Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Solar Panels, Keep Them Clean

Where I live we have thousands of acres of pine forest, it's a crop grown for the paper industry. Every spring they produce a yellow pollen in great amounts, it leaves behind a yellow dusting on your cars, outdoor furniture, virtually everything outside.

I looked at the panels on my roof and sure enough I could see the pollen dust on them. So I got the scrub brush on the extension pole, a step ladder and the garden hose ready. Before the cleaning began I noted the amp output then immediately cleaned the panels and again noted the amp reading after cleaning. To my surprise there was an 11% increase in the amp output! Quite a gain for simply hosing and brushing the panels.

Truth is, solar panels are very sensitive devices, their precise alignment to the sun, free of the slightest shadows such as the hour that my satellite dish casts a small shadow on them and now dust accumulation has a bigger impact on output then many would think.


The panels on the roof that were cleaned.
(I have a very small window of direct sun because of all the trees around me so the panels are mounted in the best position to make the most of the available few hours of sun.)




7 comments:

  1. Mike,
    Does that mean you'll have to pull the ladder out each time to clean your solar panels from the pollen?
    Have you seen those extended poles with commercial dust mop on the end, would that help clean the panels from standing on the ground?

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    1. Actually I just need a stepladder to get me up 2 feet to match the slope of the roof. The brush is on an 10 foot telescopic pole. The ladder is in the garage just around the corner so it's really not an inconvenience and only takes a few minutes start to finish.

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  2. Mike a rude question what was the cost on that 1500 watt pure wave and is it worth it compared to a modified inverter ? I Have been thinking about pure vs modified for my truck/home backup .

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    1. Not a problem Gary. I paid $280 for it.
      Is it worth the cost over a modified sine wave? I guess it depends if your running current sensitive electronics, something you wouldn't know until it happens. I went the pure sine wave just to avoid any possible issues in the future as I plan on having this unit for a long time. It's not cheap but to have to buy one in the future because I wanted to save some money and then the modified one would't work would be a real waste of money for me.
      Remember you will need some serious cable sizes to run this unit at a full 1500 watts as the amp draw from the batteries would be a 125 amps!

      Here's where I bought it:
      http://www.homedepot.com/p/Ramsond-Sunray-1500-Pure-Sine-Wave-Intelligent-DC-to-AC-Inverter-12-Volt-SUN1500/203423828?cm_mmc=Shopping%7cG%7cBase%7cPLA%7cD27E%7cElectrical&gclid=CJT22bTI18QCFUo6gQodZkoAPg&gclsrc=aw.ds

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    2. Thanks Mike 280$ for a pure wave VS. 200$ for a modified is a no brainer. I have a 400 and 800 watt modified inverter and they have limits. Fluorescents , electronics, microwaves, and box fans hate them !

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    3. I did test this unit with a number of items including a 23 watt, 100 watt equivalent CFL and the light output was smooth and steady.

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Your thoughts are welcome!