Not keen on hiring an Orange County window cleaner to help you keep your solar panels clean? Perhaps it simply isn’t in your budget. Either way, you’ll still need to keep your solar panels clean and address the debris that has settled on them if they are to continue operating at maximum efficiency. The job isn’t an easy one but you needn’t worry. The following tips come directly from professionals and can help you keep your solar electrical system functioning as it should.
Dirt And Every Decreasing Performance
Homes with solar panels installed exist in a variety of different environments, many of which will increase the frequency at which the cleanliness of your panels will need to be addressed. Not only does extreme weather such as rain, snow, and wind affect the overall health of your solar panels but their efficacy can be negatively impacted by things like trees, bushes, and of course…pests. Solar panels installed around any of the aforementioned may suffer from performance issues if they’re neglected and can become difficult to clean due to both becoming caked on and the fragility of the glass used in modern panels.
In the very best of environments, solar panels should be cleaned biannually in order to maximize their potential and efficiency. In areas where precipitation falls with regularity or there is a high level of atmospheric moisture, panels will need to be cleaned with even greater frequency; some professionals recommending a quarterly cleaning. Additionally solar panels located near trees and other types of foliage will also need to be checked and cleaned often as falling leaves, dirt, and debris will prohibit sunlight from reaching and thereby being absorbed by panels. All of this means less power storage and less savings over time; sometimes as great as a 50% drop off in performance.
Cleaning Your Solar Panels
By following these professional solar panel cleaning tips you can avert the issues associated with dirty or neglected panels and ensure that your system functions optimally at all times.
Panel Inspections – It is incredibly important to inspect individual solar panels in order to determine just how much and what type of cleaning they require. This vital first step in the process will allow you to plan and strategize the upcoming project with relative ease. These inspections also allow you to remove any sitting loose debris from your panels.
Removing Buildup – The second step in cleaning solar panels involves the removal of mild buildup. This buildup might include mud, ice, snow, or thick layers of dust. In some cases it may also include a bit of pest relocation or extermination. Buildup can be removed effectively utilizing either a soft lint free cloth or in extreme cases, a soft bristled and gentle brush. When using a brush however it is important to take care in scrubbing so as to avoid scratching the glass on your panels.
Cleaning Solution Of Choice – When it comes to cleaning solutions there exists a plethora of widely different brands, qualities, and efficiencies that you’ll need to consider. While some of the harsher chemical solutions are effective they aren’t always safe for solar panels nor for you so exercise caution in choosing one. As an alternative to the aforementioned retail cleaning solutions, you can concoct your own. Using a mild detergent, or even better, a dish soap mixed with water you’ll save money and be much safer as a result. Your panels would thank you too if they had the ability as these mixtures pose no risk to their integrity.
Don’t Forget The Framing – Too many homeowners overlook or outright ignore the framing that supports their solar panels. What these persons do not know is that the condition of the framing directly affects the health and performance of their solar power system. Such inspections might also reveal damage which can then be reported to a professional for further inspection and repair. It is imperative that you remember that dirty framing decreases your panels’ capacity for converting sunlight into usable energy.
Safety First – So eager are most people to clean their solar panels that they just climb up on their roofs and get to work with little or no mind paid to safety. This is unfortunate as the job can be dangerous to those whom work haphazardly or jump into the job unprepared. Before you climb up onto the roof of your home make sure that the ladder you intend to use is in good working order. Avoid ladders that wobble or sit unevenly as this can lead to falls and broken bones. If you’re hauling tools up a ladder and onto your roof you might also want to consider a tool belt so that your hands remain free for ascension and your eventual descent. Wearing gloves while cleaning solar panels is another good idea as these can protect your hands from chemicals, cuts, scrapes, and even small unseen pests that may have set up a home on your panels.
Baseline Readings – Knowing how your solar power system performs when it is clean and when it isn’t will give you a good idea of what type of cleaning needs to be done. Prior to any solar panel cleaning, take a close look at your systems performance. If it isn’t producing energy at previous levels you might want to consider a more thorough cleaning. If it’s levels aren’t to shabby or are close to clean levels then you’ll need only to wipe your panels down and then dry them. Knowing how your system is performing before cleaning can save you time.
Landscaping Work – Keeping solar panels clean includes more than just keeping panels themselves clean. You’ll also want to keep an eye on your landscaping. Inspect tree and bush growth to ensure that they aren’t blocking out sunlight and aren’t dropping too much debris on your panels. If it is discovered that any of the aforementioned is true, you’ll either need to do some trimming and/or removal or you will need to call in a professional for help.
Getting To Work – Once it is time to get to work there are steps you can follow to ensure that your work produces great results. At the onset of your work you will want to have all of your tools in order and ready for use. Nothing is quite as frustrating or tiring as repeated trips up and down a ladder to retrieve tools you forgot. With your tools at the ready, you should begin by rinsing your panels down with water. Utilizing a hose is your best option here though buckets work too, albeit in a diminished capacity. Once your solar panels are adequately wet you can apply your cleaning solution of choice and begin scrubbing with a soft cloth or brush to remove loose debris and buildup. Once scrubbing has been completed rinse panels once more and then inspect them to ensure all that does not belong has been removed. Should you discover your panels are indeed clean you can then move on to drying them. For drying use soft cloths. Those used in cleaning automobiles are often a great option as they are highly absorbent and very soft. A soft dry cloth will also collect any lingering dust that might have survived your initial efforts.
When In Doubt…
You may not want to hire a professional to clean your solar panels but they can be of great help when you hit a snag in your work, encounter problems, or aren’t sure how to proceed. Many are happy to answer your questions, provide additional tips, and even point you in the right direction when you find yourself in a snafu. When in doubt it is always a good idea to defer to the experiences and knowledge of a professional window cleaning expert. Doing a poor job of cleaning your solar panels or working carelessly can cost you more than it does to hire a pro and leave you feeling frustrated. Do the job right the first time, even if it means reaching out for help.