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Sustainability

Window washers expand to solar panel cleaning

February 01, 2010
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RENO, NV — Executives at the International Window Cleaning Association 2010 Convention and Trade Show said that more and more companies are expanding to include solar panel cleaning services in response to the growing popularity of alternative energy, according to the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

According to the story, several companies — including maker of high-reach poles Mr. LongArm and window cleaning supplier J. Racenstein Co. — demonstrated products and techniques for cleaning solar panels at the convention, and many business owners expressed interest in offering the service to their customers.

Manufacturers of solar panels often require cleaning to keep warranties valid, and power efficiency of the panels can be adversely affected by up to 40 percent when the panels are dirty, the story stated.

Steve Blyth, vice president at J. Racenstein, said: "We have people who get rebates from Southern California Edison for systems on the roof of their manufacturing facility, and all of a sudden the rebate stopped entirely because they didn''t hit the minimum threshold for power output. This was probably a $3,000-a-month rebate, so cleaning is a nominal cost when you lose that kind of rebate."

Blyth said that there are different methods for cleaning solar panels, including cleaning them manually with a pole and squeegee, using a water-fed pole to scrub the glass and spraying on a chemical that degrades the dirt and is then hosed off, the story added.

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