MAINTENANCE AND CLEANING OF SOLAR PANELS
Cleaning and maintenance of solar panels are much necessary because this period of dust, where the environment is fussy, solar panels are meant to be dusty and dirty which may reduce the optimum performance and hence reducing slightly the efficiency of the electricity the panels can generate.
Though In the Harmattan/dry season in Africa where we have dust in Africa, lots of breezes and with the tilting of Solar panels at 20 -30degrees, the breeze tends to ‘SWEEP” THE DUST OFF THE SURFACE OF SOLAR PANELS. Leading the efficiency to reduce by 5-10% compared to other continents.
In other continents, solar panels would have reduced efficiency by 30%, and once there is a reduction in efficiency, the output power will not be enough for consumption when it passes through the home electronics and gadgets. That is why you need to keep them clean especially in dry season.
TIPS IN INCREASING THE EFFICIENCY, CLEANING, AND MAINTAINING YOUR SOLAR PANELS
Cleaning and maintenance of Solar panel is not that different from when you clean your windshield. You can do it yourself, or have other people do it for you.
A solar panel typically consists of solar cells covered by a protective glass coating, and just like your car windshield – the longer it’s outside – the more likely it will get dirty and need to be cleaned.
How much Electricity Can Dirty Solar Panels Lose?
Environmental pollution, including traffic dust, leaves, and even bird droppings contribute in preventing sunlight from reaching the solar cells of your solar panels. The more the dirt – the lower the amount of electricity solar panels can produce. While many factors affect how much electricity your solar panels will produce – dirty solar panels can be one of the biggest, and easiest to fix.
Experts agree that dirty solar panels don’t produce as much power as clean panels. That loss may range as high as 25% in some areas.
What are the ways in cleaning of solar panels when dirty and dusty?
There are two Ways to Check Your Panels
There are two ways you can check to see if your panels need to be cleaned or not;
- Physical Inspection: Inspect the solar panels on a periodic basis (frequency depends on location or the manufacturer’s specifications) to remove any debris and dirt and ensure all connections are tight. Generally, speaking dusty areas typically require more frequent inspection.
- Use a Monitoring Service: Another way to make sure you’re getting the most solar potential out of your PV system is through monitoring systems and service. For a monthly fee or a flat up front cost, you can monitor how your system is performing.
Your system is expected to produce a certain amount of power during each month. A solar monitoring system can tell you if your system is off line or if it’s not performing as expected and run diagnostic programs.
Depending on the monitoring systems, you can access your information from the web, from a wall mounted-device, or even from your iPhone or other mobile devices.
So if solar panels turns dusty and dirty – what are your options in cleaning?
Option 1: Solar Panel Cleaning Yourself
If you can clean your windows – you can certainly clean your solar panels.
The hard part (especially for roof mounted solar panels is reaching them). Assuming you can reach your solar panels – clean the surface of a solar panel much like you would clean your car — with warm water and dishwashing soap to remove any accumulation of dirt and grime.
Option 2 – Use a Solar Panel Cleaning Service
Some people like to clean their own cars – and others like to take their cars to be cleaned for them. Same with solar panels – except that the solar panel cleaning company obviously has to come see you.
Depending on where you live, ask your installer to recommend a solar panel cleaning service and find out how often the cleaning is recommended – and what it costs. Be sure they are insured – in case there are accidents.
Keep your Solar panels clean and enjoy the Uninterrupted Power supply.
Mr. Michael Edun is a Senior Technical writer and IT Manager at PSC SOLAR (UK) LTD. Lagos, Nigeria. – 08120855444
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