Module cleaning is just the beginning

Optimizing the performance of solar panels often comes down to ensuring their cleanliness. Levels and types of soiling, local weather conditions and the surroundings of your plant can lead to soiling problems and subsequent energy losses. Over the past year, ChemiTek has worked with O&M companies and PV asset managers to develop a range of products that will solve specific soiling challenges the solar industry is facing – and recent testing has yielded impressive results.

Over the past six months, Portugal- based ChemiTek has tested a number of antistatic and hydrophobic coatings designed for solar modules. The coatings were tested at the “Green Energy Park” in Rabat, Morocco, and the results point to a bright future in their adoption.

However, the results also demonstrate that the coatings are most effective when tailored to environmental and climactic conditions. To meet this need, ChemiTek studies the different conditions of each solar park, down to the amount and type of dirt, the location of the panels and the weather, along with the cleaning method, all to ensure the solution meets the specific project’s needs.

Soiling losses 

Studies show that dirty panels can result in energy losses of up to 50%. ChemiTek has developed a range of agents to remove contaminants and harsh soiling, such as lichen, cement dust, gypsum, hard water, bird droppings, pollen, beeswax, and others.

For example, if a solar plant is affected by cement dust, stone dust, gypsum, and other alkaline contaminants, ChemiTek’s Cement Removal Agent (CRA) will react chemically with these contaminants, removing them in a highly effective way. 

Another problem that affects the production of energy from PV modules, and that can even damage the system, is the appearance of lichens, mosses, and other fungi on their surface, especially in very humid environments and in sites with large amounts of organic matter – near forests, agricultural plantations and so on. For this, ChemiTek has developed its Lichen Removal Agent (LRA). 

For the removal of organic dirt, such as pollen and bees’ wax, bird droppings, sand, dust, and resin, it is recommended to use the cleaning and protection solution Solar Wash Protect (SWP). SWP is not only highly effective in removing accumulated dirt, it also results in an antistatic coating that repels dust and prevents the adhesion of soiling. 

It is important to use the correct type of water in module cleaning, in order not to leave water stains on the module. Hard water – containing high levels of minerals and metal ions – can result in stains and deposits, which will block light transmission and can even lead to the creation of hotspots on the module. To solve this, ChemiTek has developed the Water Softening Agent (WSA), a biodegradable agent that captures minerals and metal ions, making the water completely safe to use for PV cleaning.

After cleaning care 

ChemiTek has several coatings that can be applied during or after cleaning and tested by TÜV Sud. Including antistatic coatings for dry and moderate climates and hydrophobic coatings for rainy environments.

SWP and Antistatic Solar Armor (ASA) are antistatic coatings. SWP and Antistatic Solar Armor (ASA) are antistatic coatings. SWP is a cleaning and protection product designed for manual cleaning and/or plants with heavy soiling. ASA, meanwhile, is an antistatic coating applied by professionals on solar plants in dryer climates, preferably used with semiautomatic equipment (for example, brush on a tractor and/or robot).

For locations with very humid and rainy weather, it is recommended the use of hydrophobic coatings, such as the D-Solar Defendor (DSD), which is for professional use and to be applied at high dilutions with brush on tractors or robots; and the Industrial Glass Protect (IGP) an easy to apply, long-lasting (+5 years) coating that provides high hydrophobicity and is very resistant to adverse environmental conditions such as acid rain, high salinity, and extreme temperatures. The application of IGP can also lead to a reduction in the amount of cleaning required. 

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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