Clean Solar Solutions Managing Director, Steve Williams, has been invited to sit on the Solar Trade Association (STA) Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Working Group to provide insight and advice about solar panel cleaning and other O&M services that Clean Solar Solutions offer.
The STA is the leading voice for the UK solar industry and has a proven track record of winning breakthroughs for solar PV in this country.
The STA O&M group is chaired by Mark Turner, Operations Director at Lightsource and is made up of select individuals, each experts in their chosen field of O&M. The scope for the O&M working group will be restricted to solar PV, but will incorporate both ground and roof mounted arrays in the utility scale, commercial and agricultural sectors.
The STA O&M Working Group has the following aims:
- Educate the wider solar industry and end users of solar arrays as to the importance of O&M
- Establish consistent, industry-wide standards and best practice guidelines
- Emphasise the need for the continual development of a high standard of health and safety
- Assess O&M service providers and the standard of the services they offer
- Where applicable, provide advice on training standards for O&M providers
Themes that the O&M Working Group will develop are:
- Health & safety
- Plant performance and optimisation
- Solar panel cleaning and ground maintenance
- Data management
- Monitoring and communication
- Biodiversity and bird control
Solar panel cleaning is taking on a more prominent role in the O&M field as time passes and systems get dusty and soiled from bird droppings and other forms of detritus. With an increased demand for a service come the inevitable rush of companies who feel they can provide a solution. This was previously seen with solar installation as electricians rushed to ply their skills fitting solar panels. This unfortunately led to a number of unsafe systems being fitted on roofs across the country. The same seems to be happening in the field of solar panel cleaning.
Williams voices his concern “Solar panel cleaning is still a relatively new industry here in the UK and it seems that presently, it’s one that every window cleaner in the land feels they are able to just waltz into. There is a prevalent attitude among the window cleaning community of “It’s just glass cleaning, so why not?” This has come to the attention to bodies within the solar industry, as window cleaners are often doing this with an very limited knowledge of solar power and scant regard for the health and safety implications of working with live electricity.
“I hope to share with the STA O&M Working Group the experiences and lessons that Clean Solar Solutions have learned over the last 5 years or so of researching safety methods and cleaning solar panels. O&M providers and solar array owners need to realise that solar panel cleaning is not window cleaning and should not be treated as such. As the STA O&M group share information, grow and develop, it is my hope that solar panel cleaning is one of the fields that will benefit greatly from the Working Group’s core aims. I is important to raise the awareness of O&M companies and system owners as to the best health & safety practices that should be in place by their chosen solar panel cleaning company.
“We too will learn about the wider O&M industry standards from our STA colleagues and in turn, incorporate some of these standards into our business. This will help us provide our clients with the very best service available, working to the highest health and safety standards. These are exciting times for the solar O&M industry and I’m sure the STA Working Groups will play a large part in driving the industry forward in the long term.”
Though we offer other O&M services, Clean Solar Solutions are the UK’s leading solar panel cleaning company, and are on target to clean around 200MW during 2016. This figure comprises the cleaning of large scale ground mounted solar farms, commercial rooftop arrays, floating solar arrays and solar carports.
If you have any questions regarding solar panel cleaning or any of the other services that Clean Solar Solutions provide, please feel free to contact us.