Green Energy: Wind Turbine Cleaning

Cleaning and Maintenance

Wind Turbines:

A wind turbine's operating performance can be directly related to each blade's characteristics and surface roughness, in optimising conversion of aerodynamic flow into power generation. Just like an aircraft's wing or propellor, each blade is an aerofoil in its own right and requires a smooth surface to pass through the air with least resistance and optimal efficiency for minimal power losses. If regular cleaning is not carried out effectively, a blade's aerodynamic profile can be slightly modified through an accumulation of dust particles and insects on the surface. This can also impact the transformation of energy from wind to torque. 

Cleaning intervals are highly dependent on the locality of each wind turbine and seasonal changes, with research showing that the correlation between a high-performing turbine and its state of cleanliness over-time is closely related. A cost-effective solution to preventing the power curve from dropping in performance and avoiding an overworked turbine, is by utilising a rope access team to attend to each blade, rotor, tower at regular intervals with ease and agility.

Solar Panels:

The simple science behind power generation in solar panels is basically the more light that hits a panel, the more power it will generate. Unfortunately, this requires an installation method that positions each panel upright to absorb the sun's full capacity, leaving it highly exposed to bird droppings, dust accumulation and deciduous trees which eventually lead to a reduction in operating performance.
Cleaning requirements are very much dependent on seasonal changes and its installation locality, with high rainfall zones requiring less regular and intensive cleaning, however a professional wash schedule is still advised. It is estimated that panel performance can be impacted by as much as 10-30% over a 6-12mth period without adequate cleaning maintenance. Accessing rooftop panels with a high pressure cleaner can be a high-risk task, so we advise against a DIY approach. Our rope access teams are highly experienced in a working-at-height environment as we do it safely on a daily basis. Saving a few dollars is not worth the risk of a potential fall resulting in injury or possibly even death.