Solar panels are maintenance free but it is good to inspect and clean them periodically.
Hundreds of thousands of solar panels have popped up across the country as an increasing number of Indians now choose to power their daily lives with the sun’s energy. We all know that solar panels do not have any moving parts, which is why there`s not a whole lot of maintenance to take care of. But, over time solar panels will get covered with pollution, dust, grime, and bird droppings. In most of the cases, we won’t need to clean the solar panels often, if at all. After all, anything that accumulates dirt on them will eventually get washed off the next time it rains- that’s what we think or told. Cleaning the panels is one aspect of maintenance that should not be taken lightly. Many factors affect the energy the solar panels produce, cleaning them is the easiest and best solution.
How Often You Should Clean the Solar Panels?
It totally depends on where you live and the kind of weather conditions available. The regions with windy and dusty climate will need more frequent inspection and cleaning of solar panels. Some areas will need a weekly washing, while other locations will give a leverage of cleaning panels every other month. Make sure to review the solar manufacturer’s specifications. Make a chart and inspect the solar panels on a periodic basis.
Tips for Cleaning Solar Panels
All the solar panels are different, so it is advisable to make sure you review the instructional guide provided by the solar manufacturer first before cleaning the panels yourself. Remember that some panels might be sensitive to certain chemicals, and others may include fragile components that you need to be aware of.
- For safety reasons, it is suggested that solar panels should be cleaned from the ground if possible.
- Remove any debris on the solar panel. Trim back trees or plants that may be blocking the sun’s energy to the solar panels.
- Make sure to use a good quality soft brush and a squeegee with a plastic blade on one side. Keeping a cloth covered sponge on the other side coupled with a long extension can make for the perfect tools and allow you to stay on the ground.
- It is advisable to use a hose with suitable nozzle to allow the stream of water to reach the panels.
- If cleaning the solar panels from the ground is not possible, do not attempt to access rooftop unless you have the appropriate safety equipment and training. If it is urgent; hire a qualified solar professional instead.
- Make sure to clean the panels on an overcast day, early in the morning or in the evening because if the sun is beating down on the solar panels, any water used will quickly evaporate and dirt will become smeared.
- If the panels are dry, before tackling the modules with water, brush off any loose materials first – this will make cleaning easier and faster.
- Don’t use metal objects or harsh abrasive products for removing caked on materials – scratching the glass on a solar panel can affect its performance as scratches will cast shadows.
- Do not use detergents if possible as these may streak the glass of the panel. Also, keep in mind that the use of abrasive powders also risks scratching the panels.
- Oily stains can occur in some installation scenarios, such as if you live near an area downwind of a major roadway frequented by trucks. If oily stains start appearing on your panels; isopropyl alcohol can be used as a spot-cleaning substance.
- There are agencies that provide maintenance services for solar panels. If you choose to use a solar panel cleaning agency, be sure that the solar panels are insured – in case there are any accidents.
Keeping things clean is good, but in case of solar panels, it isn’t just the worth the bother. Unless dirt is clearly visible and the performance level downgrades or impacted, it is recommended to let the nature do its job of keeping the solar panels clean- just as it helps in creating solar power.