Photovoltaic solar panels require very little maintenance, but ensuring that the surface of our installation is in perfect condition will not only extend its useful life but also improve its performance.
Cleaning and maintenance of solar panels step by step
That is why today we dedicate this article to offer you information on how to carry out the maintenance and cleaning of solar panels step by step.
Dust, dirt, pollen, bird droppings and leaves can affect energy production, so regular cleaning can do wonders to improve the efficiency of your self-consumption installation.
How do we get started with cleaning solar panels?
There is no need to get too complicated when it comes to cleaning solar panels or invest in sophisticated solutions. A simple neutral soap and water are enough to wash away accumulated dirt and debris.
If the dirt is a little more stubborn, you’ll need a squeegee or sponge made of a soft material, as well as an extendable handle to reach hard-to-reach places and avoid damaging the panel’s surface.
It is best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or operating manual for the best information on what cleaning products or materials should or should not be used.
However, despite the simplicity of this task, it is ideal that you have a professional to take advantage of the cleaning to detect damage or to check the status of your photovoltaic installation.
Remember that you should not turn off the system
The complete shutdown of the installation should only be carried out by a qualified professional if necessary.
To clean the solar panels
use a hose whenever possible and be sure to direct the water over the top. Although it is true that it is not a problem for a little water to touch the back of the panels, try not to do it directly.
Visual inspection of photovoltaic panels
- Check the structure that supports the panels . They are normally made of aluminium, with stainless steel components that do not require anticorrosive maintenance. But it is important to observe if there are anomalies in the cover, such as cracks or stagnation on the surface of the plates, as well as that the fixing is firm at all times.
- Check the electronic components . Do not stop monitoring the DC panel, alternating current, inverters, monitoring system, etc.
- Inspect the accumulation system . In isolated installations, that is, those that have storage systems (solar batteries), what you must take into account is to keep clean both the upper surface of the batteries and terminals, as well as the connection terminals. Also, on a more technical level, when the batteries require maintenance:
- Fill, if necessary, as indicated in the factory instructions for your battery, in order to extend its useful life and ensure good performance.
- Check the state of charge of the battery and its capacity by measuring the electrolyte density with the hydrometer. It is likely that you do not have this device, if you cannot make this measurement, try to call a professional capable of tackling this task.
- Periodically performs an equalization of the batteries to regulate their storage capacity, increase efficiency and extend useful life.
When to clean solar panels
Late spring and late fall are great times to clean your solar panels.
Choose a part of the day that is cool and the weather is mild. Think that the hot glass of the
panels and cold water can increase the possibility of cracks due to a sudden change in temperature. Also, if the sun is in full swing and the surface is receiving a lot of radiation, and therefore the temperature is high, the water you are using could evaporate quickly and leave dirty marks.
Doing your solar panel cleaning first thing in the morning is particularly good, as the dew that has settled on the installation overnight will help with any built-up dirt, meaning you’ll need to use less water and less effort to do the cleaning. good maintenance of the plates.
A cloudy day or cleaning the solar panels in the afternoon are also ideal times.
If you live in a particularly dry area, in rural settings or areas where there is more air pollution, including industrial areas or affected by construction nearby, maintenance of the plates may require more often. But this should not be more frequent than every 3 or 4 months.
It could also be taken into account if the surface of the panel is in a more horizontal position and angle and regular rain, which is a great ally for self-cleaning solar panels, cannot dislodge dirt naturally.
Other maintenance tasks for solar panels
It may be that your installation is in a place that is difficult to access, or with a high location that is difficult to access and you want to use a pressure hose system for cleaning the solar panels. Our recommendation is that you don’t.
Pressurized water could do more harm than good by damaging the surface of the panel with its force.
Also, do not attempt to access high-rise facilities without the proper safety equipment.The risk of working on roofs is high and increases when water enters the equation, making any maneuver more slippery and dangerous. For your safety, it is better to hire a specialized company or duly qualified professional.
As we have seen, the efficiency of your self-consumption installation can be reduced if your panels are covered with accumulated dust or dirt, something that in a destination like our land, the Canary Islands, is the order of the day thanks to episodes of haze. Also the plates located near the sea will be affected by the saline environment.
Therefore, maintenance and cleaning of plates is extremely necessary to obtain the full benefit of cost savings that solar energy offers you.