12 Feb Solar Panels – Cleanliness is Next to Effectiveness?
Are you the owner of a high-efficiency solar system? If the answer is yes, when was the last time your solar panels had a good cleaning? Studies show that the lack of maintaining your solar panels could result in lower energy production. We sat down with Brad Ettinger, Owner of Clearview Services, a local solar panel cleaning service provider, to get the facts and help you determine if it’s time to give your solar system a bath!
About Clearview Services
Family owned and operated Clearview Services has been serving the San Antonio and Texas Hill Country area for 33 years. Although the company has been in operations since the 1980’s, the solar panel cleaning portion of the business began in early 2016.
“Over the past few years, as the cost for solar has become more affordable, we noticed a demand for solar panel cleaning. After taking some time to research the market and perfect our process, we were ready and equipped to roll out our new service,” says Brad Ettinger, Owner of Clearview Services.
When to Call a Service Provider
If you’ve noticed a decline in your solar systems energy production it may be time to contact a local solar panel cleaning service provider.
“More often than not, the signs that indicate it’s time to have your solar panels cleaned are easily identified. Depending on what region you live in, you may be able to see a film of dirt or pollen build up on your solar panels,” said Ettinger.
Any obstruction of direct sun light hitting your solar system can affect its overall energy production. Aside from dirt or pollen, some of the most common culprits are fallen leaves and bird droppings. Rest assured that any of these issues can be easily resolved with the help of an experienced service provider.
The Cleaning Process
Only the purest water is used throughout Clearview Services’ cleaning process. Water filtration systems with special carbon filters and a reverse osmosis purify the water used. The filtration unit also passes water through a de-ionizer which enables the water to act more like a detergent. The de-ionized water molecules attract other molecules and compounds like a magnet. Regular tap water, however, already has molecular ions attached (mineral deposits) and does not attract dirt or debris the same way.
A carbon fiber extender pole, capable of extending three stories, and a brush with specific polymers that do not scratch the panels are also used. The polymers are hard enough to get the job done but soft enough that they will not scratch or opaque the panels. The combination of purified water and an anti-scratch brush leave solar panels streak and debris free.
Clearview Services is proud to say that no harsh chemicals are used during their cleaning process. In addition, a special pump is utilized to help limit and reduce the amount of water that is used. Remaining committed to minimizing environmental impact is of most importance to the Clearview staff.
The entire cleaning process typically takes 1-2 hours to complete for the average residential solar system.
“New anti-soiling technologies are becoming available within the industry. Our product development team is always staying up to speed on these types of technologies with the potential of incorporating into future products,” says James Whittemore, Quality Manager at Mission Solar Energy.
These anti-soiling technologies work as a special coating that is applied to the solar panels glass, minimizing dust adhesion while optimizing dust removal. Because of the newness of these technologies, testing and data are still being drawn to show just how much of a boost will be added to solar modules featuring this technology.
Find the Right Vendor
Sourcing the right vendor to help maintain your solar system is essential. Depending on your system’s size and ease of access to, the average pricing for cleaning services ranges from $5.00 – $7.00 per panel. Ettinger noted that it’s always best to read reviews to ensure the company you select is reputable and provides professional services.