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Old 09-02-2015, 06:16 PM   #1
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Escapies with the Solar Option...

Our 17B is equipped with the Solar Option. As time passes the panel laying horizontally accumulates dirt. That's a fact. My question is: how do you deal with the accumulating "dirt". Do you clean the panel(s) on a regular basis or just once a year or never. I have to think that a "clean" solar panel generates a lot better than a "dirty" one.

Fred Alexander
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:24 PM   #2
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I haven't had solar on a roof yet Fred, but I would likely just wait until the rain washes it off. Driving in the rain would be better.

I do wonder though, that if a good wax would help shed stuff off easier. Is it acceptable to wax a solar panel?
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbalexander View Post
Our 17B is equipped with the Solar Option. As time passes the panel laying horizontally accumulates dirt. That's a fact. My question is: how do you deal with the accumulating "dirt". Do you clean the panel(s) on a regular basis or just once a year or never. I have to think that a "clean" solar panel generates a lot better than a "dirty" one.

Fred Alexander
Fred,
We don't have our 17 w/ solar yet, but we do have solar on our home. I hose it off and squeegee the dirt off regularly (once a month is typical). You can expect a 10-20% increase in output with a clean panel as opposed to a visibly dirty one. Just think of the difference between looking out of a clean windshield vs. a dirty one.
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:41 PM   #4
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I check mine more often when dry camping, but usually at least once every couple of weeks. I have a "duster" I picked up at the Quartzite tent sale that works unless the grime is bad enough to require washing, in which case I hose it off.

I'd avoid wax since much of it has a UV inhibiter, which would cut down some of the light hitting the panel.
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:42 PM   #5
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I haven't had solar on a roof yet Fred, but I would likely just wait until the rain washes it off. Driving in the rain would be better.

I do wonder though, that if a good wax would help shed stuff off easier. Is it acceptable to wax a solar panel?
Jim,
Since the panels absorb more than just visible solar radiation, waxes may block a small portion of the available solar energy.
Here's recommendation from one of the mfr's documents.

"Given a sufficient tilt (at least 15°), it is generally not necessary to clean the modules (rainfall will have a self-cleaning effect). In case of heavy soiling, we recommend cleaning the modules using plenty of water (from a hose) without any cleaning agents and using a gentle cleaning implement (a sponge). Dirt must never be scraped or rubbed away when
dry, as this may cause micro-scratches."


I have found that after loosening the dirt and rinsing, when I squeegee, some additional dirty water comes off (therefore-more dirt), but then the panels look new. I want every watt I can get.
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:44 PM   #6
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Ah yeah, I never considered the UV blockers in wax. So much for thinking today.
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:52 PM   #7
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My panel is at belly band height. I gave it a good wash off the other day because it was filthy. Unfortunately Jim, rain doesn't do much to clean off accumulated grime on a flat surface, especially since it is also slightly captive and sits there in puddles.

After having solar panels visible on my boat, I agree, once they get dirty output goes down. So it is worth making an effort to clean them.

I think that if I had them on my roof I'd consider putting on an RV type ladder just to making cleaning easy.

Ron
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:55 PM   #8
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Unfortunately Jim, rain doesn't do much to clean off accumulated grime on a flat surface, especially since it is also slightly captive and sits there in puddles.
Boy o' boy, 0 for 2 on this thread now. I think I better go somewhere else to play.
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Old 09-02-2015, 07:25 PM   #9
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That is one major advantage to mounting the panels on the roof. You can't see how dirty they are, thus no need to clean!

I suspect cleaning them would be one of the first steps if the solar wasn't keeping the batteries up. i.e. get a ladder and see how dirty they are, leading immediately to rinsing them off.

Thanks.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:39 PM   #10
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When I wash BlackJack, maybe 3-4 times a year I use a brush with a handle to clean the solar.
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