Around this time of year, many of us are busy doing some much-needed organizing, tidying up and other spring cleaning around the house to get ready for summer. If you are a solar power owner, you may be tempted to give your solar panels a good spring cleaning, too.
A solar panel is made up of solar cells that are covered by a protective glass coating. The dirtier that glass gets, the less sunlight that will get through to your cells and the less power your system will generate.
In fact, dirty panels may cause your system to some of its operating potential. Monitoring your system’s performance may help determine if your panels need cleaning, as a drop in power production may be a sign that a buildup of debris on the panels is to blame.
Generally speaking, cleaning your solar panels is only needed on occasion to keep them free of large accumulations of debris. Tweet This
For the most part, your system will be doing just fine on its own up on your roof generating clean, green power to help power your home or business.
From time to time, it’s a good idea to check in on you rooftop panels and ensure that the glass surface of the panels is free and clear of large accumulations of:
- Bird droppings
- Other debris
If you need to wash debris off your panels, avoid using soap, abrasive powders or other detergents to scrub them, as these can scratch or smear the glass and damage your panels.
If a tree branch or other large items has fallen on your panels, it should be removed immediately and your panels and the rest of the solar system should be inspected for any damage. If you detect damage such as cracked glass, you should contact your solar power installer to come out and make any necessary repairs.
There are services you could hire to come out and clean your solar panels on a regular basis or as needed. Some specialize in cleaning solar panels but most window washers will also clean solar panels. In most cases, cleaning your solar panels can be a do-it-yourself project by using a garden hose to rinse off the surface of your panels. Some people will use a squeegee like is used to clean car windows to get their panels squeaky clean, so that’s an option.
If you are going to clean your panels, it’s advised to do it in the early morning or evening hours when the sun isn’t beat down, as water sprayed on the hot panels may evaporate too fast to clean the panels. If a light scrubbing is needed to remove stubborn debris, do so only with a soft cloth or sponge. Don’t use metal tools to scrape anything off your panels.
Of course, be safe when cleaning your panels, especially if it involves climbing onto the roof. Whenever it’s possible, clean your panels from the ground to avoid falls or other accidents.