Dusting On Solar Panels
Solar panels are not overly complex devices while operating. Once the highly complicated manufacturing process is completed, solar panels require very little upkeep to function in a suitable environment continuously. Because of this fact, many customers tend to forget about these panels once they are on their roof and neglect the very little upkeep they do require until a problem arises, which usually means an additional cost or loss of generation that easily could have avoided. The most common step of maintaining a solar panel that customers tend to forget is that they require to be cleaned, leading to dusting on the panel, which can have a catastrophic impact on the output of your system. This is a shame, as solar panels only need to be cleaned once every six months in most instances, meaning that it takes very little time and effort to ensure that your system keeps producing safely and efficiently.
How to Clean Dusty Solar panels
While each panel manufacturer has their recommendations on cleaning their panels, these suggestions typically boil down to using water safely and responsibly. Solar panel cleaning should only be completed at cooler times as a sudden change in temperature on hot panels caused by water can stress the glass and lead to microcracks. The first step is to shut down the system, following the safety instructions provided by your solar supplier. Next, a hose should be used to spray the front of the panels while standing on the ground, trying to avoid the bottom and spaces between the panels. If your panels are covered in more stubborn stains such as bird droppings or leaves, they may require the use of a sponge or brush. Any cleaning method that requires climbing on a roof should always be completed by a trained professional who has access to the training and safety equipment needed to complete this task safely. The utilisation of professional cleaners also protects you from the risk of accidental damage caused by attempting to do this job yourself.
Why Bother Cleaning panels?
Solar Panels passively collect dust, especially in environments that have long breaks between rainfalls. This dusting will slowly decrease the production of your panels and may result in an overloaded bypass diode if you have a string system installed. Depending on the type and brand of system you have installed, your monitoring system is the most helpful tool when determining your cleaning requirements. If you have a string system installed, you will have to make your judgement based on the total output of your system, viewable on the inverter or your monitoring portal. Because a string requires each panel to work together to produce correctly, reduced productivity probably means that one or more panels are heavily dusted or otherwise obstructed. These are usually the most heavily affected systems by dusting, meaning that you may have to be more diligent with your cleaning, depending on your expectations for the system. If you have an optimised system installed, you can monitor your panels individually, meaning that you know which panels require attention due to a lower output. If you cannot clean your panels for a while, the dusting on an individual panel will not affect the production of the rest of the system.
Bird Fallout management
If you consistently find that your panels are covered in bird droppings, it may be worth considering bird proofing. While this does incur an additional cost, it is often cheaper than repeatedly hiring a professional to come and clean your panels, as a standard hose is often unable to remove this particular blockage. While it may be tempting to utilise a pressure washer to solve this issue, it is recommended that you never use a pressure washer on panels as it often results in microcracks, which will reduce the efficiency of your panels to a higher degree and eventually lead to the failure of your panel.
In conclusion, light dusting and leaves can often be solved with a hose while your panels are off and cool; however, if the obstructions are any more significant and require an individual to climb onto your roof, you should always contact a trained solar professional to do this for you. If you would like to have, your Hawking solar system cleaned, feel free to get in touch with one of our representatives here!
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