Optimum have recently been approached to carry out a series of tests to clean Solar Panels at a solar farm. The owners of the solar panel farm have become alarmed with the rapid re growth of a bio film that covers the panel after 'pure water, pole fed' cleaning has taken place. In some instances, usually sunier days, the re growth can take place in hours making them concerned that pure water cleaning isnt actually removing any bio film at all!
The test is to ascertain if the re growth is as quick if the bio film contaminant is removed completely, using a non abrasive form of cleaning, such as dry ice blasting. A large build up of bio film can diminish electricty output from each solar panel.
So far the results are looking extememly positive. By using a low air pressure, a slow ice flow and a 'snow' splitter disc, Optimum were able to gently remove the bio film without any damage, whilst keeping costs down. In fact the owners told us that the very action and weight of heavy water fed poles and plastic brushes, bashing into the panels, has caused major damage over the years. The constant water stream has also led to change gears and electrical elements becoming damaged. Dry Ice blasting has a big advantage as it is a totally 'dry' process.
Of course CO2 will never be as cheap as water but the saving will be made in the frequency of the cleaning schedule.
Test results are coming in soon. We will keep you posted.
By Ian Reynolds