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Old 09-12-2018, 13:40   #1
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Best method for cleaning solar panels?

What's the best way to clean solar panels? It seems like this would help their efficiency.
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Old 09-12-2018, 13:53   #2
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

Soap and water is always a good start.
More info like what type panels rigid or flex.
Pictures would help .
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Old 09-12-2018, 13:56   #3
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

I've found polishing them helps them stay clean longer.
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Old 09-12-2018, 13:58   #4
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

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I've found polishing them helps them stay clean longer.
that all depends on the type of panels .
Its not a good idea to polish flex panels as rigorously as rigid panels you can and likely will damage them over time.
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Old 09-12-2018, 14:02   #5
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

Apply grease to the panels. Good old cleaning works.


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Old 09-12-2018, 14:15   #6
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

I have three rigid panels mounted aft of the raised helm, over the top of the cockpit.
'Sounds like simple soap and water is the best option, at least to start.
Thanks for chiming in!
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Old 09-12-2018, 14:18   #7
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

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that all depends on the type of panels .
Its not a good idea to polish flex panels as rigorously as rigid panels you can and likely will damage them over time.

Many have been ruined this way. When the cells flex they develop micro-cracks. Google it.
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Old 09-12-2018, 14:22   #8
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

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that all depends on the type of panels .
Its not a good idea to polish flex panels as rigorously as rigid panels you can and likely will damage them over time.
Yes, sorry, I should have stated, glass panels.
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Old 09-12-2018, 14:44   #9
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by La Vie Dansante View Post
I have three rigid panels mounted aft of the raised helm, over the top of the cockpit.
'Sounds like simple soap and water is the best option, at least to start.
Thanks for chiming in!
ok solid glass panels then wash with soap ( dawn dish soap is eco safe)
and water then a coat of wax is a good idea. Helps with keeping the panels clean with just a spritz of water . ( also makes it easier to wash off seagulls deposits.)
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Old 09-12-2018, 14:49   #10
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

Mild soap and water, leave to soak for a few minutes then rinse clean.

And I swear I saw a 10% drop in output from one panel the moment a bird poop hit it.

Question for the group....

On houses, you incline the panels based on your latitude. This has a side benefit of making the panels "self cleaning" to a large degree.

On boats, such a setup makes no sense... except maybe it does. I have a slight induced tilt on my panels to make sure rainwater drains off away from where I might be standing, and I know I lose some efficiency, but I have wondered if I induce enough self cleaning to offset that efficiency loss. Probably not, but food for thought.
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Old 09-12-2018, 15:10   #11
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

Self cleaning starts around 20 degrees tilt.
I have my aft panels tilted downwards aft a few degrees for rainwater draining.
All panels are semi flexible.
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Old 09-12-2018, 15:27   #12
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

If you wax the panel why wouldn't that reduce the sun energy hitting tbe cells?
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Old 09-12-2018, 15:43   #13
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

Care regime should be same as windows at home, just motivated differently.

Not just bird poop or crusted salt spray, any film over the glass can reduce output, including dust, pollen etc.
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Old 09-12-2018, 15:55   #14
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

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If you wax the panel why wouldn't that reduce the sun energy hitting tbe cells?
I have 327W Sumpower solar panels. I clean them with mild soap and water only. If you observe the surface of the panels closely when wiping with a slightly moist microfiber you will see that you get a dark surface when wet, but becoming almost immediately lighter when the thin layer of water molecules evaporates. For me this indicates a special “roughness” of the glass surface to catch more photons by reflecting less.
I think if you “polish” the surface with wax you will increase the number of photons reflected and as a consequence get less yield from your panels. If this is measurable outside of a specialised solar panel lab rests to be seen. Just my 2 cts.
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Old 09-12-2018, 16:55   #15
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Re: Best method for cleaning solar panels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
If you wax the panel why wouldn't that reduce the sun energy hitting tbe cells?
What I've found is that it sheds water better, which helps keep them cleaner longer.
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