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OCS Energy automates solar panel cleaning

We recently talked about why its important for anyone who owns a solar photovoltaic system to keep the panels clean, we even recommended a product called PowerBoost Solar Panel Cleaner, which is great for solar panels on a home or small business. But how about the large commercial or industrial fields in which hundreds or thousands of solar panels are installed. Until today, large scale solar array owners were helpless, OCS Energy has created an interesting product called the SolarWash, which is the first commercial automated photovoltaic (PV) cleaning system. The first of its kind product increases energy output and shortens the return on investment of investments in large solar power systems according to the company.

The SolarWash unit attaches directly to the solar panel and is controlled by a microprocessor giving the solar power system operator the ability to automatically clean the entire solar array with a push of a button! The complete solar panel cleaning system includes maintenance free water nozzles, web based software interface, and a programmable logic controller.

This type of automation not only helps solar become a more attractive for large scale system deployments, but shows how much room for innovation there is in the industry. As more companies start developing add-on products to improve the efficiency will help push solar power mainstream. Now I wonder how long it will take until a company develops a similar system for residential and small commercial solar power installations. Isn’t this such a simple, innovative yet effective product? please discuss!

Author: Deep Patel

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8 Comments

  1. We have seen this product demo. The spray does not cover the top corners of the panel. I hope they are beyond that problem. We also discussed the equipment need and saw maintanence in cold climate to be an issue. There is new technology in nano coatings that produce a Teflon effect on panels, almost self cleaning. This system would benefit from such a coating as sap and bird residue are difficult to remove without scrubbing.

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  2. @ Mark, thanks for the comment. Yeah I bet they will figure out how to wash the top corners of the panel as they develop their product. Good point on the cold climates in which water can freeze, won’t really be a problem out here in CA.

    What is the nanocoating technology for solar panels? Can you share a link? I am interested to learn more about it!

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  3. http://WWW.KLEARVIEWSYSTEMS.COM

    TO ACHIEVE MAXIMUM EFFECIENCY YOU MUST PHYSICALLY WASH THE SOLAR PANEL SURFACE. THINK ABOUT IT FOR A SECOND CAN YOU SIMPLE SPRAY YOUR CAR OFF AND PRESTO IT IS CLEAN..NO THAT IS WHY WE’VE INVENTED THE KLEARVIEW SYSTEM. THIS PATENTED SYSTEM IS POWERED BY WATER AND PHYSICALLY SCRUBS AND SQUEEGEES THE SURFACE CLEAN.

    Solar Panel – From the beginning KlearvieW Systems has always been a green company. KlearvieW Systems has targeted solar panels as being a key component of the green future. KlearvieW is the perfect fit for the solar panel industry.

    Solar panel utilization / implementation are not without challenges. As a solar panel collects dust, leaves and bird droppings they become dramatically less efficient.

    The KlearvieW system is adaptable to numerous different applications, with quick and easy change of brushes and squeegee blades to perfectly fit the end-users needs.

    Utilizing the Green self sustaining system shown on page xii. The KlearvieW Systems uses the captured rain water that sheets off of the solar panel surface into a gutter system conveying the captured rain water into a storage tank. Inside of the storage tank is a simple line pump powered directly from the solar panels themselves.

    KlearvieW takes this one step further by recycling; utilizing the initial captured rain water as the power source to drive the mechanism. Once expelled from the unit we capture the water and recycle so it can be used again to drive the mechanism. It is safe to say, you can’t get any greener than that!

    Solar panels will sustain maximum efficiency with the KlearvieW System in place.

    Return on investment will take place within the first year the KlearvieW System is installed and placed into operation on a solar panel array.

    Dust buildup on Solar Panels can cause up to a 15% reduction in sun light conversion. With a typical 2000 kilowatt solar electric generating system the dust and dirt would cost: 15% x 2000 = 300 watt reduction per month. 300 watts x .15 cents utility cost equals a loss of $45 a month ($540.00 per year) due to DUST and DIRT.

    In Summary: The purpose of this system is four fold
    1. To make cleaning of exterior windows, skylights and solar panels convenient for all.
    2. To reduce the labor costs associated with exterior window, skylight and solar panel cleaning.
    3. To dramatically reduce the inherent risk of cleaning exterior windows, skylights and solar panels by hand.
    4. To greatly lessen the impacts manual window skylight and solar panel cleaning has on our environment through the use of self-sustaining “Green” Technologies.

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  4. CA White,

    thanks for the sales pitch. Have you field tested your unit on solar panels? What results have you seen?

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  5. Deep Patel

    Thank you for your questions.

    We’ve field tested on a residential style solar panel located at the oregon coast.

    Gain in efficiencies is totally dependent upon what type of soil build up has accumulated on the solar panel (i.e. dirt, smog, salt spray, bird droppings, leaves, etc.).

    Based on our field tests we estimate a range between 15% to 30%..

    As you are well aware, if a solar panel is cleaned on a regular basis it prolongs the life of the panel while adding efficiency.

    The KlearvieW Systems is a true value engineering, green idea that is completely self-sustaining.

    My partner and I are the creators / owners of a patented green, water powered solar panel, window and skylight cleaning system that will truly increase the effeciency of solar panel output.

    We are looking for a “strategic partner” to take this product to the production stage. We have a fully functioning prototype with a rock solid patent. The opportunity exists for an “exclusive arrangement” for a solar panel company or others to own this idea.

    We began our pursuit of a patent for this system over 6 years ago, it’s amazing to us that the idea of cleaning solar panels for efficiency gain is just now becoming common place.

    Any advise or connections you may be able to send our way would be greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely,

    C.A. White
    KlearvieW Systems
    503.412.9835

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  6. C.A. White,

    yes, I’m well aware of that cleaning solar panels is very important.

    How about hard water issues? What if the water your cleaning your solar panels with contains a lot of calcium or other chemicals that leave a spotty finish? Is there some type of water filtration?

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  7. Since our patented system squeegee’s the surface dry immediately after scrubbing there really is no chance of water spotting; the water is not left to dry on the solar panel surface.

    End result of over 5,000 completed cleaning cycles we’ve never had a water spotting challenge.

    If you have a severe hard water challenge you could implement either filtration or reverse osmosis but again we’ve never found the need.

    Sincerely,

    C.A. White
    KlearvieW Systems
    503.412.9835

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  8. I recently came across your post and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that it caught my interest and you’ve provided informative points. I will visit this blog often.

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