , i broom them with a detergent mix
    and then hose off and squeegee for the same reason salt build and grime
    buildup

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    Quote Originally Posted by fandtm666 View Post
    i do mine about 2- 3 times a year , i broom them with a detergent mix
    and then hose off and squeegee for the same reason salt build and grime
    buildup
    +1 ....same approach here, but only once a year due to our rural location

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    I have played around and have a LOT of solar panels. I think giving them a clean about every 12 months or a hose when they are say covered in salt, dust or ash from fires isn't a bad idea.
    That said, Paying anyone to clean them to get max output is counter productive. There is no way you are going to gain enough in power to offset and recover the cost of commercial cleaning. Unless they have abnormal physical buildup from a lot of birdshit or leaves or something else not normally seen, the 1% output you will gain isn't going to recouple the $1-200 you'll pay to get them cleaned. Or even $50 for that matter. If you are paying say .30C Kwh, You will need to INCREASE your output 166Kwh to break even just on $50 and how long are they going to stay clean enough for that to happen? Not going to. The seasons will change faster than the power can be recovered.


    There is a lot of hysteria about scratching panels and being coated and other bullshit. These things are a lot tougher than the bed wetters make out but then again most of them have never touched a panel, they paid to have them installed and are experts from all the industry clap trap they read which is about 90% wrong across the board. I have dragged them across one another when putting them up and left marks and they wipe off if they don't wash off. I don't know if Toughened glass is the right term but they sure as hell have something a lot more robust than normal glass that's for sure. I have lent and even walked on them ( carefully) and if my hefty bulk isn't going to break them, they arent' going to scratch just cleaning them.

    Washing will only get so much grime off and to clean anything properly you do have to perform some mechanical cleaning. It's like a car. Park it out in the weather for 12 Months then wash it with water. Even if you pressure wash it you never get all the crap off, you have to use a sponge or a rag. While deposits may not be significant on their own, not cleaning them can lead to the growth of Lichen and moss. I have bought a lot of panels where the owner had the system replaced because of fall off in generation but some systems I have bought have had about 10% of the surface area covered in growths! Just stuns me the people can't figure this out but clearly they don't. The growth are mainly at the edges and then progress inwards for some reason. I have some I got that were covered and cleaned that are starting to form again. Not worried, they are old 190's which I'm going to take down and replace with 250s.

    I have some lengths of 25mm Conduit which were cheap to buy, I can fit together and lock in place with split pins or tape around the joints and just put a soft broom on the end. Wet panels, Dip broom in some well soaped water ( Washing powder/ liquid) and go over the panels from the top down. Some of mine are easy to do from the ground, others easier to get on the roof. I do it at the start of summer and I do see it takes off some grime that water alone won't. Don't say in increases output but just as you wouldn't not wash your windscreen, I think giving them a go over stops growths which will impact output significantly and would be pretty much impossible to remove with the panels in situ. Maybe a bit of bleach in the water wouldn't be a bad idea either to kill the growth spores as well?

    I have got the ones with Lichen, I bring them home, clean them with a razor scraper, Give them a wash and they work like new. Panels are pretty variable and inefficient things so you might be looking at a percent or 2 extra generation if cleaned and they didn't have any undue buildup like Lichen or covered in birdshit.
    Other than that, weather determines output more over than anything else especially tilt. It's said that having flat panels gives them more build-up of dirt. I have about 20 panels at a 5o tilt and I don't see they are any less clean than the panels sitting at 34o in the next row butting up against them.

    There are far and away more false parroted mantras and Bullshit about solar than there are real world truths so apply a big question of logic to everything you read and question who is saying it? The industry and those making profit from it, owners whom have probably never touched them or people that are more hands on with nothing to gain? Much of what is said is just plain obvious BS through how illogical it is.

    Bit of soap water and a going over with a soft broom before summer is all they need and there is nothing special about doing it. If they get a lot of Birdshit, salt, ash or dust, Give them a hose of if rain isn't expected for a while.

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    I'm a lazy prick... I've had the panels for over 10 years - maybe cleaned them 5-6 times using dishwashing liquid...
    Usually when the neighbor pisses me off about my cars been too loud so I hose him down too.. hehe lol

    .

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    yep, I clean once a year to remove grime, which if left unchecked in our cold moist climate, grows lichen & moss.
    Cheers, Tiny
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    Quote Originally Posted by VroomVroom View Post
    I haven't noticed any large drops in their output.
    'nuf said.
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    Cleaning? Do they need to be cleaned? I'm not sure my cleaners will come at that.
    I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...

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    From somewhere I used to work at;


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    thanks , all very good info. I guess I was more worried about the bird crap. Those White Ibis bin chickens we have around here drop some massive brown bombs lol. I'll try a light scrubbing with car detergent or dishwashing liquid and report back.

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    Don't stand in the path of the running water/detergent like this pic or you'll be slip sliding away.. LOL Not that it's ever happened to me... LOL


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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnno View Post
    Don't stand in the path of the running water/detergent like this pic or you'll be slip sliding away.. LOL Not that it's ever happened to me... LOL

    LOL yep i actually use a window washer lambs wool tbar with extension pole and wash from the top
    then squeegee off to the side.

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    My house roof is Colourbond and at a 34o Angle. I can't stand on it when it's dry!
    That's why I use the Conduit from the ground. The much flatter shed panels are no problem to get up there. I just disconnect the downpipe to the water tank so it doesen't get soap and loads of silt in it.

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    When working on roofs, wet socks are safer than bare feet or shoes.
    I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnno View Post
    Nice install... half of the panels in that picture are shaded!

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    Thanks Bigfella, finally someone appreciates my work! Hehe, Seriously I have No idea who's Install Or who he is.. I'm way better looking and much younger.. LOL
    Last edited by Johnno; 28-07-20 at 09:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella237 View Post
    Nice install... half of the panels in that picture are shaded!
    Nothing unusual about that. Unless you have a north array, anything on the common east west arrays are also going to be shaded at some time of the day.
    I was in the train last year and looked out the window and saw panels under this huge tree that would be shaded 100% of the time. Tree didn't grow that big in even 10 years to grow over the panels. Hate to think of the cleaning they would need. Not that it would make a difference anyway.
    Lot of door to door companies that will stick the things anywhere as long as they can get the sale.
    Wether they produce or not is no concern to them. Most of these Fly by nighters pack up and open in another name as soon as the complaints and tribunal hearings get a bit too numerous.

    I have heard some companies to also keep the ongoing income also have some BS in their warranty about the panels having to be cleaned sometimes multiple times a year and of course they have to do it...... at up to $500 I have read being charged.

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    Quote Originally Posted by george65 View Post

    I have heard some companies to also keep the ongoing income also have some BS in their warranty about the panels having to be cleaned sometimes multiple times a year and of course they have to do it...... at up to $500 I have read being charged.
    This is the reason you ask this and more when getting quotes from any company and if you find a company that says this you tell them to go and get trucked. Company like this they will find any reason not to honor warranties and yes I have known one company that have changed the colour of there shirts 3 times in ten years because of dogey work or practices.
    Funny thing yesterday I only cleaned the 3 hot water panels yesterday whilst I was on the roof, I used a soft broom and a garden hose to do it. Funny thing is out Solar PV panels were once again CLEAN and the grime does not stick on these panels like the hot water panels do.
    Yes I finished yesterday more modifications to catch water for out 3 water tanks by re-direction more rain water to our tanks for toilet uses.
    Last edited by Mr 672A; 29-07-20 at 10:31 AM.
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    My neighbour has hot water panels. Was saying the other day they don't work. I'd say they are about 40% covered by moss and Lichen.
    Doesen't rally matter though. I don't know how long they have had them but the trees in front give about 90% shade.

    Saw an Ad on gumtree last night for new water panels. Seller said only used for a couple of days with no success as they need to be in a sunny spot.
    WTF is wrong with these people that pay out money without realising the blinding obvious?

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