How to clean solar panels

Cleaning PV systems is important for retaining high production levels. However, the task might seem challenging for newcomers to solar energy. What supplies should you use? How often should you do this? In this short article we’ll talk about how to clean solar panels properly. 

Why Do You Need to Clean Solar Panels?

A while back Google conducted an experiment. Its engineers left a small solar array in a desert for over a year without any maintenance. Then they cleaned the panels and the output of that system instantly doubled. Google engineers thus concluded that cleaning ground installation is imperative for retaining high production.

When it comes to rooftop installation, experts tend to argue. Some say that rain cleans the panels just fine. However, others claim that the rain turns the dust on the panels into a layer of mud which eventually brings the output of your panels down by a lot. 

How often do you clean solar panels?

Your area and the weather in it will dictate how often to clean solar panels. Some areas are rainy and some are dusty. Generally, cleaning a rooftop installation once a year should be enough. Ground installations tend to get dirty quicker so cleaning it two times a year is reasonable. You can also simply monitor the production levels of your system and once they start to go down, that might be a sign for you to give them a little scrub. 

What is the best thing to clean solar panels with?

Cleaning solar panels is a lot like washing windows. The best things to do it with are a lot of water and a squeegee. It’s preferable to use not just any water, but deionized one or less mineral rich — it won’t leave any traces on the panels. 

What is the best thing to clean solar panels with?

You don’t want any residue on the glass, so it’s better to not use the soap. The thin layer that it leaves on the glass makes the panels slightly sticky and they get dirty quicker. If there are difficult stains, for example, bird drippings, you can use detergents, but make sure that they won’t react with any parts of a solar panel. There are special cleaning products for solar panels that you can find for sale. 

Do I need to turn off solar panels to clean?

It’s best to pick a cloudy day without much sunlight for cleaning solar panels — just like you would do with windows. Turn the system off completely before cleaning. You can order a professional solar panel cleaning service or do the job yourself. If you plan to climb the roof, be careful and have someone help you out. Try not to step on the modules — although they might be able to withstand your weight, solar panels do not like excessive pressure. After your panels are clean, let them dry for a couple of hours before turning the system back on.

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