If you have a residential solar energy system installed, your solar PV modules are mostly flat, bent, and on your rooftop. How often do you need to clean your roof? Not very often, most probably never. Why is that? It is because rainwater does the job. That’s the same kind of logic for solar PV modules, too.
In the majority of the cases, you won’t need solar PV module cleaning often, if at all. Nevertheless, anything that collects dirt on them (such as pollen or dust) will get washed off the next time it showers. However, there are a few times it might make sense to do a solar PV module cleaning. For example, if you’ve got a lot of bird droppings on your PV modules, rain might not be able to clear it off, so it’s a good idea to do the cleaning.
Moreover, if you live in a region that’s likely to experience droughts — or, if it showers, it’s only a very light, foggy shower; you might need to clean them now and then.
How to Clean Solar PV Modules
If you decide your solar PV modules need proper cleaning, there are two major ways you can do it: hire a professional or do it yourself. Many solar companies offer such services, for a fee, of course. Either they offer this kind of service as part of annual maintenance service, or they ask you to get it done frequently when they come to install the system.
In fact, what you get back in your energy bill in terms of cost does not surpass the amount you need to hand over to these companies to get the task done. Solar companies often charge a minimal fee to get this work done, for not much return on your electricity bill.
Besides, if you are interested in solar PV module cleaning, you’ll generally have all you need to do it at home. In the majority of the cases, it will involve only a hose, maybe some soap, and the task will be done easily. This might be useful in drought-prone areas as well, because essentially what you’re doing with the hose is similar to what the rain would do if you got more of it in your area.
There are a few ways you can identify if your solar PV module needs a thorough cleaning, to begin with. One is a physical inspection of the modules for dust, dirt, bird droppings, etc. Another way is to use a monitoring system that notifies you how well your solar PV modules perform and function. This can inform you of any maintenance needs for your module, irrespective of its electrical, mechanical, or cleanliness needs.
Guidelines to Clean Solar PV Modules
Given below are some of the handy tips to clean your solar PV modules:
- Solar PV module cleaning kits are readily available for cleaning purposes. You’ll find a biodegradable soap, a wiper, and either a small brush or a brush with a long handle within the kit. First, mix the biodegradable soap with water with the instructions provided on the bottle. Next, insert the brush in the bucket and start wiping the solar PV modules gently. Finally, you can use clear water or a soft brush to remove any dust or pollen built upon the modules.
- How to clean solar PV modules has never gotten easier! The best time to clean them is when they are moist or wet, so any dust or residue stuck on them can be removed easily.
- You should never use an aggressive sponge or soap for your solar PV module cleaning as you may scratch the glass. The most preferred way to clean solar panels is by using a soft rag or the biodegradable soap provided within the cleaning kit.
- You mustn’t use harsh materials when cleaning your solar PV modules as they could damage them. Moreover, solar panels are expensive when it comes to repairing.
- If you clean frequently, you might be able to just run a hose along the modules to wipe off any dirt. This means you wouldn’t have to call solar companies frequently for maintenance and cleaning.
- It is better for your safety and others around you to use a long-handed wiper to clean the panels while you’re standing on the ground.
- If you are required to get on the roof, you must take precautions as once you start cleaning, the roof becomes slippery, and there’s a high possibility that you could slip off when you get down. Use safety ropes or a harness for external support.
- Always look out for dirt on the solar PV modules to ensure it doesn’t build up since they can absorb sunlight better when they are free of dirt.
Based on the type of module you have, you might need weekly or monthly cleanups. Your solar PV module manufacturer would advise you on this for solar PV module cleaning.
The Bottom Line
So, generally, let the rain do the cleaning of your solar PV modules. Check your system’s functionality and performance by giving proper consideration to your energy bills and usage every month. If you start noticing significant changes in your energy bill, it must be time for you to think about cleaning or some other kind of maintenance and upkeep.
If you keep seeing fluctuations in your electric bill, it may be because your solar panels need a good cleaning. If the efficiency returns to normal after a good rain, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if you still find the functionality of the solar panel not up to the mark, it might be something electrical that needs fixing instead of just cleaning.
When it comes down to solar PV module cleaning, a visual examination, a rainwater cleaning, and you stay on the ground, maybe all that the solar panel inspector needs to order!