Washed my solar panels 5% improvement

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Re: Washed my solar panels 5% improvement

Postby Warpspeed » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:01 pm

I have two banks of north facing panels.
One bank is fairly steep and looks about thirty degrees above the northern horizon (in Melbourne) optimum for winter solstice.
The other bank is almost flat pointing only a few degrees from vertical, optimum for summer solstice, but with their top edges mounted just below the steeper mounted panels . Its kind of like a seasonal north facing virtual tracker.

I have arranged it so that rain falling against the more highly sloping panels drains and drips onto the almost flat panels, and so far it has kept them satisfyingly clean.

If you have a bird or a bat problem, provide them with a higher and more favourable perch. They will then thank you by not crapping all over your panels.
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Re: Washed my solar panels 5% improvement

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:22 pm

I've got a dust problem, and very little rain to wash them clean in recent months. Dust was like thick fog just down the road as I rode my bike through it this arvo (with a dust mask on) due to lots of traffic and nearly calm conditions, and it was nearly as bad here, filling the valley. I can't really justify using tank water to wash them, as the tanks are getting a bit low, and I need to keep a decent supply of water in case of bushfires, so solar output is down a bit. Luckily this isn't a problem so far, as the weather has been sunny most days and I have plenty of energy available.
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Re: Washed my solar panels 5% improvement

Postby APR » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:33 am

australsolarier wrote:apr,
it is probably not such a good idea to go on the roof on a rainy day. things get slippery even on a flat roof roof.


Yes, a good point I haven't considered. I would like to get at the panels sometime after rain when the flying fox droppings still contain moisture and are therefore softer and easier to remove. I have spoken to my current solar Installer, and he tells me there are 2 local young blokes who clean panels for a living. I am waiting to get phone numbers, and I will see what the damage will be to have one of them do the job. I expect they will have the gear and experience to do this work efficiently.
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Re: Washed my solar panels 5% improvement

Postby australsolarier » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:11 am

the bat poo,
well, it is like glue. you will have to do some scraping.
and the flying foxes definitively do target practising. they always hit the panels. never the roof. or the drive. excepting maybe if you leave the laundry on the clothe line over night. they will go for that too, particularly if they eat something purple.
another thing i find on the panels are small yellowish waxy dots, about 10mm diameter. and many of them. maybe the bees drop them. unlike the flying foxes droppings they are somewhat transparent. pelican droppings take up a big area and i remove them as soon as i see them.

i don't think realistically the panels need cleaning. i just do it because it bothers me when they are too dirty. the flat panels are a bit different though, dirt puddles at the lower end. so it is a good idea to mount them so the wide side is at the lower end. totally flat is not a good idea as that mud puddling creates a much larger area.
the commercial solar power stations do clean the panels. the israelis invented a cleaning system that does not need water. gordon, you might just try to clean them with a dry mop or rag. the vacuum cleaner?
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Re: Washed my solar panels 5% improvement

Postby gedogen » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:51 am

I'm cleaning mine about every day! There is a major highway construction less than 1/4 mile away. And now leaves. This is compounded by the fact that my panels by necessary are only about 10 degrees tilt and under a tree. I wonder if anyone else has this problem, ANTS, hundreds of them walking on the glass. Must be they are after some kind of tree sap droppings.
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Re: Washed my solar panels 5% improvement

Postby australsolarier » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:40 am

gedogen,
just wondering, what country are you from?
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Re: Washed my solar panels 5% improvement

Postby gedogen » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:33 am

I'm in the US, latitude of 43N if you are wondering if my tilt is anywhere it is supposed to be. Panels are cheap, my view is very expensive.
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Re: Washed my solar panels 5% improvement

Postby APR » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:20 pm

I got on the roof myself today and washed the older panels for the first time in their rooftop life of over 2 years. Dust was evident on them, and discolouration could be seen in the water when hosing them down after wet brushing them with a swimming pool cleaning brush on it's 5m alloy shaft.

There was not as much dust and droppings on the panels as I expected to see, so I am not sure how much of an improvement in energy generation I will see. In another month's time I will produce another graph comparing these older washed panels on one inverter to the newer unwashed panels on the second inverter, and see what improvement is evident if any.
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Re: Washed my solar panels 5% improvement

Postby australsolarier » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:57 pm

just a note for people having water shortage and wanting to clean panels.
today when finished with the installation of an other array, i threw the old sheets off the roof. (they are being used to lay on and protect the knees from roofing screws.) they old sheets slid down the east array panels. and all the dust was polished off. the dust seems to come off quite easily as compared to bird droppings and beeswax.
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Re: Washed my solar panels 5% improvement

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:05 pm

Not all dust comes off so easily! The quite thick layer of red dust deposited on my panels in a dust storm just over 8 years ago was quite sticky, I had to use water and a cloth, as just hosing them did not remove much of it at all.
dustypanels20090923.jpg
dustypanels20090923.jpg (62.6 KiB) Viewed 948 times
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