Once you have installed solar panels on your roof, it’s critical to maintain them. You need to ensure that you make the most out of your investment! So, how do you clean and maintain your solar panels?
Does cleaning solar panels help with their performance?
The performance of your solar panels is directly related to a set of external environmental factors: solar radiation, shade, temperature, wind speed and humidity. Another important factor that reduces the performance drastically is soiling. Losses due to soiling are associated with losses due to dust, dirt, bird droppings and smog.
The soiling losses mainly depend upon the dust factor in the locality your solar panels are installed in.
In Karachi, we have many regions with on-going construction, barren lands with very less construction or sea-facing constructions (like DHA Phase 8, Clifton Block 1, etcetera) – the amount of dust in the air of such localitites is comparatively more. The fine dust particles adhere to the solar panel’s glass, making it less efficient and therefore, producing less energy. The usual reduction in performance expected for soiling can vary from 1% to 10 % annually. This is why cleaning your solar panels is crucial! We’ve even seen numbers like 30% loss in production due to heavily soiled panels.
Here we will share some basic tips on how to keep your panels in optimum condition for the best energy production.
It comprises of two main modules: inspection and cleaning.
During the inspection phase, it is necessary to follow these steps:
- Verify that every panel is in good condition and that there is no sign of any damage on the glass surface.
- Making sure your panels are not being shaded by new objects that were not considered during the design phase.
- Verify that no sharp objects are in contact with the surface of the panels.
- Check for any sign of burns on the backs of the panels or on the PV cables.
- Ensure the mounting system is well-adjusted to the panels.
- Look for any signs of corrosion on the frames or in the cells.
- Check if the wiring behind and towards the combiner box is in good state condition (no sign of damage due to mouse-bites, corrosion, heat or humidity).
Once you ensure that all these aspects are checked, then you can move onto the cleaning phase. If any of these elements are present in the installation, it must be dealt by your solar installer to ensure timely corrections.
Too much to take in for an inspection? You do not need to worry if your solar panels are installed by MaxGreen! Our After-Sales Team may conduct these inspections on your behalf on retainer basis.
Important considerations while cleaning your solar panels:
- First and foremost, disconnect the solar array by turning off the switch on the combiner box. It is crucial for your safety to do so.
- Use a dry or wet sponge to do the cleaning of the panels.
- Use deionized water to wet the sponge. You must not use water with a high mineral content since those particles will adhere to the glass, becoming a focus of humidity or dirt.
- Never use a high-pressure hose to clean the modules.
- Try to avoid considerable temperature differences between the water that you use to clean the modules and the temperature of the panel.
- Never use very hot water to clean your panels.
- Never use an abrasive (sand-paper) or chemical material (thinner, kerosene, etc.) to clean the modules.
- Never ever clean a solar module with broken glass or with signs of exposed wires. This is dangerous and could lead to an electric shock hazard!
Cleaning solar panels is a common chore these days, if you are not sure whom to contact to clean your solar panels for you. Feel free to contact us on our numbers: +92 21 35340586, +92 303 2117909.
How often you should clean your solar panels?
The right inspection for PV solar systems should be every 6-12 months, with cleaning to be done yearly or bi-annually – depending on the soiling on your solar panels. It’s best to get professional advice if you’re unsure. You may contact our team to get a professional advice.
What is the best time to conduct cleaning of your solar panels?
When you choose to clean your solar panels, it is advisable to do it during early morning (6:00 am) or late afternoon (5:00 pm). This will reduce the possibility of electrical shock hazard, will reduce the energy losses during the maintenance procedures. This will also make the cleaning of your solar panels practical since the temperature on them will be much lower (panels can reach temperatures of up to 70 ºC or more, so they can get pretty hot!).
Qualified professionals are aware of the safety, correct equipment, cleaning solutions, & optimum times to clean panels; and should be contacted for advice if your attempting to do it by yourself.
The maintenance of solar panels involves two main phases: inspection and cleaning. Within the inspection phase, it is crucial to check for damage, burns or mechanical instability in the PV system. During the cleaning phase, it is essential to turn off the DC switch on the combiner box and use deionized water to clean your panels. It is also advisable that at least two people be present during the maintenance.
Your solar installer will design the system with a ground wire connected to the aluminum frames of the PV modules to eliminate the possibility of shock hazards when touching the frames, so you can be confident to touch the modules. However, never forget that PV panels will still be generating electricity, so be careful not to touch any exposed surface!
In case you are still unsure about the inspection and cleaning procedures, you may contact us right away!