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Keeping Solar Panels Clean and Efficient

Ashleigh AngellSeptember 20, 20184700

Keeping Solar Panels Clean and Efficient

While cities with heavy annual rainfall will not have to clean their panels as often as those who live in a windy desert, cleaning your solar panels when they begin to accumulate dirt and grime will keep them running at top efficiency. It is especially important to keep an eye on your panels if their tilt is minimal, as this will decrease the amount of residue that naturally falls off. It’s also important to keep an eye on them if you live in a dry area or by the sea. From bird droppings to leaves to even the residue from sea salt, many things can get on your solar panels and make them run at less than optimal efficiency.

How Grime Decreases Efficiency

You may be wondering how exactly dirt and grime manage to reduce the efficiency of your panels. After all, they are large plates covered with glass and metal, and a little bird dropping here and there may seem insignificant. However, having a dirty solar panel will mean that the grime is blocking out the sunlight. While some leaves won’t make your panels stop working altogether, they will decrease the number of cells absorbing light from the sun, and because of this, reduce how much energy is actually being driven into your home. On top of that, their electrical components mean they are prone to get damaged from an abundance of dirt and sea salt.

When to Clean Them

The recommended time to clean your solar panels is actually more frequently than you might think - every six months. Generally, you’ll want to do it in late spring and in late autumn. While six months is the recommended time for the average home, you should also put your living situation into consideration when deciding when to clean your panels. For instance, if you have a lot of construction right next to your home that’s blowing extra dirt and debris towards your panels, you should think about cleaning them more regularly.

You Can Clean Them Yourself or Hire Someone

Always remember, safety first! If you aren’t able-bodied, can’t do it from the ground, or don’t have the knowledge on how exactly to clean them, make sure you hire an accredited technician to do it for you. While this could cost up to $400 every few months, the last thing you want is to do it yourself without the proper equipment and safety knowledge and end up falling from your roof.

As for how exactly to clean them, given all the requirements are met for you to do it yourself, you’ll simply use a brush and squeegee. Before doing anything, however, it’s a good idea to have a technician look at your panels and ensure there are no defects in the system that could hurt you while you clean it. This will need an extension arm in order to reach the roof. First, brush the roof off to remove any debris. Then, use a hose to water it down. After that, use the squeegee to get it cleaned off and remove any debris the brush couldn’t get off. Finally, rinse the panels with the hose again.

Make sure you don’t use any abrasive cleaning products, which can hurt your glass. Make sure you don’t rinse the underside of the panels with the hose and are only spraying the top. Don’t wash them when they’re hot, as this can cause injury.

Want more tips and tricks for your solar lifestyle? Check out the HahaSmart blog!

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