Best Way to Clean Solar Panels
Solar panels don’t need a whole lot of maintenance but they should be regularly cleaned in order to get the maximum efficiency and power from it. We have discussed the right way of cleaning Photovoltaics so you can easily know and apply the given method.
The first thing you need to do is to know about your manufacturer’s recommendations on How to Clean Solar Panels as they know their product better than anyone. If there aren’t any specific guidelines on how to clean solar panels on roof then you should follow the steps we’ve mentioned:
Clean with soft cloth or sponge:
In the earlier stages of operation solar panels can be cleaned with just a simple cloth or sponge as the dust particles are soft and can be removed easily. However, if excessive dirt and dust has accumulated then you need to clean it more thoroughly with soap water.
Method- how do you clean solar panels:
Fill a jar or bucket with warm water and soap/detergent and mix it well, now put the sponge or cloth in the bucket and clean the solar panel with it. No other special equipment is needed for this process – it is important to not wet the wiring underneath.
If your panels are way up on the roof then we highly recommend you to do the job with professional solar panel cleaners as it can be risky to climb up and do it yourself.
Why should I clean my solar panels?
We all know that dirt, dust, bird droppings, pollen, and other messes can hae negative effect on solar panel efficiency. Google conducted an innovative experiment at their massive 1.6 MW solar farm in Mountain View, California and found that cleaning the solar is by far a most effective way to maximize the energy they produce. Another spectacular finding that they produced was that cleaning solar panels that had been in operation for over a year infact doubled their electricity output.
Does Rain does the job?
Many people have this option in mind on how to wash solar panels with rain- Now you will be thinking well rain can help but in-fact it helps very little. The study from Google also found that solar panels that were cleaned by professionals had as much as 12% higher output of electricity compared to those cleaned by rain.
How much money would it cost me to neglect solar panel cleaning?
It is assumed that photovoltaics (PV) can loose up-to 25% of their efficiency if not cleaned well. This literally means that their efficiency will decline and they will generate 15-25% less electricity, which is costly as you will have to purchase it from the utility company at their expensive price rates.
So its better to invest in the cleaning of solar panels rather than paying for electricity it in the long run.
How often should I clean my solar panels?
It depends on the area you are living, if you live in a dusty environment then you have to clean it more frequently possibly once a month. If you are living in a clean environment then once or twice a year would be enough. Generally there is more pollution in winter than summer, thats why the spring is a good time to do an annual cleaning. Studies have found that cleaning Solar panels once a year can product 3.5% more electricity while cleaning it twice can product 5.1% more electricity compared to those panels that are left uncleaned.
However, Solar panels that are installed near sources of pollution such as factories, freeways, and airports need to be cleaned regularly. In extreme weather conditions such as autumn and winter it is advised to clean the snow and remove the leaves for getting better performance.
The best experiment you can do to monitor dirt effects on your solar panels is to check the power output at different times. Monitor changes in the power output of your solar panels before and after cleaning. Experiment with different time intervals and evaluate what works best for you.
The viewing angle of your solar panels also determines its performance and cleaning as tilted panels are better compared to flat panels.
Cleaning solar panels is very much similar to that of cleaning windows It is not very time-consuming either.
Neglecting to clean your solar panels is not much different than throwing money out of the window. You can also install self-cleaning solar systems that are now available for lazy folks like me J that are willing to spend extra money.