So, you’ve finally made the switch to solar energy, or you’re thinking about it. In order to protect your investment and get the most out of it moving forward, there are some maintenance basics that you’ll need to keep in the back of your mind.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you’ll have to go “all-out” and follow a rigid routine of daily cleaning. Fortunately, solar panel upkeep is relatively simple.
In fact, it’s one of the most low maintenance ways to have a positive impact on the health of the environment. Aside from minor upkeep, they are pretty hands-off.
In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the ins and outs of solar panel cleaning.
Check for Debris on a Weekly Basis
With ground-mounted solar panels, it’s relatively easy to see if you have debris collecting. However, if you have a roof system, it can be trickier to tell, and easy to forget about if your panels are mounted on a part of the house that is not visible from the street. Chances are the wind will take care of most of the debris for you, but it’s better to play it safe.
A simple, weekly check will allow you to remove any build-up before it has the chance to cause issues. When you’re doing this, be sure to gently move the materials away from the surface of the panel and avoid roughly brushing them off.
This will help you to prevent accidentally scratching up the surface.
The Rain Isn’t Always Enough to Wash Away Dirt
While the natural rainfall will certainly help and do its part in clearing off the dust and dirt, it isn’t always enough on its own. Although the surface of your panel may appear clean after a storm, rainfall can leave behind residue on your panels that isn’t visible at first glance.
This is because there is often a small amount of dirt in the rainwater itself along with other particles. A thin layer of film might not seem like a big deal, but if you let it build up for too long, it can reduce the efficiency of your panels by quite a bit.
Even Washing Your Panels Once a Year Can Improve Efficiency
Beyond basic debris removing, it is recommended by most solar experts that you give your panels a thorough cleaning at least once a year. An annual clean up has been found to improve energy output by as much as 12% when compared to panels that were only cleaned by rainfall. If you have time to bump it up to twice a year, even better!
There are a lot of products and cleaning solutions available that are formulated for use on solar panels. There are even solar panel cleaning robots - but most find that mild soap and a soft, glass friendly cloth do the trick just fine.
You’ll want to do your cleaning early in the morning or in the evening. When the sun is out in full force, solar panels can heat up quickly and make the washing experience more difficult. This is especially true in the summer months.
If you’re working with roof-mounted panels, be sure that you’re going about it safely! If you’re working with hard to reach spots, try attaching the cloth that you’re using to an extendable brush so that you aren’t putting yourself at risk of falling.
Have any questions about solar panel maintenance?