How Automatic Solar Panel Cleaning Systems Work


Solar Panel Cleaning Agents
To keep in top shape, solar panels need to be kept clean.
To keep in top shape, solar panels need to be kept clean.
David McNew/Getty Images

Automatic solar panel cleaning systems keep your solar panels clean and your money in your pocket -- remember dirty panels mean less electricity generated.

The Heliotex Automatic Solar Panel Cleaning System is intended for any size photovoltaic system, from small residential to supersized industrial. It's a patent-pending system, fully programmable to wash (with soap and water) or rinse (water only) your panels as frequently as you like. It's recommended that you wash your panels every one to two weeks and rinse every two or three days to help minimize the buildup of dirt and other debris.

Heliotex Automatic Solar Panel Cleaning Systems use low-volume spray nozzles, connected to each panel, an existing water supply such as an outdoor water faucet and a programmable controller (which runs on a 110 volt power supply). The systems use a specially-formulated, biodegradable soap concentrate that is mixed into the water line during wash cycles. A second rinse follows the wash cycle.

Industrial cleaning systems, for 100 kilowatt installations or larger, work similarly to residential systems. The OCS Energy Automatic Solar Panel Cleaning system, called SolarWash, also requires nozzles be attached directly to the array of each solar panel. These nozzles, run by a microprocessor, spray and wash the panels. The system has a programmable logic controller and a Web-based software interface -- a PV system operator can schedule or initiate a panel washing with the touch of a button.

While professional installation is required for the automatic cleaning system, it requires little attention from homeowners and operators once it's in place, other than an occasional soap concentrate refill and water filter replacement.

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