78MW Of Solar Panels To Be Cleaned In Just 6 Weeks

by | Feb 22, 2016 | Milestones, Rooftop, Silverstone Green Energy, SMA, solar farm, Solarcentury

Solar panel cleaning experts Clean Solar Solutions are set to clean an astonishing 314,000 solar panels in just 6 weeks during March & April. This feat will be spread across over 100 sites from Carlisle all the way down to Helston in Cornwall.

Steve Williams, M.D. of Clean Solar Solutions comments “It is credit to our hardworking teams that we are able to take on and manage such a project. Logistically, it is challenging to cover the whole of the UK in such a short period of time, but we have structured the business from day one to cope with such an eventuality.

“I was very confident when I first had the idea for the business that solar panel cleaning would be a slow-burn,  There was a mentality of solar panels being self-cleaning which needed to be broken down.  I knew that eventually it would gain traction quickly and fly. This is what has happened. It took us just over two years to clean 320,000 solar panels, which we feel is a huge accomplishment all of its own. But to clean virtually this number again in just 6 weeks shows the progress that we have made and that the market has made in recognising the need for solar panel cleaning, even on large scale solar farms.  I said on day one that solar panels are not self-cleaning.  The industry has heard the message.”

The 78MW that Clean Solar Solutions will be cleaning comprises of over 100 rooftop buildings between 50KW-250KW for Solarcentury, two solar farms totalling 34MW near Wellingborough for SMA and a 37MW solar farm near Bournemouth for Silverstone Green Energy.

When the UK solar industry was in its infancy, the idea of self-cleaning solar panels was widely mooted and is now seen by many as being a mis-conception. It is no secret that O&M is becoming a focal point for solar installers across the UK. Inverter testing, string testing, storage and optimisation are all widely discussed subjects, but solar panel cleaning has been a little talked about subject until recently.

During this time, Clean Solar Solutions have exhibited at various energy and farming shows, including the Grand Designs show at the NEC and more recently made their presence felt at the Solar Asset Management Conference in Milan, Italy, where they partnered with O&M provider Cobalt Energy. Over time, they have dispelled the self-cleaning myth and ensured that solar panel cleaning has become a mainstay in the industry and will be a staple for any O&M provider worthy of their salt.

They have accumulated experience of manual solar panel cleaning in the UK, which has very different needs to the Middle East or Southern European markets. The detritus that solar panels gather in the UK is very different to the dust of the deserts in far off climes. The exotic dust-removing gadgetry used in the desert just will not cut it in the UK climate.

Some other UK companies have invested small fortunes in automated solar panel cleaning machines, only to find that they cannot source enough water on a solar farm to make using them a viable option. It has even been found that the machine or their chosen cleaning fluid has not been tested rigorously and does not meet the strict demands of a solar panel manufacturer’s warranty. However, plans are afoot for Clean Solar Solutions to enter into the world of automated cleaning very soon with a machine that they feel suits the accumulations of detritus found in the UK climate, whilst also and importantly, remaining cost-effective for their clients.

Clean Solar Solutions have hit a number of UK-firsts including the cleaning of what were the UK’s biggest roof and ground mount systems at their times of install, the UK’s first floating solar farm, the UK’s largest solar carport and here they are, ready to clean hundreds of thousands of solar panels in just six weeks.

Where do Clean Solar Solutions see the solar panel cleaning market heading? Williams offers his observations “Solar panel cleaning is here to stay and should be an integral part of any O&M provider’s package. As with installers when installing PV was gained traction, the marketplace will be flooded with solar panel cleaning companies, good, bad and ugly. I envisage though, that there will be a sifting process, as there was with installers. What you will have left will be high quality, experienced, professional solar panel cleaning companies who are in this for the long term. We have every reason to think Clean Solar Solutions Ltd will be part of this developing market.”

Clean Solar Solutions Ltd carry out large scale solar panel cleaning for UK based companies and countries throughout Europe.  If you have a solar farm or portfolio and you offer an O&M package that includes solar panel cleaning, please feel free to contact us to see if we can be of assistance to you.