If you’ve already invested in solar panels, or are thinking about it, you need to know that their maintenance is quite simple and doesn’t require any particular skills. Also, it’s not very time-consuming, although it’s necessary if you want your investment to function perfectly.
Cleaning solar panels is pretty much the most important thing you need to do, especially in dry regions or in situations when panel tilt is minimal. You most definitely don’t want deposits of dust and other debris to prevent you from enjoying the maximal benefits of your green and energy-efficient system.
DIY Steps to Clean Solar Panels
Here are some tips you might want to consider if you wish to keep your home solar panels clean and fully functional.
Use Proper Tools for Safety
Since panels are often installed at a height that isn’t easily reached, it means you have to use a ladder or somehow reach the most remote parts of the installation. That’s where a long extension comes in handy, since you can use it from a safer height or even from the ground. If you don’t have it, you need to either invest in one or be extremely careful when cleaning your panels, since many injuries occur when people overestimate their abilities.
What Cleaning Equipment Is Necessary?
When it comes to the tools to use for cleaning solar panels, similar to window cleaning, you should get a squeegee and a hose with a nozzle that would allow you to choose different types of water streams. Avoid using any abrasive or harsh products, since they might damage the panels. Also, you shouldn’t be using detergents or abrasive powders, since they might scratch the glass.
When to Clean?
It all depends on how fast the panels get dirty. If you live in an area where there’s a lot of dust because of the winds, chances are you’ll have to clean your panels more often. So, the rule is not to do anything until you notice that there is a problem and that they are producing less energy than usual.
Once you decide to give them a good wash, choose a cloudy day or do it early in the morning or in the afternoon. The reason is simple: you want to avoid smearing your panels with water that evaporates quickly. Most people follow the recommendation to do it early in the morning, since the panels are already wet because of the settled dew, advises Sydney-based pros for solar panels. That should not only easy your job, but also help you use less energy.
What to Do with Oily Stains?
If you live in the vicinity of an airport or a particularly busy motorway, you might find that your panels often have oily stains. They won’t come off unless you use a cleaning agent, such as isopropyl alcohol, that removes oil. In case you are not sure what chemical to apply, you should always consult an expert, since you may cause more damage than good by applying a harmful substance.
Just like you might cause more problems by applying a wrong cleaning agent than by doing nothing, you may also jeopardize your own life by trying to clean the panels and climbing on the roof of your house. In most cases, the next rain will clean the panels well enough for them to continue giving you enough free power for a long time without having to clean them. You really shouldn’t obsess over every little stain or a leaf you notice.
Instead, think about the need to occasionally clean the panels before installing them. If you can achieve the same effect in terms of the amount of energy obtained, always choose a more approachable position for installation. Not only will you be able to enjoy the benefits of clean and extremely cheap energy, but you’ll also be able to help it perform well for many years to come with proper maintenance.