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Post Info TOPIC: Bushfires - Soot and Dirt - Solar Panels


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Bushfires - Soot and Dirt - Solar Panels


Like many people, we have been subjected to several bouts of heavy smoke, leaving the whole countryside coated with layers of soot and dirt. I have no idea as to where the stuff at our place came from, but some farmer somewhere has lost a few of his paddocks for sure. Knowing full well that more events were to come, I still went out with a water blaster and cleaned our driveway and footpaths to minimise the crud coming into the house. Sure enough, next day there was another event, although nowhere near as bad as the first. I used a blower this time to clear the paths and driveway. Then a few days later, the worst lot came through and we were left with I reckon about 10 to 12 mm of dust, soot and dirt over everything. Then it rained - all 3.2 mm of it.... And that rain was over about 3 hours, so it was not enough to properly flush anything.

 

Another session with the water blaster and things are fairly clean again. By chance, yesterday I looked at the Inverter for one of our solar panel arrays (we have two - one about a year old and one about 8 years old).  The newer array was putting out 105 watts from a nominal 4.2 kW of panels in a moderate overcast sky.  The older panels were putting out about 1100 watts from a nominal 3.1 kW of panels. Oops!  what is wrong?

 

I looked at the panels- they are mounted nearly horizontally on my nearly flat garage roof, compared to the original set which are mounted on the angle of the main house roof. There was about 6 to 8 mm of mud/soot on the panels. Because they were nearly horizontal, the rain that we got just softened the mud which then set again, instead of washing the crud off the panels. So out with the water blaster again and wash all the newer panels. Result - the new panel output went up from 105 watts to 2210 watts. I looked at the older panels with a view to washing them down as well, but decided to leave them because there was very little gunk on them (they have about a 15 degree slope and I am not agile enough to safely do that job).  Moral of the story, if you have solar panels, check them (when this current fire crisis is over) and maybe give them a clean. You may be surprised at the result. We are on town water, but anyone with tank water would be well aware of how bad things can get after these fires.

 

Now, I am waiting for the next event to come through. At least we still have our house etc, which is a lot more than nearly 2000 other households in NSW alone.



-- Edited by erad on Thursday 9th of January 2020 05:08:59 PM



-- Edited by erad on Thursday 9th of January 2020 05:10:42 PM

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Do the hose on window glass cleaners work on solar panels with no adverse effects

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Dogbox:
I think that using a detergent would have helped me to clean the panels, but the main issue was the caked on mud. It needed force to shift the crud from the glass. Detergent would have softened it a bit and that would help. Another issue was that there was still a slight scum on the surface of the glass, Maybe scrubbing would help remove that but for now I am leaving it alone - today is forecast for another horror day and who knows what (if anything) will be there tomorrow?

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