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A Guide to Commercial Solar Panel Cleaning

Given the rising energy expenses, investing in a commercial solar energy system proves to be a wise choice for businesses in California. The cost-saving benefits of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are increasingly apparent each year.

Installing commercial solar panels not only aids businesses in saving money on electricity bills but also enables them to diminish their carbon footprint. These panels generate clean and sustainable energy, contributing to a greener environment.

Despite the positive impact on energy costs, it’s crucial to note that commercial solar panels require occasional cleaning for efficient operation. Regular commercial solar cleaning ensures your solar photovoltaic system consistently generates optimal power.

Like a well-maintained car, solar panels need attention to perform at their best. Read on to discover effective methods for cleaning solar panels, ensuring peak performance, and averting potential safety hazards.

Do We Need Commercial Solar Panel Cleaning?

cleaning commercial solar panel

In some areas of the US, the accumulation of dust and grime on solar panels can lead to energy losses of up to 7 percent annually. While this percentage may not initially appear significant, it becomes a noteworthy issue when striving to combat the escalating fuel prices. Your solar panel technology must be as effective and reliable as possible, especially if you frequently charge an electric vehicle at home.

Understanding how to clean solar panels is vital when implementing renewable energy technologies. Commercial photovoltaic installations, often outdoors, are prone to gradual dirt buildup due to exposure to dust and other pollutants.

Allowing dust and debris to accumulate on your solar panel system can adversely affect performance. Bird droppings, a well-known shade form, reduce energy output and lead to hot spots on solar panels. Surface detritus limits the amount of solar energy that solar cells can absorb. Therefore, regular cleaning is essential to ensure optimal efficiency and maximize the benefits of your solar energy system.

How Things Can Dirt Commercial Solar Panels

cleaning commercial solar panel

  • Dust and bird droppings can block sunlight, hindering solar cell efficiency.
  • Rain can remove some buildup, but it may leave behind dirt, reducing panel performance.
  • Smog and particulate matter in densely populated areas can diminish solar panel efficiency.
  • Leaves during fall or storms may obstruct panels, requiring attention during high-energy output periods.
  • Heavy pollen accumulation can impede sunlight and impact solar panel performance.
  • Coastal areas face challenges with sea salt, causing corrosion and promoting algae growth on panels’ metal elements. Regular protection measures are essential.

How Often Should You Clean Solar Panels?

The frequency of cleaning commercial solar panels is a joint inquiry among business owners. Unlike many maintenance tasks, there is no universally agreed-upon schedule or fixed period for cleaning these panels. The accumulation of dirt on solar panels varies based on the location or region where they are installed. Nevertheless, a consensus leans towards an annual cleaning as a minimum requirement.

While some businesses may succeed in planning a cleaning interval and setting a schedule, this approach is only sometimes ideal. Alternatively, a more effective practice involves regularly inspecting solar panels for signs of leaves, grime, dirt, and bird droppings. Proactive monitoring ensures that any obstructions affecting the panels’ efficiency are promptly addressed.

Despite the durability of most commercial solar photovoltaic systems, which typically have a twenty-five to thirty years lifespan, neglecting their maintenance is not advisable. Assuming that solar panels will clean themselves over time is not a viable strategy.

Solar system experts recommend a more proactive approach, suggesting cleaning the panels up to four times annually. This regular maintenance routine contributes to the efficient functioning of solar panels throughout their lifespan. The optimal frequency of cleaning, however, depends on the specific location. Some regions permit biannual cleaning, while others require more frequent attention.

In some instances, cleaning your commercial solar system more often becomes necessary, mainly when dealing with issues like dirt, leaves, or other obstructions on the solar panels. Tracking the energy production of solar panels using a mobile application can be a practical tool in determining when it is time to initiate the cleaning process, ensuring the continued effectiveness of the solar panel system.

Location Can Affect Cleaning Frequency

  • The cleaning schedule for your commercial solar panels is significantly influenced by your location, as mentioned earlier.
  • In urban areas, cleaning solar panels may be more challenging due to increased pollution. Exposure to exhaust fumes and other pollutants from busy roads can accumulate on the solar panels if your business is in a city. Regular cleaning is essential in such environments to maintain optimal efficiency.
  • Furthermore, industrial neighborhoods pose an even more significant challenge with higher levels of pollutants. In both urban and industrial settings, consistent cleaning is recommended to address the impact of environmental contaminants on solar panels. It’s not solely a result of human activities solar panel surfaces are also prone to pollen buildup. Monitoring the situation becomes crucial, particularly from March through May when tree pollen is typically prevalent. Cleaning beneath the solar panels is vital as pollen particles can be tiny.
  • Wildlife can present another factor affecting solar panels for those residing in rural areas. In such settings, bird droppings will likely land on solar panels near forests. This can result in a layer of filth that rain alone may not effectively remove. Acknowledging these location-specific challenges emphasizes the importance of adapting your cleaning routine to the unique environmental factors impacting your commercial solar panels.

The Best Ways to Clean Commercial Solar Panels

Commercial solar photovoltaic system owners should familiarize themselves with various methods for cleaning solar panels. Below are some tools to assist businesses in safely and efficiently cleaning their commercial solar panels:

1. Ground-Level Water Hose

A ground-level water hose is a safe and effective method for cleaning rooftop commercial solar panels. By allowing the water spray to fall on the panels, mimicking rainfall, gravitational forces can do the heavy lifting.

2.Isopropyl Alcohol

When a closer wash is needed and climbing onto the roof is safe, isopropyl alcohol can remove oily smudges. This ensures a mark-free cleaning process, unlike potential residue left by soaps and detergents. It’s crucial to avoid standing on the modules during cleaning to prevent potential glass damage and reduce energy generation.

3.Plastic Scourer and Soft Brushes

Opt for brushes designed for cleaning solar panels to scrub away dirt and grime effectively. Using water with these brushes ensures a thorough cleaning without causing any damage. It’s important to avoid abrasive scrubbing tools like steel brushes, which can scratch the glass surface and hinder energy output.

4.Squeegee

Squeegees can be employed similarly to those used on windows, providing a finishing touch to the cleaning process by wiping commercial solar panels dry. They are instrumental in preventing water streaks that could cast shadows on the panels.

Each of these tools offers a specific advantage in maintaining the cleanliness and efficiency of commercial solar panels. Choosing the appropriate cleaning method depends on the particular requirements of the solar panel system and ensuring safety precautions are observed, especially when accessing rooftops.

Top Solar Panels Cleaning Tips

Before cleaning your commercial solar panels, being aware of some essential considerations is crucial. Here are practical tips for efficiently cleaning your solar panels:

1. Read the Manufacturer’s Manual

Start by reading the manufacturer’s manual for your commercial solar panels. While most panels can be cleaned using similar methods, the manual may contain specific instructions that should be followed.

2. Switch Off the System

Before cleaning, always switch off your commercial solar photovoltaic system. Consult the manufacturer’s manual for guidance on completely shutting down the system.

3. Avoid Cleaning in High Temperatures

Cleaning your solar panels in high temperatures or exposing them to sudden temperature changes can lead to surface glass cracking. Optimal times for cleaning are early morning, overcast days, or in the evening to avoid extreme heat.

4. Disconnect Rainwater Collection Gutters

Before cleaning, disconnect any rainwater collection gutters to prevent water run-off from entering the collection tanks.

5. Avoid Pressure Cleaners:

Stick to a regular garden hose connected to your building tap for cleaning. High-pressure cleaners can cause damage to your commercial solar panels.

6. Call a Professional When in Doubt:

If you have uncertainties about the cleaning process, it’s advisable to avoid taking risks and instead seek assistance from a professional.

By adhering to these practical tips, you can ensure the efficient and safe cleaning of your commercial solar panels, extending their lifespan and maintaining optimal performance.

Solar Earth Inc Offers Solar System Maintenance Services

After reviewing the information above, you now have insights into the proper cleaning methods for solar panel cleaning. If you’re contemplating installing a commercial solar system, understanding how to clean and maintain the panels is crucial for achieving optimal efficiency and power generation.

Are you ready to make a long-term investment for your business while simultaneously reducing your carbon footprint? Reach out to Solar Earth Inc. to embrace sustainability, go green, and potentially save a considerable amount over time!

Contact your local solar provider today!

Solar Earth Inc., with expertise and certifications, empowers your home for enhanced energy generation. Contact us today to transform your home into a sustainable, long-term renewable energy source.