Solar panels have become an essential part of the house. They are environmentally friendly and help reduce the electricity bill. And just like any other home appliance, solar panels need regular maintenance. In this article, we look at how to clean solar panels, when to clean them and the cleaning steps. For solar panels to perform effectively, they need regular cleaning and maintenance. Without doing this, they will be prone to dirt which will affect their performance and longevity. But what causes dirty solar panels? How do you clean solar panels?
First, let’s look at some of the common causes of dirty panels.
What Causes Dirty Solar Panels
Common causes of dirty solar panels are from weather elements like dust, leaves, and bird droppings. Let’s look at some of the elements that cause dirty solar panels.
The majority of solar panels are designed to endure the Australian weather. Though rains can wash away loose dirt, if the water gets to the undersurface of the panels, it can interfere with its performance.
Statistics show that dust accumulated over time reduces the panel’s performance by 60%. If you live in an area prone to high degree levels of dust, like within a construction site or a highway, you’ll need to clean your panels more than homeowners in other locations.
Bird droppings affect both the panel’s performance and cause hot marks on the panel.
When to Clean Your Solar Panels
The majority of solar panel providers recommend that you should clean your panels every 6 months. However, this will vary depending on your location and weather conditions. When cleaning, it’s advisable to do it early in the morning or late in the afternoon. When cleaning is done when it’s too hot, the cleaning materials and water will quickly evaporate leaving residues on your panels. These residues will impact your panel’s overall performance.
How to Clean Your Solar Panels
Whether you decide to clean the solar panels yourself or hire a professional, this is the standard cleaning procedure.
1. Turn off the solar panel system
For safety reasons, turn off the system before you start cleaning. Ensure you switch off the AC and DC isolators. Without doing so, the reaction between liquid and electricity can be fatal.
2. Brush loose dirt before washing
Brushing off loose dirt before cleaning helps make your work easier when you get down to it. Also, it will save you time.
3. Use a hose and soapy water
By using a hose and soapy water, it gets rid of the dirt easily without using too much pressure.
4. Wash panels with a soft brush or cloth
Avoid using tough scrubbing materials like a steel brush. This may scratch the panels and cause shading. Shading interferes with solar production.
5. Prevent water streaks with a squeegee
Squeegees help avoid shading of the panels as they wipe water streaks dry. When you notice your solar panels aren’t performing as they used to, you may need to have your solar panels professionally cleaned.