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The Impact of Well-Maintained Solar Panels

F2 F haf
byHigh Atlas Foundation
onFebruary 23, 2023

Today, many farmers in Morocco use solar-powered water pumps in order to irrigate their trees and saplings. This allows them to manage their farming in a climate-friendly way.

In March 2022, the Assalam Association, the Adrar Nursery, and the Kounouz Lakdirate cooperative received training for solar panel maintenance. The workshops enabled the nurseries’ caretakers to learn the correct way to maintain solar panels and how to handle the tools and equipment needed for that. Jan Stenstrom, a volunteer from the United States, insisted on purchasing soft materials for cleaning the panels as hard and rough materials could scratch the panels and lower their performance.

For the Kounouz Lakdirate cooperative, where the panels are very large and difficult to reach because of their height and the terrain they are built on, he recommended installing a pipe with holes along the top edge of the panel structure, which are 2 cm apart and connected to the water system. This would allow for a safe and easy cleaning of the panels, just like the rain would do.

For both the Akrich and Adrar nurseries Jan recommended that, because there are fewer panels and they are easy to reach, the caretakers should follow the cleaning instructions, which recommended using biodegradable or mild, nonabrasive soap, soft rags, wipers with long handles, small brushes, and water.

When returning to the above-mentioned sites, the caretakers explained that they consider the trees and saplings as their own kids, for whom they must provide suitable conditions to allow them to grow. Therefore, all the equipment needs to be cared for well to ensure its longevity.

Lahcen, the caretaker of the Adrar nursery, appreciated the solar panel maintenance workshop:

"I care a lot about my saplings and I insist on using good tools no matter how much they cost. I appreciated Jan showing my co-workers and me the proper way to clean them.

Last March, I promised to use soft rags to clean the panels and I have kept my promise to this day. Even though solar panels are durable, any scratch caused by fallen debris is able to lower the panels’ energy output. The scratches hinder the sunlight from shining directly onto the cells, lowering the amount of solar energy each panel can absorb and consequently decreasing its energy output."

F2F member and the caretaker of Akrich nursery discussing the importance of cleaning the solar panels regularly.

Mr. Abderrahim, the caretaker of the Akrich Nursery, is an active member of the community and he has helped many farmers in the Akrich Commune and nearby villages to get solar panels installed to facilitate better access to water for livestock, crop irrigation, drinking and cooking. After benefitting from the training on solar panels maintenance, Mr. Abderrahim is now able to conduct campaigns to raise awareness among farmers in the area about the importance of cleaning solar panels properly and to educate them about the steps and materials needed to ensure high power output by the solar panels in the long term.