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Old 09-19-2009, 03:33 PM   #1
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Solar panel maintenance

I'm probably heading to Fresno early next month to have my two Marine solar panels replaced with one Kyocera solar panel, and that got me thinking about ways to maintain the panel, which in turn got me thinking about the two solar powered attic fans I have in my house (no AC). I went to the roof to clean the panels and they were filthy. I'm hoping for a little more fan speed now.

Has anyone tried RainX on their solar panels to help keep them clean? The SMB panels are level to the ground, so it may not help much, but I'm hoping for some firsthand experience.


Herb
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Old 09-19-2009, 03:46 PM   #2
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Re: Solar panel maintenance

Herb,

I clean our solar once a week with Rain X, we have one Kiyocera panel as well. Since its flat, water seem to settle.

Ray
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Old 09-19-2009, 06:55 PM   #3
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Re: Solar panel maintenance

Herb there is a place in Fresno called travelers auto body that has a product to put on windows that they claim only has to be applied once a year. I now nothing about it or what it's called only it is similar to rainX. I just wonder if it would affect the output. I just bought 2 Kyocera's from Arizona sun wind and solar for slightly over 800 bucks delivered that should be in next week. I'll probably call and ask about coating them. There is no way I can clean them every week, maybe every couple of months
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:34 AM   #4
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Re: Solar panel maintenance

I have been reading John Speed's book "Travel Vans" and he really has a lot of 'out of the box' ideas. The vehicle he converted was a panel truck (21 feet long, but with the square walls probably gives more roof area than an SMB) and he:

1. did not install a ladder to the roof. Why give a theft easy access to you equipment?

2. He installed boat hatch in the roof (two really). Good construction, rugged, meant to keep water out. Makes it easy to clean his solar panels. Just stands on his bed and from the waist up he is on the roof and can EASILY and frequently clean his panels as needed for max. efficiency.

Side question. If the solar panels are "to flat" and collect water and dirt, why not install them with 2"-3" inches of side slope?
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:13 AM   #5
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Re: Solar panel maintenance

To my understanding, a flat solar panel will be able to collect more rays, more efficiently through out the day as the Sun moves along its path. Also, maybe the flat panel has less drag when the vehicle is on the road.
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:41 PM   #6
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Re: Solar panel maintenance

Not to mention, which way do you tilt it? Then, do you have to park a certain direction to ensure the sun hits the panel correctly?

I'll leave my panel flat. But, I have on my todo list to cut some of the aluminum trim around the panel to allow drainage. About 1" in each corner.

And I will Rain-X the panel to promote drainage. Hopefully that will stop the low spot from getting dirty from water collecting and evaporating.

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Old 09-28-2009, 01:32 PM   #7
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Re: Solar panel maintenance

Come on guys, I am talking 2-3 inches of slope not 45 degrees. Remember you don't live at the equator and the sun is never directly overhead. Your solar panel are NEVER square to the sun. It would be a trade off how much power do you loss from dirty panels vs being an additional 5-10 degrees out of square with the sun 50% of the time and being squarer to the sun the other 50% of the time with somewhat cleaner panels.

And if you did it side to side NOT FORE-AFT there should not be any increase in driving wind drag.

Just a thought
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Old 09-28-2009, 02:53 PM   #8
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Re: Solar panel maintenance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
I'll leave my panel flat. But, I have on my todo list to cut some of the aluminum trim around the panel to allow drainage. About 1" in each corner.
I'm pretty sure the aluminum frame also seals the glass of the panel - I was told I shouldn't even drill into the frame. Cutting out a corner might allow moisture into the panel?

Cheers,
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Old 09-29-2009, 09:40 PM   #9
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Re: Solar panel maintenance

Quote:
Originally Posted by LenS
Come on guys, I am talking 2-3 inches of slope not 45 degrees.
It just hit me, my driveway is sloped problem solved....I think
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:38 AM   #10
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Re: Solar panel maintenance

My driveway is sloped also. That simply makes the water accumulate in one corner. Then it evaporates and clouds up that corner.

Funny thing about solar panels - the output seems to be determined by the weakest crystal. One shaded part of the panel drags down the whole panel. So, I need to keep that corner clean.

I talked Kyocera rep and I will try to open that one corner to allow water to flow out. New panels are built that way.

Mike
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