How to Clean Solar Panels

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If you have switched to the renewable solar energy system for your home, you must be aware of the fact that they are placed flat on your rooftop. In most cases, occasional rain can take care of all the dirt on your panels but when it starts affecting the efficiency of the solar system, you must consider cleaning them regularly.

The solar panels are exposed outdoors under direct sunlight to produce power. The dust builds up at the ends, where the panel tilt is minimal. This impacts the total amount of electricity your module can generate. This is why cleaning solar panels is necessary.

How to Clean Solar Panels

You can either hire a professional or use DIY methods to clean your solar panels. But before going ahead with any option, you must read the instructions and follow proper guidelines to shut down your system for safety purposes.

There is no one “standard” way to clean your panels. All the methods mentioned here slightly vary from one another. Many solar companies have policies to clean your system. However, you must keep in mind that some of these companies call it an annual maintenance service and charge a little too much.

Now, to figure out which cleaning method is best suited for you, we have provided a number of methods to clean your solar panels.

1. Use a Soft Brush or a Sponge

It is extremely necessary to use the right cleaning equipment. If your solar panels are mounted on the ground, you can opt for a simple sponge or a soft brush to clean them. But if your panels are installed on the roof, you will need an additional extension on the brush to make the work easier.

2. Avoid the Usage of High Material Content

Manufacturers suggest you clean the module with deionized or distilled water. Water that is rich in minerals may leave deposits of particles in the long run which is not the best for the glass of modules.

If you cannot access distilled water, you can always get a water-softening hose attachment to filter out the minerals.

3. Do Not Use High Pressure

Using high water pressure to clean the panels can force water into the junction box or plugs without a 100% seal. So, it is recommended to use a hose that offers pressure below 40bar.

4. The Water and Panel Temperature Must be Similar

The drastic temperature change of extremely hot or cold water can crack the surface of the glass. The best option is to clean your panel with ambient temperature water early in the morning as the temperature of the module is low and solar generation is minimal in the morning.

5. Never Use an Abrasive Material

Using detergents can create moisture or delamination on your panels. This can result in inevitable damage to the system. All you will ever need is a simple dishwashing soap and water to wipe any dirt off your panels.

Things To Be Considered While Cleaning Solar Panels

1. Cleaning Method

It is recommended that you check with your solar manufacturer first to find out if your panels have any specific requirements before settling for a method of cleaning.

2. Personal Safety

The panels are mounted on the rooftop that can get pretty high off the ground. Safety always comes first, especially when you are not a professional. You must consider the roof’s stability, water buildup, slickness, and weather conditions in your location. It is best for you to find ways to clean your panels without getting on your roof.

3. Local Weather Conditions

If the sky looks grey as if it would rain soon or if your local meteorologist predicted high chances of rainfall, you should wait. Let nature take care of all the dirt collected on your solar panels.

Sometimes, rain can add to the existing mud on your panels. But solar panels are generally designed to serve you with optimal efficiency even when it is a little dirty.

Factors that can Negatively Impact Solar Production

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There are a number of factors that will affect the efficiency of your panel. Let us take a look at a list of things that will harm the efficiency of energy generation.

  • Large pieces of debris from an extremely windy climate.
  • Heavy ash from volcanoes or fires takes a few days to dissipate.
  • Heavy snow coverage takes a few days to melt away.
  • Thick layers of dirt or mud that are hard to remove.
  • Walking over the modules.

New Measures for Clean and Efficient Solar Panels

Along with the existing DIY and professional services, there are new innovations making it easier to maintain your solar panels. Some of them include:

  • Special coatings applied to the panel glass for repelling dust and reducing soiling.
  • Robotic cleaners to get rid of dirt at night with the help of brushes and air blowers.
  • Kipp & Zonen’s commercial tool designed for measuring dirt levels.

Final Words,

Cleaning is important but unnecessary cleaning can be a waste of time. If you live in a heavily polluted area, you can simply break out a garden hose and clean the panels from the ground. If your panels have too much bird dropping that needs to be scrapped off, make sure it is safe to get on the rooftop. You can install a CCTV camera that will show you the real condition of your panel and eliminate the hassle of climbing up and down a ladder.

FAQs

If your panels are mounted on the rooftop, you should consider getting a cleaning service. The main reason for this is safety issues. The cleaning services have better equipment and can maintain rooftop units properly.

The snow will slide off itself from tilted solar panels. But if the snow persists, you can invest in tools that will help you clean it up.

Final Words,

Cleaning is important but unnecessary cleaning can be a waste of time. If you live in a heavily polluted area, you can simply break out a garden hose and clean the panels from the ground. If your panels have too much bird dropping that needs to be scrapped off, make sure it is safe to get on the rooftop. You can install a CCTV camera that will show you the real condition of your panel and eliminate the hassle of climbing up and down a ladder.