How to Clean Solar Panels
After having invested a considerable sum of money in your installation of solar panels (especially if they are photovoltaic), you are interested in them to make the most of their possibilities. The operating efficiency of a solar panel depends on the amount of sunlight that reaches it.
Therefore, it is very convenient to study the location of the solar panels at the time of doing the study and project. See what shadows will affect them throughout the day, if in the place chosen for your site you will be able to guide them from the best possible shape (for example, a south-facing roof with the right inclination), etc.
In the same way that the shadow of a chimney or trees, or a lousy orientation would damage its performance, the dirt that is deposited on the surface of the panels also leads to a lower production of electricity. Therefore, it is essential to schedule some simple maintenance and cleaning tasks to remain in perfect condition. With this you maximize production, and you will make the investment profitable beforehand.
When exposed to the open air, panels can get dirty for many reasons: pollen from plants and trees, salt deposits if you live in coastal areas, dust in urban areas, leaves and other plant residues and, of course, bird droppings. Any of these factors, independently of the rest, could cause a reduction in the amount of electricity produced, so cleaning the panels is essential in all cases.
How to keep the solar panels clean?
Although the rain can sometimes help something in the cleaning of your solar panels, it is advisable to clean them between 3 and four times a year so that they continue at full capacity.
When cleaning solar panels, it is important to remember not to use abrasive detergents or harsh cleaning tools (use sponges, microfiber material…) that can permanently damage the surface of the panel reducing its productive capacity. You should also take into account the quality of the water you use, since if the water is well or network water with hard water, drying will leave on the panel a film of mineral salts, also reducing their efficiency.
The best way to clean a solar panel is to use a soft sponge or chamois, and a bucket with water in which you will have diluted a small amount of dishwasher. Do not use a lot of soap or it will be much more difficult to clear it thoroughly, and you will run the risk of remaining.
First of all, wet the panel carefully and make sure that the dirt is well soaked so that it is easier to remove and do not scratch the surface of the board when dragging it with the cloth or sponge. It clarifies abundantly with water of good quality (not hard waters or coming from wells).
If your panels are in a complicated location, in height and you do not see yourself capable of cleaning them, you can always contact a company specializing in panel cleaning.
Final tips on cleaning solar panels
- Do not use pressure washers: it is very tempting to use them because the work is done very fast and the dirt comes out very fast, but you could damage them permanently. If you find yourself with a persistent gait, let it soak and rub it carefully later.
- To carry out an inadequate cleaning can revoke the guarantee of the manufacturer, so be very careful and in case of doubts, contact professionals.
- Apart from the care for working at heights, take care of the aspect of safety regarding electrocution risks: water and electricity are not right combinations. Use protective insulating materials and extreme caution.
- Avoid windy days for cleaning the panels, or dirt and dust that rise with the air, will stay stuck to the surface of the board and you will not get good results.
- Do not abuse the detergent and use water of good quality (no hard waters or wells)
With all this, you will get your panels in optimum condition and amortize in less time the cost of your solar installation.