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Important considerations for cleaning solar modules

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When it comes to cleaning solar modules we at solar group have cleaned many MW for many different O&M providers, we have compiled the following observations to make any cleaning maintenance go smoothly if considered from the outset of a parks construction.

  • Planning Stage
  • Construction Stage
  • O&M stage

Planning Stage

Whilst we understand that O&M considerations do not always rank highly at planning stage we think with some due care almost all of the problems we have faced regularly on solar parks could be eliminated at this stage:

Location: Consider environmental influence such as high levels of dust/dirt, high concentrations of wildlife such as birds/bird sanctuaries.  If the location does have these influences be sure to plan in an appropriate cleaning schedule to compensate for these.

Access: For cleaning activities full access is required around site often, for this reason if the modules are ground mounted gravel tracks between all inverter fields really makes life easier and conserves optimum site conditions., if roof mounted then permanent safe access to the roof reduces the budget needed year on year.

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No gravel track

Module choice: all module manufacturers have their own cleaning requirements, choosing a module manufacturer that allows more cleaning choices will reduce the budget needed for cleaning significantly.

Construction stage

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Module layout: If modules are stacked more than 3 high in rows then cleaning activities will incur a higher price point.

Post construction: EPC’s should strongly consider employing a professional cleaning company to remove all construction detritus before handing over to O&M provider.

O&M stage

This is also a critical stage for cleaning activities, the O&M operators should be aware of their own sites cleaning requirements to satisfy any module warrantees, it is also critical that the O&M provider is aware of the necessary cleaning frequency’s taking into account all external influences.

Pre Clean: If the EPC failed to clean the modules before handover, the O&M provider should consider this to be a priority.

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Etch of bird dropping

Birds droppings/Guano: This is an extremely damaging influence which if left unchecked can cause permanent damage to solar modules, the acidity of birds droppings can etch a shadow into the surface of the module, if the site is subject to birds droppings these need to be quickly removed so regular cleaning must form part of the O&M schedules

Cleaning Methods: It is critical that the O&M provider is fully aware of the required cleaning methods that are necessary to retain module manufacturer’s warrantees, many manufacturer’s have their own unique requirements, and a standard set of requirements does not exist.

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