How To Maintain And Clean Small Solar Panel Systems
Maintenance is the key to maximising benefits from your solar power investment. But it doesn’t mean that your solar panel system maintenance is best left to the professionals.
If you have a small scale solar installation of 5kWp or less, you can easily take care of it on your own. You don’t need to hire an expert to do so.
The maintenance for a lower capacity system is actually simple and can be done by homeowners themselves. If you have not signed an annual maintenance contract with your solar installation company, then use the following tips for cleaning solar panels on your own:
Solar panel maintenance
Solar panels use sun light and not the heat to generate power. The lesser your panels’ exposure to sunlight, the lesser power your solar PV system will generate. This is why cleaning your solar panels regularly is crucial to maintaining system efficiency.
Other than the shade from trees or surrounding buildings, the following commonly obstruct solar panels from absorbing maximum sunlight:
- Bird droppings and dust
- Build-up due to pollutants in the air
- Fallen leaves
Tips for cleaning solar panels
Panel Cleaning material
Use a non-abrasive cloth and biodegradable soap to get rid of dirt and muddy build-up on your panels. You can even use a typical garden hose. When Insolergy installs solar panels for home, the company offers a cleaning kit that includes a standard water hose and a cleaning pole that can be used to scrub the panels.
Note: Rinse your panels thoroughly in order to avoid any dried residue/dirt build-up. Do not use detergents and abrasive powders if possible as these are harsh and may streak or scratch the glass of the panel.
Ideal cleaning time
Avoid using water on the panels when they are hot for e.g. during mid-day. The chances of panel glass cracking due to the sudden change in pressure are high that time. Also, water will quickly evaporate due to the hot sun leaving behind dried dirt.
The ideal time to clean your panels with water is before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
Method to clean solar panels
Bird droppings are a common nuisance and getting rid of them is a little tricky. Avoid using sharp metal objects or harsh abrasive products to scrape off caked on materials. As far as possible, use the aforementioned water and cloth to scrub off the dirt and build-up.
Keep a tab on the regular energy output of your system. One of the first signs of improper or irregular cleaning patterns is lower system performance.
Your solar power provider will give you an idea of how frequently you should clean your panels. The factors that can decide the cleaning frequency are:
Location: The amount of rainfall you receive, air pollution, number of sunny days, humidity, dust, etc. are all factors related to the location of your panels. A coastal town such as Mumbai experiences nothing like the dry climate of Delhi, thus the cleaning schedule for both the cities will differ.
Did you know?
According to new research, the smog and dust that chokes millions across India are also lowering solar power generation by more than 25 percent. This negative interference is causing steep drops in solar power generation.
The tilt angle of your panels: If your panels are steeply tilted they will stay much cleaner as compared to panels that are not.
Windblown dust: The dustier your area, higher the obstruction for your panels to absorb sunlight.
Other things to keep in mind
It is safe to turn your solar PV system off before you commence any cleaning to avoid mishaps. Also, inspect the system for cracks in modules, damaged cables, excessive dirt on panels, etc.
In case of slanted roofs, it is extremely dangerous to clean your rooftop panels when they are wet for e.g., just after it has rained. The panels are slippery and chances of losing your footing are high. Also, if cleaning the panels from the ground is not possible, avoid climbing on the roof without safety equipment and training. Hiring a professional service for such a task is more advisable.
The solar energy systems installed by Insolergy are completely accident-proof and need not be turned off during cleaning.
About Insolergy Technologies
Insolergy is one of the top solar energy companies for rooftop solar solutions in Maharashtra, India.