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Solar Panel Cleaning and Maintenance: Best Practices

Solar energy is one of the most commonly used renewable energy. It is entirely renewable and harnessed from the sunlight, which is generously available. It leaves a minimum carbon footprint, making it eco and environmentally friendly. Not only that, it allows the user to save a lot of cash over its life spans. Here it is essential to mention that the solar panel system involves a considerable upfront investment, and the user expects it to perform with excellence throughout its lifetime. It requires limited maintenance, but still, it is vital to take care of the solar panel so that it can perform to its maximum. Regular maintenance and cleaning will ensure that the solar panel system functions appropriately now and in the future.

Moreover, it’s cleaning and maintenance is not too complicated. It is quite simple. The users can do it themselves, including simple record keeping and checking the batteries and electrical system. Cleaning is critical for removing snow or debris. The article will highlight a few best practices recommended while cleaning and maintaining your solar panel system.  

Cleaning your Solar panel system

Dirty solar panels have a minimal effect on the solar system performance. Research shows it reduces the system performance on average by 0.05 percent efficiency, which can add up to $20 per annum for homeowners. Cleaning the solar panels can help the system perform to its maximum. How frequently you have to clean your system depends on the location of your installation and the climate. In some cases, the regular rainfalls help in removing debris.

On the other hand, if the solar panel is exposed to the buildup of tree debris, bird droppings, or dust, it becomes necessary to clean the system manually. Cleaning a solar panel is like washing a car. It is simple and easy. You can use a hose to rinse the panels and wipe them with a soft cloth or sponge. If needed, you can use a small amount of dish soap as well. Avoid using anything abrasive as it can damage the panels. You can clean your solar panel system early morning or in the evening. Before cleaning the solar panel system, always remember the following points: 

  • Also, check the panel manufacturer instructions for shutting the solar system.
  • If you have roof-mounted solar panels, avoid going on the roof for cleaning as it’s dangerous for you and your system. 
  • Always brush the loose dust before using water. It will make the squeegeeing process easier and quicker.
  • Use a nozzle attachment with the hose. If dust, dirt, and debris are accumulated on the solar panel, you may clean it thoroughly.  
  • You can use a brush or a soft-bristled broom. The users living in snowy areas need to brush the excess snow off regularly.
  • The abrasive material or metal objects can scratch the solar panel glass. 
  • In case you live in a region with mineral-rich water or hard rainwater, always use the cloth to dry the panel and remove any additional mineral deposited. 
  • In case you are planning to clean snow from a rooftop panel take necessary precautions, wear heavy-grip shoes and a strong harness.

Racking

Racking is used in mounting the solar panel. It is the hardware used in the solar panel system, including pole mounts and the tilt legs. The system can be floor mounted or roof-mounted. Before selecting the type of hardware, it is important to consider the system structure, cost, weather, and many other factors. It is recommended to check the racking at least once a year, followed by cleaning, inspecting any signs of damage, losing hardware, or debris accumulation. Cleaning the floor-mounted system rack is easy and simple. In case you are planning to check the roof-mounted rack for the rooftop panel, take necessary precautions; wear heavy-grip shoes and a strong harness.

Solar Panel Maintenance

Solar panel systems have a long life. You can add to their longevity by regularly checking its performance and ensuring that everything is working and is in good condition. The requirement can vary with the individual system, but commonly the users can easily do it themselves.


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    solar panel racks

    Wiring & Electrical

    It is recommended to inspect the fittings, electrical conduit, ground conductors, etc., at least once a year. You should check for any visible electrical hardware and record any signs of damage or security concerns. It is important to ensure that PV wiring/cables are not touching the roof. PV wire should be fastened securely to the panel farm or ranking with wire clips.
    solar panel cleaning

    Batteries

    The battery bank is an expensive addition to your system. It can help your system performance during breakouts as it limits the system’s dependence on the grid. It is recommended to schedule battery maintenance regularly. It is essential to ensure system efficiency and longevity. Different batteries require different maintenance. For example, a lithium-ion battery requires no or little maintenance, whereas others need frequent up keeping. Following tip can help you save you battery running efficiently:

    • Program voltage set points and charge the battery bank charges properly.
    • Refill flooded lead-acid batteries after 2-4 weeks with distilled water. 
    • Regularly check the battery’s charge. Apply an equalization charge every 90 days. (Do not equalize lithium batteries or sealed lead-acid)
    • Cables and terminal connections should be cleaned regularly to prevent corrosion.

    The solar panel is beneficial on multiple levels. It is cost-effective and eco-friendly. Solar energy is an effective way to make your home green and energy-efficient. It is not only effectively reduces carbon footprint, halts environment and climate crisis, but also saves the user hot cash. 

    Simultaneously, it involves huge investment, and to ensure return on investment (ROI), the solar panel system must perform at its maximum through its lifespan. It requires low maintenance, but nevertheless taking care of it helps boost its performance for a long. For that, it is recommended that a solar panel system should be cleaned regularly. Moreover, wiring, electrical, racking, and batteries should be checked after preset intervals.

    solar panel batteries

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