6 simple suggestions to save money using smart solar panel cleaning

Aug 2020

Solar panels, or photovoltaic (PV) systems perform best with completely unobstructed access to the sun’s rays.

Regular cleaning using trained cleaning teams, the right chemicals, and the correct cleaning techniques will not only help owners of solar farms and solar panels remedy potential fire safety issues, hot spots and pests, but will optimise the output performance of the panels. In addition, issues like crazing (webs of small cracks) and delamination (peeling off of laminate layer), will help protect the investment in the solar system and extend the life of the system.

The following six points highlight how professional solar panel cleaning will help save excessive maintenance costs and enhance the output performance of the system.

  1. Optimal performance: As panels become covered with residue and the layer of dirt thickens, output performance of the solar panels declines and can reduce performance by as much as 20%. Regular cleaning optimises the performance of the solar panel system.
  2. Proactive maintenance: Trained cleaning staff contribute to the on-going maintenance of the panel system by alerting clients of any small cracks, issues with the racks, fire safety issues, hot spots and pests. Professional cleaning companies issue cleaning and inspection reports, including photo reports of any problem areas identified such as lose brackets, exposed wiring, shifted panels, etc. Clients that resolve small issues quickly, prevent further damage and unnecessary expenses going forward.
  3. De-ionised water: Tap water and chemicals leave residue on solar panels that accumulate dirt. De-ionised water systems ensure a residue- and spot-free finish that is more resistant to dirt, delivering a longer-lasting result and extending the time between cleaning intervals.
  4. Non-abrasive chemical selection: Most of the time, professional cleaning companies only use de-ionised water and mechanical brush action to clean solar panels. Where sticky dirt or hardened residue is found on the panels, a PH-neutral mild detergent can be used to assist in the cleaning process. Examples include tree sap, bird droppings, insect nests, snails, and air pollution in industrial areas (i.e. eMalahleni),  or in areas along flight pathways (i.e. Isando) where aviation exhaust residue causes accelerated build up. Whatever the cause of the build-up, cleaning material and techniques need to be inline with the warranty requirements of the solar panel manufacturer.
  5. Mitigation of safety risks: Working at heights involves risks, especially without the right gear, and can result in injury. Cleaning teams need to be certified to work at heights and take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the people and the facilities on site. Professional cleaning companies ensure that their safety equipment is inspected regularly and certified safe for use by a qualified health and safety inspector, including their harnesses, ladders and ropes.
  6. Best cleaning times: Every solar panel installation has specific power output potential according to its design. As the air surrounding the solar panels dries with the changing seasons, the output performance declines due to the higher levels of dust, increasing the potential for dirt build-up. The best time to clean solar panels is during the dry season (i.e. winter in Gauteng and summer in the Western Cape). The most ideal weather for cleaning solar panels is when it is cool and overcast.

Applications: Solar energy farms, corporate solar installations, retail and warehousing solar panel installations, residential and estate solar panel systems, cold chain distribution centres.

Performance guarantee – no contract required

At African Corporate Cleaning, we are so confident about solving all your needs that we will do so without any long-term contract in place. If we let you down, you just let us go. This ensures that we will always work hard at keeping you happy.

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We have the right solar panel cleaning services for you to help keep your systems operating optimally. Contact us for fast assistance: https://www.africancorporatecleaning.co.za/contact.html

African Corporate Cleaning enables effective cleaning of large solar panel installations in a short time.

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