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How to clean monocrystaline solar cells?

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  • How to clean monocrystaline solar cells?

    Hi, so I bought some monocrystaline solar cells, 2.6W, 5x5".

    Problem is they have some fingerprints on them, and they look kind of dirty.

    How do I wash them? Warm, soapy water? No soap? Glass cleaner to remove residue?

    These are the bare cells, paper thin and fairly flexible.

  • #2
    Isopropyl alcohol 91% or denatured alcohol from your paint center. Becareful with denatured alcohol as the fumes are toxic and deadly if ingested as it is methanol.
    MSEE, PE

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Sunking View Post
      Isopropyl alcohol 91% or denatured alcohol from your paint center. Becareful with denatured alcohol as the fumes are toxic and deadly if ingested as it is methanol.

      Thank you for the reply!

      I have a fairly advanced Olympus microscope that I cleaned the internal glass prisms with alcohol.

      It turns out it left a white film on the glass, that ended up clouding the picture so badly I had to ask what to use to clean a high end microscope, and someone said plain windex. I tried it and sure enough, the picture became crystal clear.

      Is it a concern that alcohol may leave a tiny film, reducing the solar cell's effectiveness, even if only a fractional percent?

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      • #4
        What kind of Alcohol and what percent. If the alcohol is dilute less than 100% means it has water or something else in it. Or it might mean you need to buff off with a Kim Wipe to remove mineral from hard water deposits. Try denatured alcohol from a paint store.
        MSEE, PE

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        • #5
          99.99% pure IPA alcohol is used in semi-conductor (& laser optics) cleaning as a triple rinse system, and leaves no residue or film. Acetone is used to break up grease and dissolve stuff, but IPA is used as the rinse agent. 90% is pretty common at drugstores,
          so maybe paint stores are the next place to try.
          Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
          || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
          || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

          solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
          gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

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          • #6
            Here is what you are looking for.
            MSEE, PE

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sunking View Post
              Here is what you are looking for.
              Holy Cow !! $30 gallon ? We'd get it for like $6, but buying 2 or 3 pallets at a time!
              Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
              || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
              || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

              solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
              gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

              Comment


              • #8
                Mike you might scan down a bit and find it around around $18/gal. Cheaper than moonshine. I gotta look and see where th etelcos buy their denatured alcohol for cleaning fibers. It comes in quart bottles though.
                MSEE, PE

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                  Here is what you are looking for.
                  Thank you very much! I contacted the seller, and he finally got back to me. He recommends alcohol too. He said it's better not to get them dirty, though.

                  Looking at microscopic pictures of monocrystaline cells I can see tons of pyramids, or spikey surfaces. I take it brushing the cells with a tooth brush is a bad idea. i wonder if using a microfiber rag is even good? Or just splash them and let them dry?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    cleaning as a triple rinse system
                    Get 3 containers, away from any ignition source. Get some photographic print developing tongs, you are going to lay cells into the tray, gently rock the tray to swish the alcohol over and around the cells, let soak a few minutes, and do again.
                    Move cell to the next tray. (via tongs) repeat
                    Move cell to the next tray This is #3. The very cleanest you can easily get. If fingerprints are still visible, you need to start over with an additional tray of acetone to begin with, then the triple rinse.

                    every now and then, dump the first tray, put #2 into tray #1, and then #3 into #2, and fresh IPA into tray #3. That keeps the rinse baths clean.

                    Lay cleaned cells on an incline on absorbent lint free cloth (microfiber) no rub or brush.
                    Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
                      Get 3 containers, away from any ignition source. Get some photographic print developing tongs, you are going to lay cells into the tray, gently rock the tray to swish the alcohol over and around the cells, let soak a few minutes, and do again.
                      Move cell to the next tray. (via tongs) repeat
                      Move cell to the next tray This is #3. The very cleanest you can easily get. If fingerprints are still visible, you need to start over with an additional tray of acetone to begin with, then the triple rinse.

                      every now and then, dump the first tray, put #2 into tray #1, and then #3 into #2, and fresh IPA into tray #3. That keeps the rinse baths clean.

                      Lay cleaned cells on an incline on absorbent lint free cloth (microfiber) no rub or brush.
                      Thank you, Mike!!

                      Comment


                      • #12

                        (spam links removed - Moderator)

                        The best way is by using certified nanocoatings for PV Glass surfaces.
                        How often: Depending mostly on the location, read the report
                        Why is cleaning so important? Because soiling causes 23% of the problems of PV modules. Read the SolarBankability report
                        Last edited by Mike90250; 12-30-2017, 07:33 PM. Reason: spam links removed - Moderator

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