What Kind Of Companies Offer Solar Panelcleaning Services
There are really two kinds of companies thatoffer specialized solar cleaning services: solar panel installation companies,and specialty cleaning companies. In many cases, you will get information oncompanies that perform upkeep when you first get your panels installed.
If youre not sure who to approach, going onlineand searching for solar panel cleaning services in your area is a safe bet.Just make sure theyre licensed and bonded before you hire them!
Do Cracked Solar Cells Work
It depends on the damage.
If the damage is cosmetic and only the tempered glass is cracked or the frame is bent, then yes, it will work just fine.
However, with the lack of protection provided by the glass, rain and debris can get in and damage the panels electronic devices.
On the other hand, if there is damage to the wiring inside the module itself, then the solar panels efficiency can dramatically decrease and in most cases, it wont produce electricity at all, bringing down your whole solar system.
An Introduction To The Refurbishment Industry And Its Customers
As stated at the beginning of this article, the second-hand market has an ever-growing demand for cheaper, second-hand solar panels. Refurbishers like FabTech are a great source for these second-hand solar modules.
These users differ from manufacturers and solar utility managers in several important ways. If youre maintaining a solar utility site, its in your best interest to switch out your solar panels if theyre losing efficiency, especially if space is a factor. Thousands of solar panels losing 20% efficiency adds up to a lot of lost money.
For second-hand users, the efficiency of solar panels is far from the highest priority. Cheap second-hand solar modules allow these users to venture into solar power with DIY home projects like installing them onto RVs or powering an emergency backup battery bank in case of grid power failure.
If a solar panels life is 20-30 years long and you can get one that is just five years old, and it still has 80-85% of efficiency, and you get it for the fraction of the price of new, its a good option. Its very similar to the used car market. There is still a lot of good use left in a used car, just like there is in a used solar panel.
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Quickly Check Your Solar Production
See if you can identify a noticeable drop in production. This can be difficult considering how irregular solar production can be in extreme weather. To make it easier, we recommend checking your production after 3-5 days of clear skies. If your production seems consistent compared to the time before you suspected the damage, then your panels are probably okay, but keep reading on just in case.
Remember that damage is not the same as a lack of production. If you log in online and cant see your solar production results, it could simply be that your internet went offline or your solar inverter was turned off.
We work to ensure your solar panels are producing energy but, keep in mind, there may be times when one or more panels go offline for other reasons. We expect there may be some fluctuation in production from panel to panel which is why we calculate the total number of panels your home will need.
If this is the case for you, try checking your solar equipment before going to step 2.
What Are The Panels Worth If Refurbishable
FabTech is motivated to rate every refurbishable solar panel accurately because that is the greatest value for all concerned. They want to find solar panels for their second-hand market customers. Because they do all of their own repair they can give the best value to the owners. What is that value? It really depends case by case, and that is why it is important to contact FabTech for a proposal. It is based upon the brand or type of solar panel, its age and its condition, and how much repair it will need. This value is offset by the costs of shipping and recycling of the severely damaged solar units.
Most sites have their biggest expense with the freight costs to simply haul away these solar panels. If there is value in the solar panels, it can easily offset the costs of shipping. For example, the used solar panels could be worth anywhere from $15 to $75 each. Lets say you had 100 good ones valued at $50 each for a total of $5,000. Maybe there were 100 shattered solar modules in the load as well. Imagine, for example, the recycling costs of 100, #50 pound solar panels at $.35/pound for a total of $1,750, and the shipping costs of $2,200. That would be $3,950 costs and $5,000 credit for a credit balance of $1,050. In situations where you owed just a little bit, FabTech would probably offer to come and take the solar panels out for free, saving the site money, time and effort.
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Walking On Marine Solar Panels
I know youve been waiting for the exceptions to the rule to see if you can get away with it.
Well, youll be pleased to know that you can now get solar panels that you are able to gently walk on. Generally, these are made for use on boats where there is limited mounting space for solar panels on the deck. Of course, just because they are branded as marine solar panels, doesnt mean you cant use them in other scenarios. Its the same sunlight at sea as it is on land
In addition, there are a number of solar products designed for high traffic areas which are suitable for gentle footsteps. Plus manufacturers might advise stepping on their panels occasionally.
Be very careful if you are stepping on solar panels, particularly on a boat or after rainfall. The surface will be very smooth and glossy which makes them incredibly slippery.
Solar Panel Recycling Infographic
Heres a look at the current state of solar panel recycling, and a little about the future:
This infographic was produced in 2017 by GreenMatch, a UK-based provider of quotes for green energy products from multiple providers.
Manufacturers that recycle their own solar panels
Following the EU regulations, some solar companies across the world, including First Solar and SolarWorld, began their own reclamation programs in order to streamline the process as waste increases into the future.
First Solar has its own proprietary process for reclaiming its cadmium telluride thin film solar panels, which results in 95% of the semiconductor material and 90% of the glass available for reuse, either in new solar panels or other products. The company makes the recycling service available to its customers as part of its sales and service process. Recycling costs extra, unfortunately.
To perform the recycling, First Solar takes panels back from its customers, then puts them through a process that involves shredding, crushing, and treating the panels with a liquid process that helps to separate the component parts. Glass and laminate are separated and reclaimed in one process, and the resulting metal slurry is sent to a third party, who performs a process that results in separate cadmium and tellurium products.
Heres a look at how that works:
Image credit: First Solar
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How Do Solar Panels Get Damaged
Solar panels are built to last a long time upwards of forty years.¹ Panels are made of silicon cells that are protected behind a sheet of extremely durable glass. The cells are also insulated and the glass is sealed to prevent water from seeping through.
However, because they are outside of your home, they are exposed to the elements and its possible they could be damaged. Though we cant predict everything that could potentially happen, there are three main causes of damages to solar panels:
- Falling debris/foreign material: Though we dont think about it that often, its possible for stuff to fall from somewhere and strike your panels, like a broken tree branch, a golf ball , or pieces of metal
- Weather/natural disasters: This is exactly what it sounds likedamage due to natural occurrences or extreme weather. Fire, hail, lightning, heavy snow buildup, and lava are all potential hazards to your solar panels.
- Sun Exposure: Yes, we see the contradictionthe thing that needs sunlight to work can also be harmed if it gets too much sunlight. What can we say? Solar is weird sometimes. The idea is that extreme heat can cause your solar panels to slow down and produce less energy over time. Though we cant stop the potentially negative impact that the sun has on your panels, we do account for the potential reduction in panel efficiency when we custom design your solar energy system. Just something to keep in mind.
Ifyou Want To Go Green Use Solar Energy
Recycling solar energy via solar panels is a fantasticway to help reduce waste in landfills and still fulfill the energy needs of anybusiness or home. There are pros and cons to using solar panel technology, butthere are some distinct advantages, including:
- Thereduction of electric bills
- Using arenewable energy source
- Manydifferent applications for solar power
- Technologyis moving along to making better, greener solar panels
- Solarpanels require minimal maintenance costs
- Thecost of solar panels is coming down
Having read this article, it is clear that using solarenergy via solar panels is not only greener but better for anyone who dispersesthe funds to put it in place.
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Toxic Materials In Solar Panels
In a typical silicon solar cell, the amount of toxic chemicals is negligible, and tests done on these panels have revealed levels of toxic chemicals far beneath the standards set forth by the EPA.
Tests called toxicity characterization leaching procedure tests , are done to check for toxic chemicals that can leach into the environment from waste disposal. Studies that collect the results of these tests have shown that the panels have the potential to leach minimal amounts of lead, chromium, and barium, spread among the various components.
Theres no need to throw these things away, though. Solar panels are made up of valuable materials that can mostly be recaptured, and the industry has committed itself to discover the best way to recycle solar panels and either re-use or re-sell the components.
Spooky Solar Milk Jugs
Heres another wonderful solar lighting idea that also gives you a great decoration for Halloween. These little milk jugs are painted to look like ghosts and then lit up with solar lighting kits that use rechargeable batteries so theyre ready to scare and spook for weeks. You can also do these without the ghost faces if you just want some really cheap and easy solar lights to add to your pathway or garden.
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Module Damage Due To External Factors
This type of damage happens during weather reasons in most cases. Storm, hail, lightning and over voltage or snow pressure can damage a solar module, but also fire, excessive heat or an animal bite could cause damage as well. The advantage of this damage is that you can often repair it. But with the external damage already decides the strength of the damage on the potential success of the solar panel repair.
Flying pieces, broken branches, hailstones the size of tennis balls and collapsed buildings. Storms often cause a huge damage to solar panels. The consequence:
Micro cracks and cell breakage
Scratched module frame
But even cold, snow and ice can clog the solar panels. In addition to the solar glass breakage module, the solar panel frames will be twisted or frozen after a long and cold winter.
However, the most common cause of solar panels repair is lightning and over voltage. Direct or indirect impacts near a solar system can break a PV module. The big advantage with these modules is that you can repair these solar modules. The lightning and overvoltage will cause the following damages:
Burned junction boxes
Defective bypass diodes
Small animals make big damage. Small martens, rats, and mice regularly cause damage to large solar systems. The little rodents are less concerned with the glass modules than with the connections and often leave an animal bite on solar cables and solar plugs.
What can be repaired on a solar module?
Most Solar Manufacturers Claim Their Panels Will Last For About 25 Years That Means The Solar E
Grist / Amelia Bates
Solar panels are an increasingly important source of renewable power that will play an essential role in fighting climate change. They are also complex pieces of technology that become big, bulky sheets of electronic waste at the end of their lives and right now, most of the world doesnt have a plan for dealing with that.
But well need to develop one soon, because the solar e-waste glut is coming. By 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency projects that up to 78 million metric tons of solar panels will have reached the end of their life, and that the world will be generating about 6 million metric tons of new solar e-waste annually. While the latter number is a small fraction of the total e-waste humanity produces each year, standard electronics recycling methods dont cut it for solar panels. Recovering the most valuable materials from one, including silver and silicon, requires bespoke recycling solutions. And if we fail to develop those solutions along with policies that support their widespread adoption, we already know what will happen.
If we dont mandate recycling, many of the modules will go to landfill, said Arizona State University solar researcher Meng Tao, who recently authored a review paper on recycling silicon solar panels, which comprise 95 percent of the solar market.
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Why Do Solar Panels Need Glass
To understand whether a cracked solar panel will work or not, first, you need to know why solar panels have glass.
The reason why solar panels have glass is for protection. It has nothing to do with how solar panels work.
In solar panels, the glass encapsulates the solar cells, protecting them from radiation, dust particles, and other elements that can damage the delicate electronic devices.
Additionally, it is well-known that glass doesnt burn, so it also protects your solar panel from fire damage.
Finally, glass is totally impenetrable, meaning that water cant penetrate it, which really slows down the aging process and provides your electronic circuit extra protection.
Testing A Panels Power Output Using A Voltmeter
Using a voltmeter to test your solar panels output is a quick way to see whether theyre working. Voltmeters detect the flow of electricity.
If there isnt any current at all, then youve got a dead panel on your hands. Compare how much you see on your voltmeter with the manufacturers specifications.
Most panels dont produce maximum voltage, even if theyre still fresh out of the box.
However, a new panel should produce 95% or more of its max-rated power output. That is, assuming its in direct sunlight. If you see much less than that, then your panels performance mightve been compromised.
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Disposingof Solar Panels Through Charity
Orphanages and other public facilities in third worldcountries are desperately in need of reliable and sustainable power from solarpower.
In Africa, 600 million people live without access toelectricity. Instead, homes are lit at night using dangerous, dirty, andexpensive kerosene lamps that cause a myriad of health problems for childrenand house fires.
One way to dispose of solar panels that are old butstill useful is to give them to a charity such as Let There Be Light fordistribution to people living in Africa and other impoverished countries.
More solar power from solar panels means people around the world will live in much less dangerous conditions and have better well-being.
Wiring The Cells In Series
Now we can start wiring the cells in series. Using the tab we soldered to the back of each cell will now be used to connect to the front of the next cell. Line them up and melt the tabbing from the underside tab on one cell to the top of the next cell. Keep doing this and you can get as many volts as you want. Remember if you don’t plan on using a charge controller you will need to install a reverse flow diode on the positive side to prevent the batteries from draining during the night. You can get them at radioshack, or ebay or where ever you choose.Thats basically all there is to it. Then all you have to do is make an enclosure of your liking, seal it all up and you have yourself a solar panel. I used a piece of painted plywood some pine peices for a frame and a piece of plexyglass all sealed together with silicone.
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The Solar Panel Recycling Sector Will Continue To Innovate
In addition to increasing the United States recycling infrastructure, there are many ways to reduce the cost of recycling while improving the recovery rate or value of the recycled materials. For example, refurbishing broken or damaged solar panels instead of recycling them is better for the environment, so it would be wise to put more emphasis on this practice.
Likewise, there are many actions that manufacturers can take, especially in the design phase, to green the industry and make their products more readily recyclable. Extended producer responsibility laws in the European Union and Washington will help encourage these actions because it takes the burden of disposing of solar panels off local governments and puts it on the PV manufacturers themselves.
For example, designing solar panels with a longer useful life, reduces and delays the need to recycle them. Increasing the efficiency of the panels themselves enables fewer solar panels to produce the same amount of energy. Also, using fewer materials, especially toxic ones, will help streamline the recycling process. And, making it easier to take solar panels apart reduces the labor, chemicals, and energy needed to process panels.
The renewable energy industry has demonstrated a strong ability to innovate and advance. Manufacturers that are more effective in addressing recyclability issues can stand out as leaders in sustainability.