Solar panels are elements that hardly need maintenance in the 25 years of useful life that they usually offer. Now, if we want to make sure that we are getting the best possible performance with them, it is essential that we clean them from time to time. Cleaning solar panels can also help us detect imperfections, which can lead to larger breakdowns if we do not pay them the attention they need.
How to clean solar panels
In this article we are going to explain how to clean thermal solar panels and photovoltaic solar panels. We teach you what products to clean solar panels are necessary, as well as the accessories you should use and how often to clean the solar panels. Keep reading this article to learn how to do it the right way.
Solar panel cleaning products
The first thing we must do before starting to clean solar panels, both thermal and photovoltaic, is to equip ourselves with the necessary accessories to clean solar panels. This will allow us remove traces of dust from the surface accumulated by the rain, as well as bird droppings or mud that —over time— become encrusted and cause a loss in the performance of the solar panels, being able —in some cases— to reduce the expected productivity by 50% .
Accessories for cleaning solar panels are very simple and can be found in practically any home. These are:
- bucket with water: The water should be lukewarm, this way we will be able to remove the dirt that has stuck more easily.
- Accessories for cleaning solar panels: We can use a clean cloth, a polyester brush with thick bristles, a mop or even a hose with water. Make sure to use accessories that cannot scratch the glass of the solar panel.
- Soap: Always use a neutral soap and apply a small amount so that it does not foam. Never use abrasive liquids as these can damage the surface of the photovoltaic or thermal solar panel.
- Pole: The pole will be necessary in cases where it is difficult to access the solar panels – usually when they have been placed on a roof with coplanar type supports—.
How to clean photovoltaic solar panels
Once we have in our hands the products to clean solar panels, we can proceed to clean them. The way in which you should perform the cleaning is as follows.
- Get the solar panels wet before you start removing dirt. In this way you will get it to soften and be easier to take off.
- Moisten the accessory to clean solar panels —either a cloth, a mop or any other object that cannot scratch them—.
- Wipe the solar panel in a zigzag pattern, just like you would when cleaning windows. This way you can collect most of the dirt.
- Moisten the rag or brush to remove dirt from it.
- Repeat the process again until the dirt has been completely removed.
- Check the solar installation to verify that everything is in order.
How to clean thermal solar panels
To answer how to clean thermal solar panels, you must follow the same procedure as in photovoltaic solar panels. As in the previous case, we must be careful with the cleaning accessories that we use, as well as the chemical products —to avoid scratches and corrosion, respectively—.
How to properly maintain solar panels
Cleaning the solar panels will allow us to detect possible faults, both in the solar panels and in the rest of the elements of the installation —such as faults in the pipes, in the circulation pumps or in the storage tanks, among others—. This will also serve to prevent the so-called hot spot effect —or hot points— that can also lead to a decrease in efficiency in the area where these points are located where the temperature is higher —and in which a or several solar cells stop working—.
a maintenance or surveillance plan Proper operation involves carrying out several operations – some of which are the responsibility of qualified professionals, especially in the case of solar thermal panels. Such as, for example, to carry out the most complicated tasks that involve disassembling and reassembling part of the installations to empty the cells and collect the glycol, in case it can be reused.
These are the operations that must be carried out to carry out a complete maintenance of the solar panels —most of them apply only to thermal solar panels—:
- Crystal Cleaning: As we have explained in this article.
- Visual inspection of the capacitors: In the central hours of the day.
- Visual inspection of joints: To check for cracks and deformation.
- Visual inspection of the absorber: To check for corrosion.
- Visual inspection of the structure: To check for corrosion.
- Visual inspection of the pipeline: To verify that there are no leaks. Both the primary and secondary circuit.
- Drained the trap: Removing the air from the bottle.
- temperature inspection: With a thermometer or tracking apps.
- Solar accumulator inspection: To remove sludge at the bottom of the tank.
How often to clean solar panels
To answer how often to clean the solar panels, we can be guided by the seasons of the year. It is recommended that these be cleaned with a frequency of 3 or 4 times a year. Our recommendation is that you do it 4 times, each change of season. With this you will ensure that your solar panels are always clean, but also that hot spots do not form as a result of the tilt of the earth’s axis with respect to the sun and the appearance of shadows in the cells. It is advisable to pay attention, above all, in cases where the solar installations are located in areas further away from the Earth’s equator, in which case the variations are greater.