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Keepin’ it clean

Handy DIY tips to help you keep your solar panels looking sharp and working at their best.

A well-serviced machine is one that delivers the best results, and the same can be said about solar panels. Only in this case maintenance is minimal, all you have to do is ensure that your panels are clean and clear to soak up the best they have to offer.

Why do we need to clean solar panels?

At its most basic level, a solar system generates power when sunlight hits the surface of the panels. If anything were to obstruct this, the efficiency of the panels reduces and consequently the energy output. However, it’s not just trees or clouds that obstruct sunlight. Dust, leaves, grime and even bird droppings that settle and accumulate on the panels also prevent sunlight from reaching the solar cells and prevent the panels from functioning at optimum capacity.

Do-it-yourself

Solar panels are generally self-cleaning, as the rain usually does the job for you. However, depending on where you live and the tilt of your panels, you may need to put in a little effort. Ideally, panels should be cleaned once in 6 months. Here are a few tips to keep in mind, when cleaning your panels on your own.> Most experts recommend having a professional technician check for defects, chips, etc. And ensure that all cables are securely in place.

> Clean panels from the ground using long-handled equipment. Avoid climbing up on the roof. If you must, ensure that you take necessary safety precautions like wearing a safety harness and hardhat.

> Ensure that your solar system is turned off while cleaning. Or check your manual for specific instructions.

> Ideally, clean panels early in the morning, in the evening or on an overcast day. This prevents water from evaporating, leaving behind smeared dirt.

> Do not wash panels when they are too hot and do not use warm water on panels when they are cold.

> Brush off loose materials, like leaves, before spraying the modules with water.

> Do not use metallic or abrasive equipment to clean your panels. A soft sponge of squeegee will suffice.

> Clean water and a sponge is often enough to get the job done. Use mild soapy if required.
Avoid harsh detergents and powders as they can scratch the glass and leave behind a residue. Similarly, be careful when using mineral-rich, hard water.

> Spray water only on the surface of the panels, not the back or in gaps between the roof and panel.

> Ensure that you finish off by rinsing with clean water and dry with a squeegee.

DIY Vs Professional Services

Getting rid of dust and leaves isn’t too much of a challenge and can easily be tackled. However, when dealing with more difficult issues and if the job is too big a task and risky too, it is best to rely on a professional cleaning service.

Cleaning solar panels cannot be a half-hearted job, it requires time, effort and caution. It is worth it though, done right, cleaning your solar panels at regular intervals will help your system function optimally so that you can enjoy all the perks of going solar.

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