Bushtracker copy of Tip #11 From the Private Forum

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 03:59
ThreadID: 121714 Views:4058 Replies:0 FollowUps:0
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Solar Panels, "To clean or not to clean, that is the question"... I was reading a posting on people thinking of ladders and such to clean their solar panels.... We don't bounce as well as we used to... Ha!

Steven Gibbs here, Bushtracker, thought maybe I should tell you all of our experience on cleaning solar panels....

There is some thought out there with a few people, that they somehow need to clean their solar panels.... We do not share that thought.... Our studies have shown otherwise, and dusty panels on a bad track? Seems only to be about a 5% loss. And the next rain washes them off again... I would hate to see someone getting hurt thinking they needed to keep the solar panels clean... For the most part the bulldust blows on, the bulldust blows off, and the rain keeps them in the 99% range of output...

On the worst case senario, morning dew if you leave early, catches the bull dust in little mud drops... I have even done that with my shower as I travel with the shower window open about 50mm almost all the time. Opps, have forgotten on a bulldust track and found red drops everywhere in the shower... But a quick hose down with the shower handle and it comes amazingly clean quickly and easily... This is about the only cleaning that we would do, and that is with a hose shot up in the air to rain down on the panels for just a bit. They come amazingly clean in just a couple of minutes, in the 99% range again...

I just don't think it is worth the risk of a fall... We ran into the same concept years ago. To protect the panels on the yachts years ago (I was one of the pioneer types to do this on yachts for major power supply with Arco panels in about 1980) we even played around with hinged covers in 3/8 inch acrylic covers with a 5% loss. With the air gap under, and teak blocks around to get an air gap over with cooling, they would build up quite dirty with salt and dust from winds off shore, and surprisingly there was very little power loss. Tracy does not clean his, I do not clean mine. So be careful, and personally I do not think it is worth the risk, for so little of a return...

Kind Regards,
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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