We produce electric power directly from the sunlight using solar panels. Solar panels consist of photovoltaic cells (PV cells) that capture the sunbeam and generate DC power using it. Once installed, solar panels are low-maintenance devices. But to get the best results, you must keep an eye on your panels. Though your solar panels on the rooftop are tilted, that angle generally helps slide off the dust; you may need to clean your panels sometimes. Cleaning your solar panels is one of the most misunderstood concepts in solar power. There are different ways of cleaning your solar panels. But a lot of confusion revolves around the methods of cleaning solar panels. Also, it’s essential to know what measures we must take to clean the panels or how to do it properly. The first question that pops into your mind is if you need to turn off your panels for cleaning. Well, you may think that you don’t need to shut them off for cleaning as they are not sensitive to water. Yeah, they are not! Because they don’t get harmed due to rainfall.
Yes, you need to shut down your entire system before you initiate cleaning. Your solar panels will always keep producing DC power when exposed to sunlight, and you need to turn off the inverter to prevent the PV system from working.
Let’s catch up with a few ideas about solar panel cleaning. Also, this blog provides exact answers to some frequently asked questions about the same.
Is it safe to clean your solar panels at all?
We need to clean solar panels sometimes to get the optimal output. Most manufacturing companies suggest cleaning your panels every six months to 1 year. Cleaning your solar panels is completely safe unless you use harsh chemicals for cleaning. Harsh chemicals will surely cause damage to your panels. And I bet you won’t want to do that as they are expensive!
When you want to boost the efficiency of your solar panels, cleaning might help in some regions. You must be cautious while cleaning your panels so that your solar system and you both remain safe.
Is it safe to clean your panels while powering on?
You may get confused about solar panel cleaning. During rainfall, we don’t need to turn off the panels, so why do we need to turn them off for cleaning? Well, we won’t recommend you clean your panels while powering on, and neither does any manufacturer.
Clearly, it is not safe enough to clean your panels while powering on, and you can get yourself harmed or damage the solar panels. One of the most critical precautions in cleaning solar panels is to turn them off before starting to clean.
Why is solar panel cleaning important?
The efficiency of your solar panels experiences a hike of about 21% just by cleaning. Some believe rainwater cleans your panel, but it is a myth. Rainfall cannot clean your solar panels effectively. Thus, cleaning your solar panels is an essential step in maintenance. There are many reasons for clearing solar panels –
- As earlier said, dust and debris can decrease the solar panel efficiency almost by 21%. This number is even higher in the industrial area, at nearly 61%. Cleaning your photovoltaic panels can help you overcome this problem. As you wish that the maximum amount of sunlight comes to your panels, you must keep them clean.
- Cleaning your panels once or twice a year can help you find dents or small cracks in your PV panels. You can repair them easily before they turn into serious trouble. You can also address any other technical issues if you examine them regularly.
- Solar panel manufacturing companies suggest cleaning your solar panels every once in a while to get extended life. Yes, solar panels are not high maintenance but cleaning them increases the durability of the whole system.
Nevertheless, who doesn’t want their roofs clean? As most of the owners have their panels installed on the roof, it is necessary to keep them clean to get an exquisite look at your household. This will surely add some delicacy to your house.
Why should we turn off the panels before cleaning?
Solar panels are expensive. All of us want to take the best care of them. Cleaning the panels is a major part of the maintenance procedure. Undoubtedly, you would never want to harm your panels while cleaning. Isn’t that true?
Turning off your panels before cleaning helps eliminate the risk of harming your panels and yourself during the clearing mission. Unfortunately, if you leave the panels turned on, there is a huge risk of harming yourself. Therefore, you should turn off your system completely before cleaning solar panels.
Can you get electrocuted by cleaning solar panels?
We can’t fully deny the risk of getting electrocuted while cleaning your solar panels. The function of solar panels is to produce electricity. Although rain water doesn’t create any electrical malfunctioning in the panels, we must be cautious in dealing with wet things around it. Unless one takes proper precautions, there is always a potential risk of getting an electric shock. And you must know it can be fatal to anyone. If you plan to clean your solar panels by yourself with soap and water, you need to turn your solar system off.
There will be no risk of electrocution if the power is off and the panels are no longer producing electricity.
You also need to be sure of any crack or break in your panels. Sometimes it is hard to determine minor cracks, and this can lead you to the risk of getting electrocuted.
Also, have a look at the wiring to be safe. Electrical arcing or what we know as faulty wiring can cause energy leakage, which can even further cause solar fires. Also, this is a potential risk for you while cleaning PV panels.
Hence, if you take care of these factors, the chance of happening such an unwanted event is comparatively low.
Can you clean your solar panels by yourself?
Obviously, you can clean your panels by yourself. Also, if you don’t feel like cleaning your panels yourself, you can call a professional anytime. Appointing a professional to clean your solar panels is costly, but they’ll take the best care possible. However, if the amount of dirt in your panels is low, you can rinse them with a garden hose pipe. Then allow the panels to dry in the sun.
And if the dirt and debris built on the panels are high, you may need a soft brush and mild soap to scrub the panels gently. Cleaning your solar panels is not at all a difficult job. You just have to take care of certain things.
How to clean your solar panel?
Without any professional help, you can clean your solar panels by yourself. First, you need to turn off your system.
- Clean your solar panels with a garden hose. Choose a nozzle to get sufficient force of the water stream to reach the panels from the ground. The safest way to clean your panels is to do it from the ground.
- Choose a cold day for this job. On hotter days, the glass on the panels is hot, and cold water streams can harm them by creating cracks. You can clean your panels without hesitating on a cold day or early in the morning when the surrounding is cooler than the day.
- If you have a rainwater tank, disconnect rainwater connections or gutters to avoid getting dirty water into your tank.
- Don’t climb on the roof without adequate safety equipment.
- Sometimes there can be more dirt build-up on your panels which can’t be cleaned by just watering. All you can do is use a mild soap and some soft scrubbing squeegee to clean them up. You can’t use any harsh chemicals on the panels. Otherwise, they’ll get damaged.
Following these simple steps, you can easily clean your panels. This might seem tiring work, but once you have the right tools, you can do it smoothly.
Solar panel maintenance tips: How to get the best out of your panels
You must avoid shading in the way of light to the panels. Also, you need to clean them every once in a while to get rid of dust and dirt. But also, you need to monitor solar panel performance daily, quarterly, and yearly. This includes a thorough check-up of the circuit’s outer and inner damage.
It is necessary to turn your solar panels off to clean them. Why should we even bother to clean solar panels? Well, after going through this blog, you know already! Plenty of reasons are there to keep your panels clean. Proper maintenance can definitely extend the PV panel lifespan. You just need to take certain precautions to clean them. But if you are not confident enough or don’t want to do it alone, you can hire professionals. That is decently convenient for all of us in today’s busy life.