Summer is the Time For Solar Panel Maintenance

Summer is the Time For Solar Panel Maintenance

Wait, my solar panels require maintenance?

Many homeowners assume that once their solar panels are installed there is nothing else to do except harness the sun’s energy and reap the savings rewards! However, just like outdoor siding, decks, and windows, your solar panels are exposed to the natural elements and need a good cleaning and general maintenance every so often. An annual inspection of your panels or even hosing them down on the roof may be required. Summer is here now and there is no better time to get outside and inspect your panels for any maintenance needs.

But why should my SunPower panel glass exteriors need cleaning?

The exterior of a SunPower solar cell is glass. This helps collect the sun’s rays and encourages any natural elements to roll right off. However, dirt and grime can build up over time on the surface of the panels and reduce their effectiveness. At SAVKAT, we sell only SunPower panels, but even a dirty SunPower panel will lose efficiency.

Generally, the loss of efficiencies due to dirty panels are between 1 and 4.7 percent. However, if left completely unattended, one study shows that long-term buildup can reduce a solar panel’s efficiency by as much as 20 percent! It is important to check your panels routinely to see that everything is normal, that no buildup is occurring. You can easily do this by staying on the ground and doing a quick glance to see how they look. If you notice they are looking particularly “grimy,” we have you covered!

How do I clean my solar panels?

Mother Nature does play a positive role in helping maintenance your solar panels clean year-round. Rain and snowmelt help wash off leaves, buildup, and any animal droppings. In most cases, this will be all the cleaning that the system requires. You can always stay ahead of any potential maintenance by performing a monthly visual inspection of the panels and look for any buildup. Over time, you can also keep in mind your electric bill changes: watch for any noticeable drop in efficiency and rise in cost that could indicate a time for cleaning.

If you live in a region that has a dry climate or windy weather, you may experience more accumulation requiring special attention. SunPower recommends that homeowners use a soft-bristle brush and an environmentally friendly soap to gently scrub away and lift debris from panels. Get out your garden hose extension and clean one panel at a time to minimize water marks dried by the sun. Like your car, it is best to wash your panels on a cloudy day and not in direct sunlight.

If your panels are not easily accessible, like those on a two-story home or a roof with a steep pitch, we suggest you use a high-pressure hose nozzle with an attachment that holds your soap. Spray soapy water on the panels and then quickly rinse them off – you do not want the soap to dry on the panels and leave behind an unsightly residue. The soapy residue could affect the performance of the panels and block them from efficiently absorbing the sunlight.

Tips & Tricks for Cleaning

We have compiled a list of best practices for those of you that like to “do it yourself”:

  1. Be safe. Stay on the ground and avoid climbing up onto your roof. If you must get on the roof, secure your ladder properly and use the necessary safety equipment to prevent accidents.
  2. You should always turn off your solar system before you start cleaning. Check your SunPower solar manual to see how you turn off your system. If you’re still unsure, ask your SunPower dealer (that would be your team at SAVKAT Solar!) for help.
  3. Aim for a cloudy maintenance day and get out there early or late in the day when the panels are cool. In the direct sun, water and soap dry quickly making your cleaning process more labor intensive than it needs to be.
  4. Even on a cloudy day when your panels are cool, clean one panel at a time: this will further minimize any water and soap marks left on the panels. Start from the top of the array and work down systematically.
  5. Avoid using hard, mineral-rich water. Over time, hard water can damage your equipment. If you have particularly hard water, consider purchasing a water-softening filter attachment for your hose.
  6. Use soft bristle brushes, squeegees, and environmental soap; don’t use pads or powder detergents.
  7. If you decide to use a high-pressure nozzle system, don’t get too close to the panels. While they are extremely durable, you don’t want to damage a panel or cell by blasting it with high-pressure water.

Don’t expose yourself to any risk. If you have any doubts about your ability to safely maintenance your solar panels, hire a professional. Leave a comment below telling us how cleaning your panels went!

 

Are you ready? To find out how you can go solar and become less energy dependent, request a free quote from us at SAVKAT Solar. Still have more questions? Check out our Solar 101 page or our FAQ page. If that still leaves you unsure, we are happy to answer any other questions by giving us a call at 800-860-6932.

 

Comments (23)

very informative blog. I think that all should read this blog once so that they can understand the importance of solar maintenance in summer

Thanks for sharing the important aspects of maintaining the solar panels. In this era of new developing technology solar energy is the cheapest source of energy and after installing if proper cleanliness may assure the durability and efficiency of producing electricity can be maintained over the shelf life of the product. sharing the post on the tricks and tips help to awake the people on the maintenance of panels to avoid risks and hassle-free energy.

That’s a good idea to make sure to turn off the system before you clean it. Hopefully, that could help to make it a lot easier to clean and would help you avoid any shocks. I’ll have to keep that in mind if I decide to get solar panels.

I think it’s a great idea to do monthly checks on your solar panels to make sure they aren’t being blocked up by anything. My family and I love the idea of being more eco-friendly so that we can do our part in saving the environment. We think that installing solar panels will be a great way to start this process of going green.

My neighbor installed a solar panel system last year and he is wondering how to clean it. I like how you said that an annual inspection of your panels or even hosing them down on the roof may be required. I will share this article with him so he can have in mind that it would be a better option to contact a professional to do that job for him

I want to make sure that I get the right solar panels. It makes sense that I would want to ensure that I take proper care of them after they are put in! I’ll make sure that I clean them properly.

It’s so smart to clean the solar panels on a cloudy day and really early in the morning so that the panels are cool and easy to touch. My partner and I are tired of paying the city for our power and we would rather start generating our own. It would be awesome if we could also make enough power that our city starts paying us to use some of it elsewhere.

I appreciate you explaining how important it is to let the professionals do their jobs. It can be really dangerous up on the roof and it’s easy to fall off so it’s much better to stay on the ground when you can. My wife and I want all the benefits that solar energy brings so we are hoping to install the system next spring.

I want to have some solar panels installed, but I want to make sure that they last a long time. It makes sense that I would want to ensure that I have them properly maintained! I’ll have to see f I can get some equipment so that I can keep them clean.

It makes a lot of sense to keep the panels maintained and cleaned so that they are working to their fullest capability. It’s great that you talked about how dirty panels usually only lose around 3% of their efficiency throughout the day. My parents are getting solar panels this spring because they want to generate their own power.

Thanks for your tips to do a monthly inspection of your solar panels to keep them clean, and pay extra attention if you live in a windy or dry place. My parents live in Santa Barbara and got some installed on their home about 6 months ago. With summer coming, it seems like finding a solar panel cleaning service may be a good idea for them.

I want to make sure that I take good care of my solar panels. It makes sense that I would want to get a professional to maintain them for me. That way, I can ensure that they will last a long time.

It makes senes that the outer layer of the panels is going to be made up mostly of glass to allow the sunlight to get in. My partner and I are trying to be more eco-friendly right now and we need to get some green energy going. I’ll let her know that solar power is probably the best option that we have right now because of its price, durability, and efficiency.

Thanks for pointing out that you should avoid climbing on the roof when maintaining your solar panels. My wife and I want to invest in clean energy, and we want to make sure we stay safe whenever we deal with it. We’ll be sure to keep your tips in mind as we find a solar installation service near us!

It’s amazing that you can lose up to 5% efficiency with the solar panels just because they are dirty. My brother is trying to get some new panels installed so that he can make his own power now. I think it’s a great idea for him to make sure he knows how to use them properly so they stay in really good shape.

It was really helpful when you said to wash them on a cloudy day. My husband and I recently got solar panels installed for our home a couple of days ago, and we wanted to make sure that we know how to keep them maintained. We might have to look into hiring a professional to help since we both have very busy schedules. We’ll make sure to keep this information in mind if we ever clean them on our own.

It’s scary to think that you can lose around 4% of your efficiency by refusing to do the regular maintenance. My spouse and I are trying to get solar panels this year so that we can get rid of our electricity bill. We need to find professionals that can help us install the solar panels properly so that they last a long time.

I love your idea to clean the panels when it’s a cloudy day so they are cooler. My sister wants to get some panels installed soon so that she can make her own energy. I’ll try to share this article with her so that she knows how to properly maintain them.

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