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16vjohn

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #1 
This seems to be a relatively controversial topic when it comes to PV, or any other kind of solar device. You'd think we could solve this problem with data, but when it comes to the data on my own array, I can barely compare today with yesterday because there are so many variables. I read again and again that people say to just leave them alone and forget about it. Obviously, that wildly depends on your location. Here in Salt Lake City, we may get a storm pass by just long enough to clean the dust out of the sky, and thus, deposit healthy amounts of dust right onto my array.

I decided to get up there today with a ladder and I was shocked at how bad they were. I have a feeling I've been missing out on as much as 10% with my completely anecdotal and factless observation.

I guess my question for the forum is, when are they "too dirty"? I hosed them down, which undoubtedly will leave some spots.

20171022_182321.jpg  20171022_182350.jpg 

stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #2 
I'd be inclined to guess that that is "too" dirty. ANY dirt will cut production, it's a matter of degree.

However it's a cost issue; is the lost production worth more or less than the cost of cleaning the panels? In some cases a sprinkler system might be appropriate.

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Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
gbwillson

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Reply with quote  #3 
You might try something like Rain-X on the panels in a small spot to see if it helps. The windshield on my truck is noticeable cleaner with it applied. Dust and dirt don't stick as well. It also greatly reduces spotting after a rain(or a sprinkler).

Greg in MN
tacman7

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Posts: 29
Reply with quote  #4 
I go out and wash my panels, course I have a ground mounted array.

I'm in a really dusty area but every month or 3 I get around to it.

Also have to trim the trees and keep the shade away from them.
Rick H Parker

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Reply with quote  #5 
Soap & water, soft brush then rinse.  You could finish off with one of the many DIY Rain X formulas. This is one of the reasons I recommend ground level mounting of solar panels when it can be done.
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stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #6 
Easier said than done with an array that size. Been there. You need a pool-cleaning wand with some sort of home made mop attached, and it's still a lot of work. I do mine about once a year, the rest of the time I just pray for rain.

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Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
16vjohn

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #7 
I ended up purchasing an "Unger" telescoping pole and accompanying window washer designed for 2nd story windows. My plan is to hose them off the best I can, then soap and water with that brush, then squeegee to help prevent hard water spots. Only down side, the cost of these supplies sets my ROI out another month. Oh well, that's ok if the brush lasts 15 or 20 years.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004S8XIE0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HYYSTT4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #8 
Yep pretty much what I use.

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Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
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