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Guest SteveSmee

Solar panels



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Guest SteveSmee

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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Guest Ryan

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

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James

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.

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Guest SteveSmee

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

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James

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.

 

 

---

I am here: http://tapatalk.com/map.php?y1vs2q

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chip

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?

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James

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 :)

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Guest Ryan

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

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chip

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 :D

 


thanks james, i'll let you know if the time comes

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James

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

 

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

 

 

---

I am here: http://tapatalk.com/map.php?pqenxo

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windyman

Gardiners do a 90deg gooseneck for solar panels, might be worth checking out.

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Posh

You actually reach them from the ground. You must have a long long pole. Do you have to use pure water.


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

 

I've seen this. Try stop you going up a ladder but will let you stand on a roof with a pole and no scaffolding. I've seen em doing it.

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chip

i don't think it's specificaly for solar panels, can't remember exactly what the advantage was. ah well, another post!

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Guest SteveSmee

Hi guys, thanks so much for the replies, I've just finished putting a report together for my boss/mother-in-law, you've been a massive help.

 

In the interest of giving back, I stumbled on a report paid for by google who were testing the performance of their own solar panels. I'll link below, but long story short, they found that cleaning the panels after 15 months doubled their output. Cleaning them again 8 months later, increased output by 36%.

 

Overall a heavy rain helped, but a professional clean was 12% better.

 

http://goodcleantech.pcmag.com/solar-energy/279277-google-studies-how-dirt-affects-solar-panel-efficiency

 

It's a pretty interesting read if you've got the time.

 

Thanks again

 

-stephen

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Guest Paul

Good bit of info there Steve, bookmarked for the future :)

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Richard

Hi SteveSmee,

 

I have already been asked, advised and demonstrated different brushes to use for a very large solar panel company.

 

I would recommend boar’s hair brush.

 

Richard

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Richard

James, the boar’s hair is a very soft brush/bristle even when the bristles are cut shorter to make the bristles stiffer for more active/heavy scrubbing, they won’t cause any damage to the panels or self cleaning glass. During testing we tried to cause damage with the brush by applying a relatively huge amount of pressure – no damage was ever recorded.

 

The brushes have exceptional scrubbing ability, even with the minimum amount of applied pressure because of the natural drag the brush has - and will clean quicker for this type of work than other types of brushes bristles.

 

I cleaned 6 last week that had not been cleaned in almost a year and only needed to spend a few minutes cleaning each of the panels; half of that time was letting the water soak into anything that was on the panel, so the brush also makes it very easy and quick work, select the wrong type of brush and you will lose a lot of time and work a lot harder.

 

The boar’s hair type of brush is so effective I make them with 3 types of cut, standard full trim brush, a longer length full trim and a short double trim brush. All can be used for first cleans, conservatories and solar panels, self cleaning glass etc - some even use them for everyday use.

 

Richard

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