RBA Solar

How to Clean Solar Panels in the right way

As we all know, a solar panel is made of cells that absorb sunlight and convert into electricity. Solar panels are now required in every home or large establishments to live a sustainable lifestyle.

The energy produced by the panels is proportional to the energy absorbed. A dirty solar panel reduces a solar system’s efficiency. A dirty solar panel can block as much as 30% of the sun’s rays, and hence, they must be cleaned on a regular basis. Clean solar panels generate more electricity because the rays activate the electrons in the panels, causing them to produce more energy.

Usually, solar panels are set up with the right tilt, which means that during the monsoon, rainwater wash them clean as it runs across them. But in India, we can have long periods of dry weather, full of dust, bird droppings, and other air pollution to build up over time on your solar panels. Also, if there are trees near solar panels, especially ones that lose their leaves in the fall, the leaves will fall on your panels and attract birds.

All these buildups can affect the electricity your solar panels produce per module. After all, it makes sense that solar panels will work the best when dirt and other things don’t get in the way of their view of the sun.

Customers of Navitas Solar, a leading solar module manufacturer, know that we keep on educating our customers about the right ways of cleaning the solar systems, as it is one of the best ways of enhancing and maintaining the efficiency of the system. So, if you want to make sure you’re getting the most power from your solar panels, make sure you keep up with that all-important cleaning!

In general, you should try to clean your solar panels at least once every 15 days because of the harsh weather in our country. But under specific needs, you may need to clean your panels more often. If your premise is close to a highway or a construction site, which both put out a lot of dust and dirt into the air, you will need to clean your solar panels even more often.

It is always advisable to take help of a professional agency to clean your system on regular basis. At residential rooftop solar, mostly home owners clean the panels regularly. Automatic cleaning systems are also encouraged in case of large solar systems. Regular cleaning keeps your solar panels in perfect working order. It lowers the cost of replacing the panels.

Solar panel manufacturers have made frequent cleaning a mandate for warranty coverage. Without proof of routine cleaning, your system may not be covered by warranty. As a result, to be on the safe side, it is the best to clean solar systems on a regular basis. It goes without saying, but you should also never stand on your solar panels because your weight could cause micro-cracks in the modules. Sometimes, micro-cracks are not visible enough but they degrade the performance for sure. It must be taken care while cleaning the panels not to stand on the panels.

Turn off your system before you begin cleaning. The most effective method is to clean solar panels with a hose and a bucket of soapy water. One can also use a non-abrasive sponge to clean the panels. Using abrasive cleaning tools may scratch the panels. If it’s just dust, use a soft brush to clean the surface of the panels, and then use water to thoroughly clean the area. However, spraying water will not remove dirt such as bird poop. As a result, using a mild soap to remove it is an option.

when trying to remove a bird poop, soak the stain in the stream of water. Use a soft sponge which is nonabrasive. Rinse the module with plenty of water. Never try to scratch/scrub the surface of panel to remove stains as it can damage Anti Reflective Coating (ARC) on the glass of the panel. If the stains have been on the panels for a while, please contact your installer.

Dry mopping and wet mopping at the same time both are required for the best performance of the solar system. Also, it is advisable to not to pour only water and let it stay on the panels, mopping is required because Water with a significant amount of dissolved minerals (hard water) leaves behind a residue on the glass which can format stains on the glass which can lessen sunlight absorption. Using RO water is the best option if it’s available.

When the water is sprinkled with the help of a nozzle, it must be ensured to keep pressure under 35 bar at the nozzle, otherwise extra pressure may damage the panels. When it comes to temperature of water to be sprinkled, it should be ideally the same as the temperature of solar panel at the time of cleaning. Maximum temperature difference of 20 degrees between panel and water is acceptable otherwise glass may damage due to sudden temperature change. It is advisable to clean solar panels under low light conditions. After sunset of before sunrise, production will be lesser and that may be considered as the best time to clean the panels because risk of electrical hazard is also minimum. Panels will be cooler in this time, so they will be closer to ambient temperature and so there will be lesser difference between water and panels.

Back side of the panel doesn’t require frequent cleaning just like front side. If specific dirt is observed in the backside, it can be cleaned by using only soft sponge/fiber cloth. Using sharp objects to clean the back side can damage the material and can cause a slit.

Cleaning the solar panels may seem easy but remember that cleaning solar panels without damaging them requires technical expertise and experience.

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