Solar PV cleaning specialist, Clean Solar Solutions has signed a two-year contract with inverter manufacturer, SMA for the annual cleaning of 110,000 solar panels on a site near Wellingborough.
The contract is for two solar farm sites, a 16.3MW array and a 17.5MW array. The EPC contractor Bejulo assigned SMA O&M for the sites, who selected Clean Solar Solutions to ensure that the modules operate at their optimum level.
Commenting on the contract win, Steve Williams managing director of Clean Solar Solutions said: “It is certainly an exciting time for us. We believe that this will be the largest solar panel cleaning undertaking in the UK to date.
“It has taken us exactly two years to clean 160,000 panels on ground mounted and roof mounted projects all over the UK. We aim to clean this 110,000 panel site in less than 3 weeks! We know it is an ambitious target, but we are very confident that we will deliver. We have made great strides over the last two years which allows us to now tackle projects of size within a short time-frame.”
The solar farms are predicted to generate enough electricity to power 7,7000 homes a year, negating the emission of 18,500 tonnes of carbon per year.
The solar sites in question were commissioned three months ago. Clean Solar Solutions claims that the sites already require cleaning to a negate a dusty installation process, and a winter installation resulting in mud getting on modules and affecting output.
Williams added: “Initial cleans of sites once installed are essential. Panels can be very dirty when the trucks and workers finally leave site. Thankfully, we have seen a shift in the industry’s attitude towards cleaning away from the idea of self-cleaning modules and towards regular cleaning. However, a further change needs to happen in our opinion. People tend to be stuck on the idea of frequency of cleans in time i.e. six monthly or annually. Really, how often you get your solar panels cleans should be a financial decision, rather than a time-based decision.
“As soon as the financial increase in output from cleaning covers the cost of the clean, it makes financial sense to get the solar panels cleaned. For some sites this is annually, in certain instances that we have come across such as sites near waste sites, this can be as frequently as every two months. Either way, regular cleaning is a necessity.”