How to Clean Solar Panels? An Easy Guide

Solar panel installation is like a new window to the development of modern technology and a great alternative to the concept of electricity. It has become such a popular idea that many homes are adopting it to produce energy and save electricity costs.

Although it is highly recommendable to install solar panels at homes, they require some maintenance and cleaning. Some of these solar panels require minimal maintenance, and some require moderate levels, and some may not require any at all.

Cleaning solar panels is not much of a nuisance and can be done properly with skills and knowledge regarding it.

Disadvantages of Not Cleaning Solar Panel:

  • Accumulation of dirt and bird droppings on the solar panels can be extremely unhygienic. Although during the rainy season, they might get washed off. Sometimes the dirt is stuck to the surface of the panels making it difficult to remove. So, it is necessary to clean the solar panels.
  • Too much accumulation of dust hampers the conversion of energy from light, and it can reduce the efficiency of a solar panel. So, to maintain the desired efficiency of a solar panel, it is recommended to clean solar panels now and then.Assembling of debris over the surface of solar panels leads to reduced exposure to the sunlight hampering the production of energy. Ultimately, the normal activity and function of solar panels are reduced.There is a 30-40% decline in energy production due to a gathering of excessive dust, dirt, and grime on the surface of solar panels.
  • Efficacy is lost to some point.

Cleaning Solar Panels

Cleaning solar panel ain't no rocket science; it's a rather easy procedure. Down below will be telling you guys everything you need to know about cleaning it.

Cost Required

The average cost for cleaning a solar panel varies from $50-$150, but the rates may go up if repair costs are involved. Reparation costs may even exceed $500 considering the amount of repair required and the damage inflicted.

Mild liquid soap of low alkalinity can be used to clean solar panels with less amount of dirt. This is the most cost-effective step with expenses ranging from $20-$50. Water hoses which can be used to clean the solar panels more effectively within $100-$200.

The most expensive yet with quick results is provided by water poles ranging from $400-$1000 considering the metal they are built with like aluminum, carbon, etc. You can opt for the type of cleaning equipment you require based on the amount of dirt that requires cleaning and is cost-efficient as well.

Timing

In case of areas where humidity is high, and the climate conditions are dry enough, it is expected to clean solar panels once in 6 months. If you notice that your panel frequently faces low energy output due to dirt, it would be wise to clean it once in 3-4 months.

In case of moderate climate zones and areas with enough rain and less humidity, cleaning solar panels once a year can be beneficial. Although most people prefer to clean solar panels once a year only, the panels should still be checked once a while to avoid environmental debris building up excessively now and then.

Process of Cleaning

Cleaning solar panels is easier, but it should be conducted with safety and precautions. It merely involves using a liquid soap and water hose or in some cases, water poles.

The user guide will give you an idea about what materials you should avoid using while cleaning your panel and which materials may tend to harm it.

Always avoid highly alkaline soaps to wash the solar panels as they may interfere with the exposure of sunlight and may cause the surface of the panels to become faded.

Mild soaps should be used in low concentrations and mixed with water in a 1:3 ratio or should just be used through a hose. It is always best to avoid dishwasher solutions and liquid detergents as they are usually present in high concentrations.

Highly concentrated agents and those containing more chemicals can be a cause of damage to your solar panels. If you want to avoid using a hose, you can always opt for cleaning it yourself with a sponge.

Care must be taken so that the sponge is non-abrasive and smooth since rough sponges can cause wear and tear to the surface of the solar panels. Rub the surface mildly without causing scratch or any dent as it will interfere with the efficiency.

In case of using a hose, care should be taken so that the pressure does not exceed the maximum level. High-pressure water facilitates moisture build-up inside the panels and is a cause of wear and tear to the panels itself. It also causes damage to the surface and parts of the solar panel and results in low energy output.

You can also use soft brushes to wipe the sticky debris on the panels, but the brushes should never be hard and pointy.

If the amount of dirt is at a minimum level, then use only plain water as it will not affect the efficiency and do its job of washing thoroughly as well. Following these steps, solar panels can be simply cleaned just like we clean cars.

Precaution During Cleaning

The most important preventive measure that should be adopted before cleaning is to check the condition of the solar panel. Always opt for cleaning the panel when it is relatively cool and when the weather is favorable enough. Washing the solar panel in hot and humid weather can be troublesome.

Moreover, solar panels should not be cleaned when they are excessively hot, either from the sunlight or due to their high production of energy. This measure should be followed to avoid sunburns while touching the panel. Also, this condition can lead to the evaporation of the soap and water that is used to clean the panel.

Furthermore, the evaporation can leave behind remnants and cause staining of the surface of the solar panels. Smudging and staining on the panels interfere with the moisture content and ultimately affects energy production and utilization.

Upkeep

Apart from cleaning, it is also very essential to upkeep and maintain the solar panels. Although it is very tiring to catch up with how much dirt has been accumulated, an easier alternative is to follow up the energy rates of the panel.

A quick decline in the energy rates will indicate that there is something either wrong with the system or accumulation of some debris. Thus, maintaining the records of the energy rates and their percentages of fall can ultimately guide on when the solar panel requires cleaning.

Conclusion

Bringing it to a close, it can be said that a solar panel is an integral part of most homes and it plays a vital role as an alternative to the production of electricity through traditional methods.

Hence, it is very much essential to keep track of how well the solar panels are functioning and how efficient they are from time to time. Keeping track can help you decide how often you should go about cleaning them.

Therefore, with a few simple techniques on how to clean them, they can be easily maintained and continue to produce energy at an optimum level.

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