Solar Panel installations have grown a lot over the years, the technology hopes to become common place in communities, as a result of the growing popularity of this renewable energy source other business opportunities have become available, if not essential to work hand-in-hand with the solar industry.
One such business is the O&M services in regards to maintenance services of solar panels, including cleaning. It may seem like an obvious business arrangement, outdoor equipment subject to varying weather conditions all year round are likely to need some maintenance over time, but for years it was claimed by solar panel developers that the solar panels did not need maintaining or cleaning, as their biggest selling point was a system free of maintenance, even as recently as a couple of years ago, this was still the tagline for most solar developers.
Nowadays it is widely considered a fact that some maintenance is required over the lifetime of an installed solar pv system, as a result funding for a solar project cannot be sourced without a budget set aside for janitorial O&M and a long term plan.
Several companies have emerged to provide the required solar panel cleaning but the business is not as smooth running as you might expect, hiring an independent cleaner sounds simple enough, but when it comes to what solutions are allowed to be used on each brand of solar panel so as not to breach the warranty for the customer, apparently there are many restrictions and very few approved solutions.
The conflict comes when the solar panels are developed and manufactured to withstand the weather, resistance to soiling and ‘self-cleaning’ by coating the solar modules with a specially designed substance, applying another substance in an effort to clean the panel could have negative consequences on the performance on the panel, and until more testing has been done to find out what will work as a viable cleaning solution the risk is pretty high.