The topic of cleaning solar panels has been an ongoing debate, with different homeowners, installers, and manufacturers sharing their own opinions on whether the photovoltaic (PV) panels should be cleaned or not. For those who just had solar panels installed in their home, we try to answer this question and analyze the benefits of cleaning solar panels and how to clean them properly.
Should Solar Panels Be Cleaned?
The answer is yes and no. It’s been an established fact that solar panels tend to become dirty over time due to dust and dirt accumulating on the surface. This is an inevitability, but thankfully, so is rain. A little bit of rain shower is actually enough to wash away most of the dirt and grime that’s accumulated on your panels as long as your panels are pitched at least five degrees. This ensures that all those particles are washed away after the rain.
However, there are other types of substances that can put your panels under shade. Aside from pollen, dirt, and dust, substances like bird droppings, leaves, or even pieces of trash may not always be easily removed by rain. This is the time when manual cleaning is essential.
In any case, your solar panels should be kept clean at all times, as any shade that can obstruct sunlight from reaching the panels can cause your system to produce a lot less energy.
When Should Solar Panels Be Cleaned?
Solar panel cleaning should be done at least once a year. This is the optimal frequency. If combined with the annual inspections done by North Florida solar panel companies, this can aid the maintenance process of your solar energy system.
Ideally, you should perform the cleaning right at the end of winter. The reason for this is the rise in output levels with the return of the sun. It’s also recommended to clean the panels at night or during the early morning hours if you don’t want to get burned by hot Arizona solar panels, especially during summer. PV panels can become too hot to touch in the morning or the afternoon, which could pose some risks to you or the cleaner.
How is Solar Panel Cleaning Done?
The cleaning itself doesn’t require any special equipment or solution. All you need to do is get a soft cloth, dish soap, and some warm water. First, mix some dish soap and warm water and apply the solution on the panel using a soft cloth. Gently wipe the surface of the PV panel until all the dirt has been removed. You can also hose the panels down to rinse off some of the soapy water. Finally, just let the panels dry on their own or until the sun dries them off.
Knowing how and when to clean solar panels properly is crucial if you want your solar power system to perform optimally at all times. Frequent cleaning isn’t mandatory, but checking your panels every now and then for any substances or sources of shade is recommended.
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