As promised, here I am paying it forward – giving you the tips I got from Bob about cleaning and maintaining my solar panels. Perhaps you don’t know this, but it is important to keep them clean and well-maintained. Dirty solar panels tend to block the sun and stop solar panels from working properly. You can increase the energy output by at least 30 percent only by regularly cleaning them.
Here is how you can do that.
- Cleaning solution
- Soft sponge or towel
- Squidgy or other window-cleaning tool (optional)
How to manually clean your panels
First, you’ll want to make sure that you have safe access to your solar panels. For example, if your solar panels are situated on your roof, be sure that you have a method of securing yourself to the roof as you clean your panels so you to not risk personal injury.
Cleaning solar panels is very similar to cleaning glass windows; you’ll want to begin by coating the surface in water and your cleaning solution completely to loosen dirt and other grime. You don’t have to worry about getting your solar panels too wet, as electrical components are protected underneath the surface. Moreover, solar panels are waterproof, after all!
Next, use your sponge or squidgy to remove the cleaning solution – and accompanying dirt – completely. Try to avoid any streaking so that your cleaned solar panels don’t have any residue left behind.
Many people who have solar panels also prefer to use environmentally-friendly cleaning products, which is fine as long as the cleaning products remove all layers of dirt and grime. You may want to test your cleaning products on transparent windows before using them on solar panels, as it will be easier to see how effective the products are on a clear surface that you can see through than on a darker surface.
Also, when you clean your solar panels, be sure to remove sticks, leaves, and other debris that may have fallen onto or in between your solar panels. In order for solar panels to work effectively, they cannot be covered, which means that they are exposed to all elements and could become easily damaged. Periodically checking for and removing debris from your solar panels can help to reduce the risk of damage.
Automatic solar panel cleaning systems may be a good option
If your solar panels are located in an area that is difficult or unsafe to reach, it may be wise to install an automatic solar panel cleaning system. This type of system works similarly to windshield wipers on a car by using a spray-hose device along with a mechanical arm that will wipe dust and dirt away from the surface.
Here’s a final tip for helping you maximize the output of your solar panels: by simply installing your solar panels at a tilt – or on an angle – your panels will be cleaned naturally every time it rains. You may notice that, over time, dirt may accumulate in the corners of the panels, but this accumulation does not tend to make a significant difference in the energy output of the solar panels. Therefore, by simply installing your solar panels at a tilt – rather than flat – you can improve their efficiency by helping them to stay clean naturally.