??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

simagicsimagic Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭✭
Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels. I keeps the dirt off your car!!!. Why wouldn't it keep the dirt off your panels. Yes, the big question in my mind is will the coating of wax lessen the efficiency at all. Anybody got any opinions (or better yet, data) on this???.....
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Comments

  • Les NagyLes Nagy Solar Expert Posts: 121 ✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    I would think it a bad idea. Most waxes are made to block UV and maybe other light. Any reduction in light is not good. BUT!

    If waxing the panels keeps them cleaner, then perhaps the net gain will be higher.

    How about that for a definite answer? :)
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,650 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    I've never tried waxing my panels, but I did use rainX car winshield fluid a couple times, it seamed to help with the dust between washings, didn't seam to help make the bird droppings wash off any easier. I washed down the panels first then used a car 2 sided spong/squeege on a 12' painter pole, to apply and pull off excess. If your having a problem it might be worth a try, it's cheap...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels
    simagic wrote: »
    Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels. I keeps the dirt off your car!!!. Why wouldn't it keep the dirt off your panels. Yes, the big question in my mind is will the coating of wax lessen the efficiency at all. Anybody got any opinions (or better yet, data) on this???.....

    If the surface of the panel glass has an anti-reflective coating, then anything you put on top of that will increase the reflection losses.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,650 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels
    inetdog wrote: »
    If the surface of the panel glass has an anti-reflective coating, then anything you put on top of that will increase the reflection losses.

    Including dust and bird poop...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    i don't recommend putting anything on your pvs excepting water and mild soap with possibly a sponge, brush, or squeegee. the idea is to take coatings of dirt off and not to add another coating to it to keep the dirt off.
  • simagicsimagic Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    Attachment not found.All 3 of my panels have developed ( for the sake of description, but not knowing exactly what it is), what looks like prominent water marks. like you might see on glass as water dries. I'm not saying it's water marks. Just 'that look". I'm able to get the marks off with lacquer thinner, acetone, bon-ami cleanser and a razor blade ( scraping the glass in the same manner you'd scrape off a sticker on your glass). Could I at all possibly be scraping off and removing the anti-reflective coating. Can it actually be removed by cleaning? If so, will the performance be noticeably different??
    aa.jpg 137.7K
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    Congratulations; you've damaged your panels. :cry:

    They are glass; treat them as such. If you got instructions with them they should have said never use harsh chemicals on them. Lacquer thinner and acetone are definitely harsh chemicals and probably have destroyed the anti-reflective coating. If they didn't the scouring powder will surely scrape into it.

    No, panels should not be waxed either.

    Mild soap and water, as needed. Glass cleaner if there's stubborn stuff stuck. Nothing stronger, and certainly not any mechanical scraping. If you get water spots a rinsing agent will keep them clear. Above all, don't obsess about cleaning them! They hardly ever need it, really.

    Don't they give out information with panels these days? Mine came with a nice little pamphlet about installation, wiring (including the internal arrangement of the bypass diodes), and care. I guess they can't be bothered to do that anymore.

    You will not lose a significant amount of power from this damage. You probably won't even notice the difference.
  • simagicsimagic Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    I tried cleaning w/ soap water........then windex and still those marks didn't budge. ( not even a bit)...... I'm soooooo happy you said "You will not lose a significant amount of power from this damage. You probably won't even notice the difference". .....so, they're not actually damaged...right??..You said " a rinsing agent for water spots... Can you give me a name of a rinsing agent??.One more thing.I've used denatured alchohol to clean plexiglass. I would think if it doesnt damage plex, that it should be ok........Your thoughts
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    Alcohol is a solvent ('denatured' refers to a blend of mostly ethyl alcohol with enough methyl added to render it "undrinkable"). It won't harm plexiglass. It will dissolve a lot of other things though, including grease and wax. It should not affect the polymer coating on solar panels (this is similar to what is used on camera lenses for the same purpose). Lacquer thinner or acetone will.

    It is probably too late to restore the surface condition of the panels. Rinsing agents can be found in any grocery store next to the dishwasher detergent (i.e. "Jet Dry" or similar). They basically cause the hard water to sheet and dry evenly without leaving residue. It is also a good idea to clean panels in the late evening or early morning so that they are not hot while drying. Sun can evaporate water off panels very quickly and almost vulcanize the minerals to the glass.

    How's the output? Still getting the batteries charged? When it comes down to it, that's all that really matters.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels
    simagic wrote: »
    ...I'm soooooo happy you said "You will not lose a significant amount of power from this damage. You probably won't even notice the difference". .....so, they're not actually damaged...right??..You said " a rinsing agent for water spots... Can you give me a name of a rinsing agent??.One more thing.I've used denatured alchohol to clean plexiglass. I would think if it doesnt damage plex, that it should be ok........Your thoughts

    A lot depends on what, if anything, abusive you did to your panels before the spots showed up.

    If, up to that time, it was nothing but clear water, then it is possible that you have very hard water and that what you saw really were water spots (calcium carbonate mostly). A rinsing agent (like Jet-dri or others for dishwashers, but be sure to dilute it extremely!) will help prevent that, but will do nothing to remove it. If you squeegee the rinse water off rather than letting it dry in place (don't rinse on a hot day when the panels are hot too, or the water may evaporate before you can squeegee it off) then you should be OK even without a rinsing agent.

    Once you have actual hard water stains, a (very weak!!!!) acid like dilute vinegar or one of the commercial water spot and soap scum removers which use phosphoric acid (also found in cola drinks) may be the best you can do. Carefully applied it will probably not damage the anti-reflective coating. But keep it away from the wiring and the panel seals, just in case.

    You can tell if you have removed the AR coating by checking for a difference in the subtle color of reflections viewed in the panel surface. A purplish color usually indicates the presence of an AR coating, since the coating reduces the yellow-orange-green component of the reflection more than it does the red or blue.
    If your panels did have an AR coating and it is now gone, you may lose as much as 4% of your panel output when the sun is directly hitting the panel at right angles, and somewhat more as the angle of the sun to the panels gets shallower.

    One reason never to use a mechanical abrasion (razor blade, scouring powder, etc.) method of cleaning is that hard water deposits will resist them better than the AR coating does. If you have polycarbonate or acrylic rather than glass, then the hard water deposits are also harder than the panel surface itself!
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • simagicsimagic Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    Boy , do I think you just hit the nail right on the head. You just said " It is also a good idea to clean panels in the late evening or early morning so that they are not hot while drying. Sun can evaporate water off panels very quickly and almost vulcanize the minerals to the glass. Well, this summer ( one of the hottest on record), what I was doing was this to cool my panels. I have a sprayer. Kinda like the kind an exterminator carries into your house. It's plastic and never had anything but water in it. Well, I would periodically during the very hot day "sprinkle" at first. then wet the panels to cool them. I would see steam coming up from the hot panels.. Sooooo, this makes me think that those marks ( seen in my previous post) are indeed what you say, which are the minerals vulcanizing to the panel. Which then leads me to believe that what I'm indeed removing ( in the wrong way as you mentioned) are those minerals and hopefully not the anti-reflective finish. Could that be those "vulcanized minerals" that I see on these panels??
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    Looks like water spots to me.

    Do what inetdog said and try to remove them with vinegar (amazing stuff, that; they even make a special "cleaning vinegar" which has higher acetic acid content).

    Inetdog; you can't get lime phosphates at the soda counter anymore! :cry: I've tried! So we're stuck with plastic bottles of carbonic acid to satisfy our thirst.
    (Ever notice how many things we drink are acidic? No wonder we all get ulcers! :p )
  • simagicsimagic Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    One last question ( I think ). If I still see that (slightly) leathery looking surface on the panel, ( it gives it a matte finish instead of a gloss finish) wouldn't that be the coating. If I removed the coating then wouldn't the glass be smoother??
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    Yes; the glass underneath should be quite smooth and the coating gives it an ever-so-slight matte finish.
    See picture of dirty panels that need cleaning. Note the moire pattern the coating gives. (It occurs to me the pattern may not be visible on computer screens.)

    Ironically, if you had been able to apply Glass Wax first (without somehow damaging the panels) the hard water stains would be easier to remove.
    Note I am not recommending people coat their panels with Glass Wax or anything else.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels
    Yes; the glass underneath should be quite smooth and the coating gives it an ever-so-slight matte finish.
    See picture of dirty panels that need cleaning. Note the moire pattern the coating gives. (It occurs to me the pattern may not be visible on computer screens.)

    Ironically, if you had been able to apply Glass Wax first (without somehow damaging the panels) the hard water stains would be easier to remove.
    Note I am not recommending people coat their panels with Glass Wax or anything else.

    And, just to repeat, adding anything, even in a thin layer, on top of an antireflective coating will reduce the efficiency of the AR coating, and may even cause more reflections that the same glass with no AR coating at all. Since you have no control of the thickness, the results will be completely unpredictable, but will never be good.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels
    Note the moire pattern the coating gives. (It occurs to me the pattern may not be visible on computer screens.)

    I can just barely convince myself that I see a moire pattern, but it may not be the same as the one you see in the original photo. :-)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • simagicsimagic Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    Just got back in from work......Well. (and I'm hoping here), since I still have that leathery, matte ( moire pattern) over my entire panel surface, then perhaps I haven't removed the antiflective coating. When I used the lacquer thinner I didn't get any type of residue on the rag. None at all. Perhaps that might be a good sign? If you look at my post with the picture ( post # 7), in the lower right area ( where it's blackest) you can see this leathery / orange peel finish I'm speaking of. That leathery finish is still there after my "abusive mistake". Is that a good sign????
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels
    simagic wrote: »
    Just got back in from work......Well. (and I'm hoping here), since I still have that leathery, matte ( moire pattern over my entire panel surface), then perhaps I haven't removed the antiflective coating. When I used the lacquer thinner I didn't get any type of residue on the rag. none at all. Perhaps that might be a good sign?

    Definitely a good sign.
    Solvents have peculiar properties in that they will work on one substance and not on another even if it is closely chemically related. The other factor is that the longer they are on the substance the greater the effect. Since these are both highly evaporative compounds if you use the "wipe on/wipe off" application there may not have been enough time for it to have any significant effect.
  • simagicsimagic Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    Thanks "C"................Do you (as shown in your info) have four 175 watt panels equaling 700 watts feeding just a 232 AH battery. Isn't that a high charge percentage rate?????.......... I have to get back to work.. I work at a restaurant..Will check in tomorrow...Thanks again
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels
    simagic wrote: »
    Thanks "C"................Do you (as shown in your info) have four 175 watt panels equaling 700 watts feeding just a 232 AH battery. Isn't that a high charge percentage rate?????.......... I have to get back to work.. I work at a restaurant..Will check in tomorrow...Thanks again

    700 Watts on 232 Amp hours @ 24 Volts. It's a bit on the light side, actually. :D
  • simagicsimagic Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    Soooooo, I've checked my panels side by side with one that I didn't put lacquer thinner and cleanser on. I'm happy to report there was no difference which leads me to believe that i didn't do "TOO MUCH" harm....But, I can, for sure, see the swirl marks (micro scratches) that I created by using the cleanser. This will probably make it harder to keep clean in the future. I still had another panel that I didn't do that to. I spent hours and hours on the net to try to find a way to remove the hard water stains and although and tried the ole vinegar/lemon solution, it didn't work. I know now not to use harsh chemicals on the panel, but I did find this one site which did side by side comparisons of different hard water stain removal techniques. I did ( but really, really made a weak solution) use the one that worked on their test.......... see the link here......... http://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KLqIV5OGhQzQUAdd_7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTBvbGgza2Q0BHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDVjExNg--?p=how+to+remove+hard+water+spots&vid=8F48642CE3A7A42C33A98F48642CE3A7A42C33A9&l=&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts2.mm.bing.net%2Fvideos%2Fthumbnail.aspx%3Fq%3D4829893318344721%26id%3Dd707ec20f3a4306eaaee9876b1a8ac62%26bid%3DqTMspKfjLGRIjw%26bn%3DLargeThumb%26url%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fwww.youtube.com%252fwatch%253fv%253d_845B2PUUOQ&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D_845B2PUUOQ&tit=How+to+Remove+Hard+Water+Stains+-+Build.com&c=18&sigr=11a8pogr8&&tt=b ............................................ So It worked to get off the stains......Then, after hours and hours and hours of searching, I found this .It sounds great and I just ordered it from England. It was very expensive ( approx 100 dollars for the bottle with all the costs & taxes involved in getting it here), but I'm sure all your viewers who keep asking about a way to coat their panels with (for instance), RainX, will find this info VERY interesting... I would have ordered this even if I didn't put micro scratches on the panel. There is a lot to read on their site, but the more I read, the more I wanted this product....Thought I'd take the time to put this here to share with all that might be looking for such a product..........

    http://www.nanoshell.co.uk/protective-coatings/solar-panel-pv ..........Dennis
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    From the linked web site: "Contains alcohol for a durable Solar Panel Coatings."

    And my skeptic alarm just went off.

    Sounds a bit like the silicone car waxes they used to sell. Has similar properties at least.

    NOTE: this does not mean I don't think it would work or that I think it will.
  • simagicsimagic Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    Well, ( and I have no stock in this product), it "IS" actually designed for use on solar panels, as opposed to ( lets say, just for an example) RainX, who says "DO NOT USE ON SOLAR PANELS". Neither of us know for sure, but all the press it has received certainly makes it look promising. I've ordered it and we'll see. Thanks for all you help. dennis
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    here is a link to a US based rep, http://www.nanopowerselfcleaning.com/nanotechnologyselfcleaning.php they mention titanium dioxide in their spiel.

    some interesting claims on this one. 30% increase per panel?? http://www.youtube.com/user/nanopowerselfclean?ob=0&feature=results_main
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • simagicsimagic Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    I just checked it out but didn't see anyway to purchase any ( although I just purchased some from England , per my post )
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    ya, I saw that , guess they want you to phone or email..
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    Titanium dioxide? Isn't that the white cream they used to sell to people to keep their noses from burning on the beach? Is this sun block for solar panels? Is that a good idea? :p:D
  • simagicsimagic Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    Got me nervous.. I googled Titanium dioxide and this is a short piece from Wikipedia ..It's a little confusing to me because it says sunscreen but also says UV absorber. Kinda both sides of the coin. In one breath they say sunscreen, but then say UV absorber??????


    In cosmetic and skin care products, titanium dioxide is used as a pigment, sunscreen and a thickener. It is also used as a tattoo pigment and in styptic pencils. Titanium dioxide is produced in varying particle sizes, oil and water dispersible, and with varying coatings for the cosmetic industry. This pigment is used extensively in plastics and other applications for its UV resistant properties where it acts as a UV absorber, efficiently transforming destructive UV light energy into heat..................................Another site says "It is also a major component of sun block to deter the absorption of ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, the concentration of which determines the product’s Sun Protection Factor, or SPF.... One site says UV absorber, the other site says deters the absorbtion. I don't know what to think, but I ordered it and I'll try it... I didn't see titanium oxide on the one I ordered from England
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels
    simagic wrote: »
    Got me nervous.. I googled Titanium dioxide and this is a short piece from Wikipedia ..It's a little confusing to me because it says sunscreen but also says UV absorber. Kinda both sides of the coin. In one breath they say sunscreen, but then say UV absorber??????


    In cosmetic and skin care products, titanium dioxide is used as a pigment, sunscreen and a thickener. It is also used as a tattoo pigment and in styptic pencils. Titanium dioxide is produced in varying particle sizes, oil and water dispersible, and with varying coatings for the cosmetic industry. This pigment is used extensively in plastics and other applications for its UV resistant properties where it acts as a UV absorber, efficiently transforming destructive UV light energy into heat..................................Another site says "It is also a major component of sun block to deter the absorption of ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, the concentration of which determines the product’s Sun Protection Factor, or SPF.... One site says UV absorber, the other site says deters the absorbtion. I don't know what to think, but I ordered it and I'll try it

    It's the same side of the coin. It absorbs UV and deters the absorption of UV by whatever is covered by it. Most of the energy from PV comes from the blue end of the spectrum. Don't put it on your PV panels. Put it on your nose when you go surfing.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ??? Is it a good or bad idea to wax put car wax on your panels

    Uh, my previous post was a joke.

    But that is how titanium dioxide works as sunscreen; it absorbs UV, blocking the harmful rays before they reach the skin. In the process the UV becomes heat (very low intensity) and radiates off. Zinc oxide performs much the same.

    I doubt the product contains enough to significantly reduce the amount of visible light reaching the PV's which turns into electricity (and heat) by knocking electrons loose on the PN junction.

    This is in contrast to the blocker films used on windows for the same purpose in that they do reduce the visible light significantly.
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