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Solar panel cleaning made easier: Ritec ClearShield

One of the much-touted advantages of solar panels as an energy generation technology is their low maintenance requirements. Once installed, a solar panel array will continue to produce power for 25+ years, with inverters requiring replacement only 2 or maybe 3 times during that period. One of the only regular maintenance activities that is recommended is cleaning, as dirt that settles on panels can block sunlight and compromise power output–especially in dry areas where dust is an issue. Ritec ClearShield is a product that promises to make panel cleaning easier, as well as protect the glass in the panels from staining and chemical degradation over time.

The importance of clean glass in solar panels

Solar panel cleaning exampleGlass is one of the most important components of a solar panel. Part of the ‘supporting cast’ of parts, glass serves the vital role of protecting the silicon wafers, which actually generate the electricity that comes from the panels, whilst simultaneously allowing sunlight to pass through and reach the cells in as unaltered a form as possible. But glass is not impervious to routine wear, and contaminants can embed themselves in the microscopic peaks and troughs that glass naturally has on its surface. Staining can occur due to air & water-borne pollutants, not to mention harsher substances such as bird droppings. On top of this, there is the matter of routine cleaning in order to remove dust and debris that inevitably accumulate on them.

How the ClearShield System can help

ClearShield has been used in protecting glass for over 2 decades, including in challenging marine environments. Different from a coating, it is a transparent, polymeric resin that bonds with the surface of glass to render it chemically inert. This yields a number of benefits, including a significantly lowered need to clean the panels (about half as frequently as without), greater ease in removing dirt, and resistance to staining and discolouration.

More about the ClearShield System in Australia

The ClearShield System, a product of Ritec, can be applied during panel manufacturing, in a devoted facility after they have been imported (in the case of most panels used in Australia), or even onsite in the case of large-scale utility or commercial solar installations. Interested installers and manufacturers can learn more by contacting Mark Lennon of Roylston (a licensed applicator of ClearShield) at mark@roylston.com.au, or visit the Roylston website to find out more.

© 2013 Solar Choice Pty Ltd