Solar panels

Discussion in 'Water Fed Pole Cleaning' started by SteveSmee, Mar 13, 2012.

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  1. SteveSmee

    SteveSmee Guest

    Hi

    I've had a fair number of customers ask over the last few months about cleaning their solar panels, and they seem to be going up all over the place here. I think the sudden increase probably has something to do with the fixed tariff dropping after a certain date last year.

    I was wondering if any of you guys had any experience cleaning them?

    My concern is that they are generally sold as 'self cleaning' and a friend of mine who installs them says they do not need to be cleaned, however looking online I see 'research' to state otherwise. Our business has lasted so long because we treat our customers fairly and honestly, so I really dont want to mislead anyone.

    It would be a massive help to me if someone with more experience could weigh in on the problem and answer my questions;

    Do you have experience cleaning solar panels?

    If so, how often do they need cleaning?

    I've found that the normal WFP system we use should be suitable, but I'd be happier if this was confirmed.

    How do you actually get to the panels? - Some I guess you could reach with a very long WFP (45ft?), but others are at bad angles etc.. would you use a goose neck part way up a pole?

    How much do you charge? My best guess would be somewhere between £2-5 a panel depending on difficulty, plus a fee if the windows aren't being done at the same booking.

    Thanks in advance for any help you give, as I said, it is really appreciated.

    What I have found is that the glass on the PV panels is actually quite tough, so a normal pole should be ok? But I plan to buy a softer brush in case. I’ve also seen quotes online of 30% degradation of efficiency if the panels are not cleaned regularly, but that seems strange to me. Finally I have been told by my friend to wear rubber gloves as they carry a current. He says I am unlikely to be shocked, but it is a precaution worth taking.

    Thanks again

    -Stephen
     
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  2. Ryan

    Ryan Guest

    Id like to know this to i know a few boys are at it

    iv seen solar brushes for the wfp system and seen some good vids on you tube the guys do it on the roof tho but i wouldn't be going on roofs for less then £80 a pop lol
     
  3. James

    James Guru
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    I have been cleaning Solar Panels for a few months now and it's quite easy to do to be fair.

    Your friend said they don't need to be cleaned? He/she is very wrong. Solar Panels lose up to 35% (proven so far) efficiency when dirty, this includes bird mess / dirt etc. They are quite stirdy yes but some panels are a lot thinner than others so special solar panel brushes are needed. But otherwise you can just use an everyday waterfed pole brush.

    I don't really rate Unger brushed but this one is brilliant: http://www.windowcleaningstuff.co.uk/product.php?id_product=584

    I use it and it doesn't damage the panels, in fact it's so soft it leaves remarkable finishes.

    Hope this helps, message me if you wan't anymore info.

    James.
     
  4. SteveSmee

    SteveSmee Guest

    Hi James, thanks for the quick response, I've had a look at the brush and saved it as a favourite in my 'to buy' folder.

    I'd love to know how you actually reach the solar panels - do you clean them from the ground much like a regular window? If so, what length pole do you use? Do you often find difficulties in getting the angle on the panels? Hiring a cherry picker or going on the roof seems like a lot of trouble unless you charge quite a lot.

    Thanks again, I hope I am not being a nuisance
    -Stephen
     
  5. James

    James Guru
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    It depends what height the panels are at buddy. My Gardiner SLX reaches most with ease. It's 30ft. Just clean like a normal window but for twice as long to make sure it's nice and sparkling. The good thing with the brush I linked you is that it has a handy carbon fibre gooseneck, it gives you a great angle to clean the panels at.


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  6. chip

    chip Guru
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    that's a pretty looking brush james!
    i've not been asked by any of my custies as yet about cleaning them, not sure if i ought to enquire or not, will have to wait till i can afford the slx as i don't fancy tackling them with an alloy!
    by the way james did you do a flyer about them? if so how did it go and would you permit me to see ( and plagiarize it :) ) if and when the time comes?
     
  7. James

    James Guru
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    Aye SLX's are quite pricey but they can sell them at those prices because they are amazing.

    I did do a mass flyer drop to get me some Solar Panel work to get me started and yes ofcourse you can have a sneak preview if you'd like. It's just a simple flyer though, you can tweak it for your needs if you like :)
     
  8. Ryan

    Ryan Guest

    So you clean the panel from the ground

    iv seen a few bungalows around me with them i'm going to target now

    doing houses i thought ud have to get on ladder didnt think it could be done from the ground
     
  9. chip

    chip Guru
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    [hr]
    thanks james, i'll let you know if the time comes
     
  10. James

    James Guru
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    Yep from the ground, I guess you could get up there if you wanted to but there's not much point if your WFP.


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