Solar Panel Underperforming Or Getting Dirty? Top Tips For Cleaning And Maintenance 2021


You have your new solar panel or you are thinking about getting one but what kind of performance lifetime can you get out of it? Solar panel cleaning and maintenance will go a long way in determining if you will get the full lifetime use or even more than its expected lifetime out of your panel.

Don’t let this happen to your panel.

Most panels are advertised to be capable of 25 years of use which is a pretty impressive lifetime. Here are some easy tips that will ensure you can maximize your investment in your equipment.

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✅ Best Portable Brush

Perfect for the cleaning job – The brush with a bit of water does the trick for an easy cleaning job on the truck and is definitely better than just hosing of the dirt from the paint with or without cleaners and soap. The brush is small enough to hide on board and large enough without losing its utility to clean. Good brush.

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✅ Best Solar Panel Cleaning Solution

Deep cleaning – After the ash from fires in California settled on my panels, the power output dropped by 40%. Water did not do the trick. Cleaning with this stuff worked so well that and another 20% of power came back.

Common Causes Of Solar Panel Underperformance

With light being the most important element in the running of a panel; It is critical to ensure that your panel is in perfect position to receive maximum light. with that said anything which blocks light from reach the solar cells within the panel will be a major drag on performance. The most common causes of stopping light are:

Dirt 

Dust is everywhere in our environment and all it takes is a little wind to get those tiny particles airborne. This slowly build up on your panel over time and decreases light reaching the cells

Animal Droppings 

Without getting too much into the messy details; we all see what pigeons do to statues… Animals don’t care where they do their business and your panel may become victim.

Vegetation

It is not wise to place your panels near vegetation which could potentially prevent light from reaching your solar panel; however nature doesn’t take a day off and trees can grow pretty quickly and branches overshadow your panel. Leaves can also be easily blown onto your system especially in fall months.

Salt Build Up

If you live on or close to  coastal areas and have solar panels installed there is 1 drawback to chilling on the beach. Ocean mist from sea waves can settle on your panel and form salt crystals as the water evaporates. It may seem harmless but these salt crystals will affect the wavelength (don’t worry too much about the nerdy stuff :-) ) of the light reaching the cells and decrease performance.

Industrial Residue

Very similar to the dirt problem; if you live near a factory or industrial zone, soot and other emissions can settle on your panel and slow them down.

The second source of under performance comes from electrical connections becoming damaged over time.

Take Action

Don’t wait till your panel starts showing signs of slowing down to clean or run maintenance on it. What you can do:

Set A Maintenance/Cleaning Schedule. 

We often have busy schedules but in most instances, a simple brushing with a very soft brush or cloth will do wonders to keeping the solar panel in tip-top shape. Brushing works best for those who are most affected by dirt, vegetation, industrial residue. A good start is to check your panels every 3 months and clean accordingly. Those affected by the salt can use fresh water to wash their panels.

Hire A Professional Service. 

If your panels were installed by a solar company; they more than likely will have maintenance and cleaning services available.

Do-it-yourselfers who installed their own panels can also seek consultation and use these services to maintain their panels. In addition, you can watch the pros and if what they are doing to clean the panel is not of a highly technical nature you could pick up the slack at some point to save a few dollars.

Tools Needed

Simple window cleaning equipment is usually enough to clean solar panels. The outer casing is of the solar panels are made of glass and a bucket+ window wiper with some soap assembly is all that is needed.

In the end solar panels are pretty durable and low maintenance pieces of equipment but will benefit tremendously from us just taking a few minutes every now and then to make sure they are not being deprived of light by various kinds of debris and that all the electrical connections are not damaged.

Have your own experience cleaning solar panels or enjoyed this post? Please consider sharing it :-)

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