May 13, 2019

Do Your Solar Panels Require a Spring Cleaning?

Solar panels and solar energy in general are a great way to get involved in the renewable energy movement, to reduce some of the cost of living in the long run, and most importantly, to help make out planet just a little bit cleaner and better for all life.

However, what deters a lot of people is that they don’t really know much about solar energy and electricity production from solar panels.

One of the most common questions people ask solar energy professionals at Action Air Conditioning, Heating and Solar is how the solar panels are cleaned. Here is what they had to say.

Do You Need to Clean Your Solar Panels?

Seeing how your solar panels will be outside and exposed to the elements, you would expect them to get very dirty and lose their effectiveness very quickly.
However, that is not always the case. In most situations, solar panels are installed in places where there aren’t any trees which might shed their leaves and obstruct the solar panel.

Other than physical barriers like fallen leaves, the most common thing you can expect to come into contact with your solar panels is rain (and snow, depending on where you live and the time of the year). However, that is just water which can actually help clean your solar panels.

Are There Situations When Your Solar Panel Must Be Cleaned?

In some parts of the country, particularly the desert areas, there might be some more serious dirt and debris on your solar panels. The film of dirt can and does obstruct the effectiveness of the solar panel, which is a clear indication that you should clean your solar panel.

Most solar panel installers agree that the loss due to the dirt probably never exceeds 10% of the effectiveness, but that is still a considerable amount of productivity lost.

How to Clean a Solar Panel

Solar panels are somewhat delicate and should not be handled by non-professionals in most situations. If you are unsure about something with your solar panels, consult your solar installation company for clarification and help.

However, cleaning solar panels is, for the most part, a very simple and short task. Namely, all you are supposed to do is apply copious amounts of water to the panel until it looks clean.

What Not to Do with a Solar Panel

Still, be careful when cleaning your solar panels because improper cleaning might damage them. First and foremost, never use a pressure washer on your solar panels. The pressure of the water may (and probably will) damage the inner workings of the solar panel.

Another thing you don’t want to do is damage the top reflective film of the solar panel. Without this layer, the solar panel loses a large percentage of its effectiveness. This layer can be damaged by something like a hard-bristled brush, so if you really have to use a brush, use one with very soft bristles.

How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Solar Panels?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the amount of rainfall each year, the surrounding flora, and many others.

The solar installation company which puts up your panels should give you some instructions on how and how often you should clean them.

Most experts agree that a single spring and summer cleanings are enough, whereas the fall typically requires two cleanings in order to keep your photovoltaic system in top form.

Having solar panels installed on your home is the step in the right direction, and keeping those panels in good working order can be as important as installing them in the first place.

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