Everything listed under: Thermal Imaging

  • Solar Panel Cleaning & Thermal Imaging Completed Burton On Trent

    Clean Solar Solutions have completed the solar panel cleaning and thermal imaging of a 250KW roof mounted solar array in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire.  The panels are mounted on top of a 17m high warehouse and so a large cherry picker was need in order for us to access the roof.

    We had a team of 3 solar panel cleaners and a solar engineer on site who worked together in order to provide a thorough and professional service for our client.  

    Solar Panel Cleaning Burton On Trent

    The array is spread out across an elongated 'W' roof and has a waste site to the west side of the building.  This results in dust build up and also attracts the unwanted attention of the seagull population.  

    Seagull Droppings On Solar Panels Burton On Trent

    The seagulls rest on the solar panels and deposit faeces on the panels.  This causes hotspotting and decreases the output from the array.

    Bird Droppings On Solar Panels Burton On Trent Thermal Image Of Bird Droppings On Solar Panels Burton On Trent

    Our thermal imaging camera can show where the overheating is occurring on your solar panels and while we are on site, we can clean the solar panels, remove the bird droppings and increase the output of the array.  By having one company do both services on the same day, this can save you costly roof access costs, such as cherry picker hire.

    We also completed a full visual inspection of the system from panel to inverter and identified a number of issues, such as missing safety signage, MC4 connectors lying in water and a piece of electrical trunking that had come adrift and that was being blown closer to the roof edge.  The building owner was blissfully unaware of these issues until full reporting was provided and the remedial action will be completed very soon.

    We offer a nationwide thermal imaging, reporting and solar panel cleaning service.  If you would like further information and a free quotation, please feel free to contact us.

  • Solar Panel Thermal Imaging Completed On Hereford Solar Farm

    Thermal imaging is fast becoming an excellent tool for checking the unseen, inner workings of solar panels that are not performing.  This was the case on a Hereford solar farm that is managed by Hereford based, Caplor Energy.  Clean Solar Solutions were called in to use our thermal imaging camera out what potential problems were causing the underperformance.

    Solar Panel Thermal Imaging Surveying

    Caplor Energy were quick to notice the underperformance from a string of the solar farm and sent an engineer to meet us on site.  We were fortunate to have a cold, but sunny day to work with in late October, so that we had sufficient light levels for the thermal imaging of the solar panels and we could get accurate results.  

    We firstly checked the combiner boxes for overheating components, but everything checked out ok.  

    Solar Panel Combiner Box   Thermal Image Of Solar Panel Combiner Box

    We did discover some solar panels that had cells that had failed, showing signs of Potential Induced Degradation (PID).  PID is an undesirable property of some solar modules.  It has been described as a 'cancer' of solar modules.  PID can have a dramatic negative effect on the performance of PV modules.  Crystalline silicon solar cells affected by PID become slightly warmer than unaffected cells, as shown in the thermal images below.

    Solar Panel With Unseen PID  Thermal Image Of Solar Panel With PID

    Due to the images that we were able to obtain, Caplor Energy will now be in a good position to either swap the modules, fit a PID PV Offset Box or employ the specialist services of a PV maintenance company such as Suncycle to reverse the PID. 

    The solar array thermal imaging service that Clean Solar Solutions provide can identify PID and other unseen problems that occur with solar arrays.  We are happy to provide you with more information and prices upon request.  Please feel free to contact us

  • The Effects Of Bird Droppings Solar Panels - The Harsh Reality

    What Is The Effect Of Bird Droppings On Solar Panels?

    The true impact of bird droppings on solar panels, whilst not the most romantic subject, needs to be discussed. Are bird droppings really that much of a problem for solar panels? The solar industry in the UK has been maturing for over 5 years now and some harsh lessons been learned. The early days were consumed with feed-in tariffs and installing bigger, better and more challenging solar arrays. Watching all of this from above, have been the birds and they have been loving it, as you can see!

    Bird Droppings On Commercial Rooftop Solar Panels

    The fact is that solar panels have become a modern haven for small families of pigeons living under residential arrays. But roofs and water are attractive to huge colonies of seagulls and migratory birds who find warmth, shelter and ideal nesting areas. Nesting areas mean massive bird dropping problems where solar panels are present. It is not an issue that we can not goosestep around.

    Bird droppings on solar panels are an all too often an underestimated and overlooked problem. That is, until it’s too late. As Clean Solar Solutions have been swanning around on our solar panel cleaning trips, we have been shocked by what we have seen as bird droppings blight solar panels, in some cases to the point of rendering a whole solar array virtually useless. As well as this, removing hard, baked-on bird droppings effectively has become an extreme task, providing a steep learning curve even for solar panel cleaning specialists.

    Below are some examples of what CSS have encountered on our travels in across the UK in regard to bird droppings on solar panels and how this has affected the solar panels for the short and long term.

    Bird Droppings On Ground Mounted Solar Panels

    Ground mounted solar panels make up the bulk of the solar panels in the UK.  Thankfully though, unless ground mounted solar farms are located close to the coast, they do not suffer as badly from bird droppings as do roof mounted or floating solar panels.  Like any outdoor surface though, solar panel are prone to bird droppings like the picture shown below. 

    Bird Dropping on Ground Mounted Solar Panel

    As well as birds dropping during flight as shown in the above picture, it is very common on solar farms for the birds also perch on the top frame of the panels and drop. This has similar results as shown in this picture.  Some solar farms are plagued with this particular issue.

    Example Of Bird Droppings On Top Of Solar Panel

    If the bird droppings are frequently seen on the top edge of the solar panels, it may be that a professional team of solar panel cleaners needs to go in and spot-clean the solar panels periodically, removing the bird droppings. As seen on the above picture though, there is a green algae running along the bottom edge of the panel. If this is the case across the whole site, a full clean is recommended.

    VIDEO:  See Our Bird Deterrents In Action

    Bird Droppings On Roof Mounted Solar Panels

    Roof mounted solar arrays have become havens for bird populations. Where birds may have previously just rested on a roof, the newly installed solar panels now provide shelter from the wind and rain. As a result, there are now many residential solar arrays that have birds nesting under them. Information from clients of Clean Solar Solutions shows that these birds are causing damage to the wiring under the solar panels and causing system failures.  An example of the mess birds can create under solar panels is shown below.

    Bird Droppings Under Residential Solar Panels

    There are some very frustrating problems for homeowners with birds nesting under their solar panels. Of a particular nuisance is the noise that the birds create early in the morning. Residents regularly report to us their being disturbed at 4:30am, but along with this is the inevitable mess that the birds create on the roof, which then rolls down into the house gutters and creates blockages.

    However, solar panels mounted on commercial rooftops appear to be the suffering the most problems as a result of bird droppings. We are coming across more and more arrays that have bird populations nearby.  The droppings create hotspots and subsequent failures of cells within panels.

    Bird Droppings On Solar Panels Cause Hotspots  Thermal Image Of Bird Droppings On Solar Panels Hotpspot

    We do not need to guess that there are a number of problems that will arise from these kind of levels of bird droppings on the solar panels. Loss of output will be considerable and hotspotting will also be present. We also feel quite sure that no investor or asset owner would like their array to look like this from an aesthetic point of view.

    Bird Droppings on Floating Solar Panels

    Floating solar arrays are a more recent installation type in the UK and again, these are not immune from solar panels being soiled from bird droppings. Floating solar arrays are often being sited on reservoirs because they are sheer water and are therefore, obvious havens for colonies of migratory and resident birds.

    Birds Flying Over Floating Solar Panels

    Nesting birds prefer sheltered areas and minimal disturbance from humans. Solar panels and the floats between rows of panels provide just such a place. Birds can rest and nest without disturbance. The result is heavy soiling from bird droppings, virtually from day one. It seems that more so than anywhere else, floating solar panels attract birds and their droppings.

    Bird Droppings On Floating Solar Panels

    ‘Stone the crows!’ you may think. But despite the frustration of system owners, this is not an option, a more humane approach to this situation is needed. Due to their unique location, floating solar panels present different challenges for cleaning and the tricky process can be time-consuming.

    When I started cleaning solar panels in 2011, I had over 15 years of external cleaning experience and I knew the problems that arose from bird droppings on outdoor surfaces particularly. As we found from car paintwork particularly, bird droppings etch into a surface and when the bird dropping is removed, the surface is left etched with the outline of the bird dropping. This has proved true in the case of solar panels also, as the above photo shows.

    There is another long term effect of all of these bird droppings, as can be seen below.

    Etching From Bird Droppings On Solar Panels

    Etching On Solar Panels

    On first impressions, it appears that this panel has not been cleaned properly. However, this panel has been cleaned repeatedly and the etching is still present. What negative effect that this will have on the panel, only time will tell. Etching can be greatly reduced, however, if not eliminated, if the bird droppings are removed from the surface within a short period of time.

    On some sites, we and the asset owners know there are bird issues at certain times of year. We are therefore scheduled ahead of time and called in swiftly before the droppings have time to get baked on in the sun and etch the glass on the solar panel. Depending on the geographical location of the solar panels, we can have cleaners on site within 24 hours of the problem being reported to us. Sites do vary in the frequency of cleans needed, but acting quickly gets the best results. Once etching takes place on a solar panel, it is very difficult to rectify.

    Bird Droppings & Solar Panels - Conclusion

    In the early days of solar, when I used to speak of solar panel cleaning at trade shows and the like, folks thought I was cuckoo. People would turn around and say that there would never be a market for solar panel cleaning, due to them being ‘self-cleaning’. From experience, I knew that this would not be true. Hence, the reason that Clean Solar Solutions was set up.

    From our early days of solar panel cleaning, we very quickly identified that there would be a need for effective bird deterrents and both services would need to be built in to both build costs and the ensuing O&M budget. If you did even a little stint with our company, you would see this to be true. In many cases, the obsession with the short term view of purely installing has led to the problems that system owners are now experiencing. The issues that now exist for homeowners, commercial rooftop owners and asset owners need to be overcome. This is resulting in great frustration and unexpected increases for O&M budgets, costs that may be hard to swallow.

    We know that shading is the great enemy of solar panels. Shading equals increase in heat and stress upon components and a drop in output. The message then is clear, bird dropping issues need to be discussed and anticipated in the planning phase of projects. With the burgeoning commercial rooftop market here in the UK, now is time to discuss these issues in planning phase and build into O&M budgets funds for bird deterrents and for removing the bird droppings by way of regular cleaning.

    The solar panels being installed in an area are new, but the birds have been around for a long, long time. Changing bird behaviour when they are settled in an area is not an easy task, but deterring them from visiting a site and cleaning up after them can be with the correct planning.

    Burying our head in the sand like an ostrich, hoping the birds will go away or that the panels will clean themselves is not the answer. The birds will want to nest in habitats that we are creating under and around solar panels. We can’t duck the issue. Our plan to tackle the problems that birds to solar panels needs to be swift and precise.

    Clean Solar Solutions provide help and advice and solutions on both existing and new solar projects where birds present problems.  If you have any questions about issues with your solar panels from bird droppings, please feel free to contact us.

  • Clean Solar Solutions Drone Surveys Take Off With Cleandrone

    Clean Solar Solutions are glad to have formed a drone surveying partnership with Swansea based Cleandrone.  Drone surveying is quickly becoming the preferred method of immediate faultfinding on utility scale solar farms.

    Drone surveying is a value for money method of faultfinding that can quickly and efficiently survey large amounts of solar panels, whilst at the same time, providing real time data, reporting and images which provides an accurate picture of how a solar farm is performing.  

    Solar Panel Thermal Surveys Using Drones

    Steve Williams, Managing Director of Clean Solar Solutions comments "As the demands of asset owners increase, so do the services that O&M providers need to give.  We are glad to have partnered with Cleandrone so that we can expand our O&M offering.  We have previously offered a thermal imaging service on rooftop arrays simultaneously as we clean the solar panels.  Now, we can survey solar farms to see if they need cleaning and after we have cleaned the solar panels, we can again use the drone to prove the benefit that the cleaning has brought.  To partner with a company like Cleandrone is an excellent addition to our O&M package."

    SEE ALSO:  O&M Partnership Formed With Beco Energy

    John White, CEO of Cleandrone comments "We are delighted to be partnering with an established successful company, who provide first class O&M services. This partnership allows our two companies to provide an integrated offering to solar asset managers.  The combination of Clean Solar Solutions’ cleaning capabilities and Cleandrone’s fault finding thermal solution provides an efficient approach to maintaining the expected yield over the lifetime of our customers’ assets.  We look forward to a long and successful partnership as we cement our positions at the forefront of O&M services."

    A video of the drone in action and the benefits of drone thermography are discussed in more detail on our solar thermography page.  If you would like a quotation for a thermal survey using either the drone or our handheld thermal cameras, please contact us