Solar panels can be a great investment if you’re looking for a way to reduce your dependence on the power grid. With enough panels and in the right location, you can power most everything by tapping the might of the sun.
However, if you’re getting into solar energy, you’ll need to remember maintenance. Solar panels need cleaning to run at peak efficiency. Let too much gunk and grime build up, and those panels won’t do you any good.
So here’s how you should clean those panels and an idea of how often it should be done.
First, check with your manufacturer. Some of them might have specific instructions for the care of their panels or associated parts. If these exist, be sure to follow those to maximise their productivity and reduce the risk of you breaking something.
The second is to remember that there is such a thing as a wrong time of day to clean those panels.
Solar panels get incredibly hot. The higher up the sun is, the hotter they become. Hot enough to burn skin, in some cases. Your best bet is to clean it early in the morning or later in the afternoon, so there’s not as much heat going around.
You can also try to clean them on a relatively cold day, or if clouds are blocking the sun.
Check your garden hose.
You’ll first want to know if it’s powerful enough to get that high up consistently. If there’s not enough pressure, you’ll want to skip it. If there is, it’s possible that your hose is all you need.
However, if there’s been a lot of dust and dirt, a hose won’t be enough. You can use it to spray the panels, but more effort and a thorough cleaning will be required.
If you need more than a hose, grab a bucket. Throw in a spray bottle, for those smaller spots. Fill both with warm water and soap. You won’t need anything else because solar panels are designed to be easy to clean.
Clean the surface with a soft sponge or cloth. The wiring underneath can be left alone.
You’ll only need to call for professional cleaning if you encounter a tougher, more persistent stain. In such cases, you’ll want to make sure that the window cleaning company you get also handles solar panels. Not every cleaning company knows how to manage this, so check beforehand.
Now for the other question. How often do you need to clean the panels?
In general, letting the rain handle the cleaning is a good policy. If it doesn’t rain often, you’ll need more of a schedule. This requires monitoring. If your energy bills or use spikes, it could be tied to the panels not getting enough light. Check for grime and dirt.
Some people clean once every two weeks, if they’re in an area that doesn’t see much rainfall or if the conditions mean there’s always dust and other debris in the air. This is also a viable strategy, though it may not be necessary if you’re not experiencing changes in your power stability.
Be sure to run back home for more solar panel advice.