The cleaning of a solar panels plant
Photovoltaic solar panels are a way to generate electricity thanks to an endless energy source that is the sun. This energy source is available and at our disposal without any action required, in both remote and populated areas, while respecting the environment. New owners of a photovoltaic installations or potential future owners may wonder how to maintain their photovoltaic installation to maximise generation capacity.
First of all, the maintenance process of a photovoltaic system is quite easy to do, knowing that the unique action of rain contributes to the cleaning of panels and that there are also photovoltaic panels equipped with the lotus effect, referring to a self-cleaning process that is the result of a very high water repellence, which also contributes to the cleaning of fine particles. However, in particularly dry areas or where panel’s tilt is minimal, dust and other substances such as birds droppings or materials blown by the wind can settle on the panels and influence the energy generation.
For small- or mid-scale photovoltaic installations, the solution to avoid these troubles that could reduce the efficiency of the photovoltaic panels by more than 15% and diminish their longevity, is to rinse / clean them regularly.
In case of snow, it has to be cleared from photovoltaic panels as soon as the weather allows it, because the longer the snow remains, the longer no energy will be generated by the panels. Moreover, it is also important to make sure that panels are not even partially in the shade because it would also lower their generation capacity.
The required equipment to clean small- or mid-scale photovoltaic installations is water and a soft sponge. This cleaning should be done once or twice a year and preferably when the sun is down, best in the early morning. To guarantee its benefits, do not use :
• neither hard water that tends to whiten the panels and prevent them from receiving solar radiation
• nor cold water on warm panels which could lead to a thermal shock resulting in the glass panel getting cracked
• nor solvent, detergent
• very high pressure water that are more likely to damage the panels
Do not try to clean off the wiring beneath the panels or their backside either.
Oily stains can occur in some installations scenarios, such as if sites are near an airport and are under a flight path, or if it is adjacent to and downwind of a major roadway frequented by trucks.
Pollen can also be oily and sticky. If one or both of these stains appear on the panels, isopropyl alcohol can be used as a spot-cleaning substance but the risk of fire due to the use of such a gas evaporated product must not be forgotten.
In general, to remove something that sticks on the panels, moisten it for a while and thereafter, it could be removed easily.
To ensure a long longevity to photovoltaic panels, it is advised to establish a maintenance contract with the firm that has installed your photovoltaic panels or with another one, that consists in a once a year control with an electrician before the beginning of the period of strong sunshine. The meeco Group with its national subsidiaries has a long experience in operating and maintaining PV installations. Being one of the world’s leading companies in the clean energy sector and specialised in particular in solar energy, The meeco Group has turned into an expert in solar energy installations. That is why, The meeco Group can and will provide you with the best service to guarantee your maintenance.