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There are over 2 million solar power systems installed on houses and businesses across Australia.
Demand is increasing with the improved efficiency and lifespan of solar systems, which are returning better investment than ever. This intense focus on return means those investing in installing solar are searching for ways to maximise the efficiency of their system whilst also preserving the lifespan.
Apparently, that means keeping them clean. An analysis of dust losses on photovoltaic modules, created for the World Renewable Energy Congress showed that in dry areas, dust can account for energy losses of up to 15%. In long periods without rain, like summer, the accumulation of dust can cause daily losses exceeding 20%.
That’s bad news for Australian PV system owners, as Australia heads into even worse drought conditions and long dry spells become the norm.
The impact is magnified on commercial solar systems and farms. A 99kW commercial PV system produces between 390 – 430 MWH per year, so a loss of 20% could be costing the business over $6,000 each year.
The solution, of course, is to clean them. However, cleaning solar panels with commercial cleaners could be doing more harm than good, and with water itself becoming a precious resource a more efficient cleaner is needed.
“There was such a need in the market for a built-for-purpose solar cleaner, especially in Australia.”, says Caryanne Cleevely from NCH Australia, “As the global leader in industrial and commercial maintenance products with over 120 patents worldwide, we knew it was up to us to create it.”
Solar panels spend their lives out on the elements, and in Australia, conditions can be harsh. As dust and dirt builds up on the protective glass coating, the amount of light that reaches the cells is reduced, and the PV system produces less power.
Cleaning solar panels twice a year will prevent this loss of productivity, however most commercial cleaners are designed for a different kind of dirt.
Industrial and all-purpose cleaners often target oil or grease, which rarely occurs on solar panels, and prove ineffective against the fine dust and dirt particles that settle on solar panels, while common glass cleaners can leave a soapy residue that actually encourages more dust to build-up.
On top of this, the majority of cleaners use heavily acidic or alkaline chemicals. These harsh cleaners that are not designed for solar panels damages the aluminium frames, which can eventually cause water ingress and destroy the panels and possibly void the warranty of the entire system.
Solar Up is designed specifically for Solar Panels to target the type of build-up that affects the efficiency of the panels.
Unlike other cleaners Solar Up actually targets dirt and dust particles by binding them so that they simply wash away, rather than using soaps or oils to dislodge them. Solar Up has a neutral PH of 7.2, making it almost totally PH neutral, so is totally safe for the aluminium frame that houses the panel.
Using a cleaning product specifically designed for solar panels can increase both the efficiency and lifespan of solar systems. Given the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on a system, it’s worth taking the time to make sure every system is being properly cared for.