Author Topic: how to help reduce grime buildup on solar panels  (Read 7935 times)

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how to help reduce grime buildup on solar panels
« on: June 12, 2010, 08:22:32 PM »
The best way to help reduce grime is to clean panels often. but this can sometimes be a very hard chore or dangerous on high angle roofs. Besides we all have better things to do like fishing. ;D
try using automotive windshield protectants. like rainx. just test in a corner first to see if it is OK for your panel top. The use of static guard also works but has to be reapplied.  There may be other products that work to. please chime in with your suggestions of products.

good luck



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Re: how to help reduce grime buildup on solar panels
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2010, 05:07:29 AM »
Super hydrophobic coatings make the solarpanels self cleaning.
It is still a bit hard to find but it is coming up.


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Re: how to help reduce grime buildup on solar panels
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2010, 06:18:51 AM »
If there were performance enhancing coatings end users could apply Kyocera, Evergreen. Sanyo and the rest of the silicon foundries plus every RE retail outfit would be selling them!

With RainX, droplets too small to roll off the panels evaporate and leave rings which defeat the coating pretty rapidly - it is designed for use with 40mph-plus wind amplified by the air compression of the slipstream pressing on the front windshield. If you've ever needed to see through a side-view mirror while driving in rain that had RainX applied to it you know how horrible micro-beading can be.

Clean glass alone is best - simple hosing off or sponging if needed, non-scratch Bon-Ami powder or bar cleanser after heating season is over but do small enough sections so it does NOT get a chance to dry before rinsing off, and scraping lichen and any mineralization with a razor blade yearly is all that is needed.


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Re: how to help reduce grime buildup on solar panels
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2010, 06:43:04 AM »
Years ago when Noah was a wee lad and I was a mad keen biker we would cut a potato in half and rub it on the helmet visor to keep it clear from rain, sounds daft but it did work. We would also rub a little washing up liquid on the inside of the visor to stop it misting up.
Probably no use on panels, just a distant memory of days long gone! Hot summers, fast bikes and no speed traps! bliss

How many windmills do I have to build to become a windmillologist?

Bruce S

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Re: how to help reduce grime buildup on solar panels
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2010, 08:05:06 AM »
Because of the Oak Tree pollen that is ALL over our area; I like to keep the RainX on my panels, plus it does help with the rain.
I started by testing one panel during a summer then kept it up until winter came.
The panels did not seem to lose any power (HF PVs as they are). When rain comes along it is usually pretty hard followed by a steady wind so I have not seem any spotting problems that DanG speaks of. I will however keep an eye out for that sort of problem just in case.

My panels are not moved and I have them tilted at 63degress from vertical.
I do notice that when I forget to coat them before season pollen starts they are just as bad about keeping pollen on them as everything else.
Hope this helps.
Bruce S
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Re: how to help reduce grime buildup on solar panels
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2012, 07:32:36 AM »
I wanted to suggest a product, but couldn't remember what it was.  I went searching on Google to hopefully refresh my memory.  I didn't find anything but I did stumble upon this product:  AQUAPEL

Not sure how good it is or if it lives up to its claims, but it is something to test if anyone desires to.  Description sounds similar to RainX.

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Rob Beckers

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Re: how to help reduce grime buildup on solar panels
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2012, 01:05:52 PM »
My cleaning product of choice is "rain"...

I don't put anything on the panels, nor do I advise my customers to do so. Most are a few stories up on a roof; a place where I really don't want to see people crawling around, not to mention that usually the majority of panels is unreachable unless you crawl over them (another thing I tell people not to do).

Unless you live in a place that sees very little rain, or very infrequent rain, I honestly don't believe there's much to gain by manual cleaning or putting stuff on them. There was a study done in central Spain, to see what the effect of dust settling on panels was (central Spain is pretty arid, with a dry season and lots of dust). They could see the effect of dirty panels, wasn't huge though, and 10 minutes of rain took care of cleaning them back to pristine state again.

We have another pollutant that is much more persistent and seriously degrades solar PV output here, it's called "snow". Just a light dusting will kill all PV output, taking the array from 6kW to 300 Watt. Many do clean it off panels here, some have contraptions like a modified pool-cleaner with a squeegee at the end, to reach two floors up. In general I tell people to make peace with the loss of production because of winter snow. For grid-tie there's not much to be made or lost during those times anyway, though for off-grid that may be different.



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Re: how to help reduce grime buildup on solar panels
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2012, 10:35:32 PM »
3.5 kW of installed capacity here and we got 0.2 kWh today from the panels.  93.0 kWh for the month.  Just heavy overcast day after day after day.  Don't matter if they're clean, dirty, covered with snow, or mounted in the rack upside down.  In fact, it doesn't even matter if they're on the roof at all.  I should take 'em down and put 'em in storage for the winter because that way I wouldn't get any silly ideas about trying to sweep snow off them in the hopes I can get a couple watt-hours from them.

It's a good thing the wind turbines put out 954 kWh this month.  Otherwise I'd have to invest in OPEC.