Dirty solar panels? Is there a need to be worried?
Even though solar panels are self-cleaning, they do get dirty and need cleaning. However, because solar panels have not removable parts and are low-maintenance, you can forget about cleaning them for a very long time.
If and when you decide to clean your solar panels, the decision is one of the following – hire a professional cleaning service or do it yourself.
Why your solar panels need cleaning?
Residential panels are fixed in three ways – flat, titled, or on the rooftop. Most people allow the rain to do the cleaning while others ignore it. If your panels are on the rooftop, you can afford to forget cleaning it. If your panels are flat on the ground or tilted where people can easily see how dirty it is, cleaning it is always a great idea.
What are the conditions for cleaning a solar panel?
Because the panels are fixed outside the home, they accumulate dirt and dust over a long period. In some areas where sand storms are a norm, some solar panels lose their shine as they are covered with dust, pollen, bird poop, and other debris that stick to the surface. Keeping your solar panels clean can make them last longer too. Check out how long do solar panels last for more insight on how cleaning the solar panels affects them.
Cleaning your solar panels?
As mentioned, there are two ways to clean your solar panels. Most installation services offer maintenance options of cleaning the panels at regular intervals for a fee. If you decide to clean yourself, you need a long hose, soap, and a long brush with soft foam attached to the tip.
Some tips to remember when cleaning the solar panel
- Go through the manufacturer’s manual on the best cleaning method for the brand
- Do not use any hard object to scratch or scrape off dried debris from the surface
- Avoid using any invasive cleaning methods or powder on the panels
- Do not step on the panels during the cleaning procedure
- If the panels are flat, ensure water does not come in contact with the connections to avoid damaging the panel.
How to clean the solar panels
Turn off all switches connecting to the solar panel
Treat the solar panel like you would light fuse maintenance in your home. All switch and power from and to the panel should be off. This will guarantee that any water in the wrong place will not cause any damage.
Use water of the same temperature as the environment
If you are cleaning the solar panels in the cold, let the water be cold as warm or hot water might crack or damage the glass layer. If you are cleaning the panel during the summer season, use mild or lukewarm water too. The best times to clean your solar panels are early in the morning.
Soak the debris for easy cleaning
If you are cleaning the panels because of bird poop and other dirt stuck to it. Hose down the panels continuously for a couple of minutes to loosen the dirt. Ensure you only hose the surface with mild water pressure to avoid damaging the panel.
Furthermore, do not use high mineral content water to clean the solar panel; it leaves behind a residue that makes it dirtier than you started with.
Use mild soaps for the panels
Add the soap to water in a pail and pour it all over the panel. If the panels are flat or tilted, dip a soft microfiber cloth in the water and soap mix and rub to remove any stuck dirt and debris. If the panels are high up, use a long brush with a soft brush or sponge attached to the tip to clean. Avoid putting pressure when cleaning or scrubbing too hard.
Hose down the panels and allow it to dry out before switching on all connecting circuits.
Does the installation process affect the cleaning of the panels?
As mentioned above, solar panels are fixed flat on the ground, rooftop, and tilted in your yard.
While the rooftop installation allows you to effectively clean your panels properly, it is best to ensure the installation is done right from the start. Get more information on how to install solar panels on the rooftop before you decide on choosing to buy one.
Most rooftop solar panels are the easiest to clean as they are fixed in a slated manner that allows the water to run down the panels without leaving any trace of dirt or cleaning residue.
For people that leave in the dusty region, it makes hosing down your panels very easy.