When a storm has cleared and the thunder has dwindled, homeowners first want to ensure their property is still in good working condition. Those with solar panels installed on their property must perform a few steps to keep their solar panels working their best.
When weighing the benefits of installing solar panels, homeowners should also factor in the time and money needed to repair the panels, particularly after a storm. After severe weather, homeowners can do certain routine cleaning activities independently, but knowing when to DIY and when to bring in the pros is essential. Solar panel cleaning services are a valuable and affordable option for keeping your solar panels at their most efficient.
Safety note: Just a quick reminder – make sure the storm is REALLY over before you start cleaning your solar panels! According to the National Weather Service, if you can still hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Lightning can travel more than 10 miles from a storm.
A Very Short History of Solar Panels
Solar panels have come a long way in a very short time when you consider human history.
Edmond Becquerel, a 19-year-old French physicist, is celebrated as the first to observe and discover the photovoltaic effect, put more simply by IP.com as “the ability to generate electricity from sunlight.” He made this discovery in 1839.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, the first patents for solar-powered panels were made by inventors in the 1880s. Solar cells then were much less effective than those lining roofs these days, but they were revolutionary nonetheless.
An energy crisis occurred in the 1970s in the United States, and the government responded by passing the Solar Energy Research, Development and Demonstration Act of 1974, which aimed to make solar power more affordable and attainable for the everyday citizen.
Since becoming more widely available in the 1970s, the price of solar panels for houses has decreased, making them more attractive.
The Solar Investment Tax Credit, introduced in 2006, is widely credited for the solar industry’s average annual growth rate of 50% in the United States over the last decade. The cost of installing solar panels has dropped by more than 70 percent in the last decade, making solar energy more accessible to more people.
How to Check Your Solar Panels After A Storm
Inspecting solar panels after a storm is essential since dirty and congested panels produce less electricity. Rain helps wash away dust and pollen, but if it lands on your panels and is smudged or otherwise soiled, you should clean them as soon as possible.
Check their output and efficiency to see whether they are operating at peak efficiency before deciding they require cleaning. If they aren’t, it’s time for solar panel cleaning.
The first step in cleaning your panels after a storm is to inspect them for damage and remove any debris blocking your view of the panels. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and maintenance to determine whether any unique cleaning products or brushes are needed for your solar equipment.
If there are no explicit instructions, a dry brush and a soap that does not leave a residue should do the trick. Rinse the panels with a gentle spray from your hose (do not use a power washer) and dry them with a microfiber cloth or any cloth that is safe for glass. To avoid additional damage, when performing solar panel cleaning, panels should never be cleaned by stepping directly across them.
Top 4 Things to Never Leave on Your Solar Panels
If your solar panels aren’t operating at their optimum efficiency, you might step outside to examine them for debris. Here are four things you should clear off your solar panels as soon as possible.
1: Bird Poo
They sing so sweetly, but birds can do a number on your solar panels with their stubborn droppings. They block the sunlight from your solar panels and harm their ability to turn sunlight into energy. If your property has many trees, you may have to clean your solar panels more often and with more products than just water to remove the leavings of the nearby birds.
2: Dust or Dirt
Aside from the obvious problem of dirt and dust building up on solar panels, this environmental foe has other, more severe consequences. A fragile coating of dust may let some sunlight through, and wind or rain may easily remove the rest. However, things change if your array is situated in a more dusty environment, near farms, major highways, cement industries, or quarries. Due to the increased dust and grime, your solar panels need extra care and regular cleaning.
3: Pollen or Leaves
Pollen has developed into a sticky substance that is insoluble in water. Because it doesn’t disappear when the wind blows, it might be more painful to clean up. Pollination agents such as wind, insects, and birds passing over and dropping part of their pollen on your panels are expected if you live near farmlands or locations with a lot of vegetation. A windy day is more likely to blow pollen onto your panels than away.
Leaves falling on your panels is another potential issue, particularly if you have deciduous trees in your yard. While dry leaves may be easily blown away by the wind, heavy rain can behave like glue, causing wet leaves to attach to your panels.
4: Water Residue
Yep. Your solar panel manual will likely recommend you use water (but NOT a power sprayer) and a light detergent to clean your solar panels. But after that, you should use a gentle microfiber cloth to dry and remove as much water as possible because leftover water droplets can lead to a dusty or muddy residue.
When Its Time To Get Get Solar Panel Cleaning Services
If your solar panels need cleaning, it’s always best to call the experts. While anyone can do solar panel cleaning, hiring a solar panel cleaning services saves you time and ensures the job is done correctly. Professionals have the solar panel cleaning equipment necessary to ensure the job is done well.
Solar panel cleaning will save homeowners money by reducing energy costs, and homeowners can leverage multiple tax credits and rebates. Panels are easy to maintain and require little maintenance overall but paying particular attention to panels after a storm will ensure that their performance is not interrupted.