The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Smallholding => Renewables => Topic started by: cloddopper on February 12, 2018, 02:39:06 am

Title: Algae on my panels
Post by: cloddopper on February 12, 2018, 02:39:06 am
Algae on my panels ... sounds like a bad song is !

It's been so horribly wet and cool this year that my solar panels are starting to develop a covering of green algae .
 I gave them a clean as best I could using  one of the 5 mtr window cleaning sets ( eBay rubbish )  lashed to another one & could still barely manage to reach the top of the panels on the bungalow roof from the ground ( 9 mtrs approx ) .

One damp & drizzly day  I dipped the cleaning head toweling in neat car screen wash and after some hard work the algae started to disappear . At the end of it all I gave the panels a hosepipe rinsing off and that was it . Three months later it's back with a vengeance .

 We got a shock when the last FIT payment arrived for the period  beginning of Nov to end of Jan £ 40 ... Waaah . it's the lowest we've had  :'(

 What are you  guys and gals using to keep your panels clean ?
Title: Re: Algae on my panels
Post by: pgkevet on February 12, 2018, 03:50:10 pm
I have no idea how well it actually works but the old fasioned trick for keeping moss off roofs was a copper strip along the ridge for copper salts when it rains.
Title: Re: Algae on my panels
Post by: arobwk on February 13, 2018, 04:18:19 pm
I have no personal experience of solar panel maintenance, but is there something peculiar about your situation/installation cloddopper I wonder?:  I frequently drive by acres upon acres of solar fields ( :( ) and have yet to notice a single maintenance gang out cleaning!
Have you asked the installers/manufacturers about the problem and solutions? 
As a throw-away thought - what about washing-off with a hydrophobic car polish product to add a film over the panels' glass?  (Such car products must surely be 'gentle' on all sorts of materials - silicon or rubber seals etc.  Whether such products really work to help keep surfaces clean, or whether just hype, is another matter!)
Title: Re: Algae on my panels
Post by: cloddopper on February 23, 2018, 03:29:54 pm
If we don't use the car for two weeks even that starts to grow green . Our caravan was shampooed in early November last year .. it's got a visible film of muck & green .
 The weather has been dismal for several months , today appears to be the only day it's not been fast fine drizzle for a lot of the day with little drying wind ..
 Our panels are on the south west roof aspect as it's the only plane of the roof that gets the best amount of sun .

 Being a mere nine miles from the coast stuck up on a 117 mtr hill from which we can nearly see the sea in the distance with no industry to speak of the Atlantic air we get is  clean most of the time . So mosses & algae grow better than the grass .

 Thanks for the heads up about the coating that can be put on glass . I discovered a similar product that motorists use to keep their internal & external glass work clean . The tiny expensive bottle says renew it every year .

 I'm now searching for it in five litre bottles at sensible prices . If i can find it I'll be using an ammonia based washing medium to strip off all thold crap then spray on the new protector .

 I might have more success locating it in a commercial shop fitting glaziers unit than looking on Googles retail related searches .
Title: Re: Algae on my panels
Post by: arobwk on March 14, 2018, 06:35:21 pm
cloddopper, I'm not an avid car cleaner (the primary jet wash - sometimes the only jet-wash for 12 months - is after the winter roads have been gritted!) and, so, there are places on my car that eventually develop a green coating between washes, but NOT on the glass. So I'm still wondering why your panels are greening up in the clean environment you describe.   
I would suggest they be well scrubbed with a good plastic/silicon-friendly "degreaser" (allowing for solar panel weather-proof seals).  And then, perhaps, apply a hydrophobic solution/coating. 
I've been using a 'Finish Line' citrus-oil product called EcoTech for years to degrease and/or remove sticky glue deposits on metal and plastics - works a treat although I don't know whether it is friendly to silicon seals.