How to Clean Solar Panels: A Brief Guide on Solar Panel Maintenance
Posted by Stephen Shickadance in Inspiring Projects.
We would be lying to you if we said equipment lasts forever. We wish it could, but sadly the nature of any equipment is that it will eventually fail. Wear, tear, and time effect equipment of all sorts, and sadly nothing is invincible. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t extend the life of something through proper preventative maintenance. That same rule thankfully applies to lighting fixtures of all sorts. If you’re thinking about making the jump to solar-powered outdoor lighting, we’ve prepared a must-read for you to understand how to properly do solar panel maintenance so your investments and purchase cycles last longer. Some of the facts about maintenance are actually simpler than you might realize.
Details on Solar Panel Maintenance
The Good News: There isn’t Much Solar Panel Cleaning Required
You’ll be happy to know that your investment doesn’t need much maintenance to begin with! Some of the biggest reasons are because solar panels are self-standing and aren’t connected to each other—unlike Christmas lights, where if one goes out, the rest of them go out too. If you’re mainly concerned with how to clean solar panels, you might think that you’ll need some special cleaning solution or that there’s some cleaning contraption you’ll need to drop a few hundred dollars on to properly clean the panel.
Nope! Solar panel cleaning takes soap and water! We’re happy to manufacture and offer a product that does some complex stuff behind the scenes—literally turning light into power—that requires little effort in cleaning. If your solar LED lights reside in areas that get frequent showers, let mother nature do most of the solar panel maintenance for you. If you’re in an arid climate, you might need an occasional de-dusting or heavier cleaning because of rogue leaves or pesky birds in the area relieving themselves on the panel. And if dirt just gets caked on for whatever reason, a simple brush with soap will do. Other than that, cleaning is a breeze. You just need to reach the panel and light. We’ll leave that task up to you. It’s best to clean when the panels aren’t in direct light or heat so water doesn’t evaporate quickly.
Snow, Rain, Wind—an Unkind Mother Nature
Weather isn’t your best friend when it comes to proper solar panel maintenance. A thin layer of snow on the panels can spell doom to the energy stored for the lights. We’re here to give you a few tips on how to properly combat weather so it doesn’t combat your solar investment.
In regards to snow, climbing a ladder nearby and using a brush should do the trick. If you’re not able to climb, throw a light-impact ball towards the panel and that should jar the panel enough to knock snow loose. Or, you could simply use a tall broom handle to gently knock the panel until the snow slides off. Just be careful not to knock the solar panel so hard that it alters the angle of it.
As far as wind, rest assured that the poles the solar lights are constructed with are rated for high winds—we don’t make our poles out of some flimsy aluminum that can easily bend or break under pressure. Our solar lighting poles are made from hot-dip galvanized stainless steel that protects the pole from aging, rusting, or peeling. Worry not about wind. And the glass over the panel shields the panel from pelting rain. The rain actually cleans the panel off anyhow, so nature sometimes hands you a favor when dark clouds come rolling in.
Cleaning with soap and water wouldn't hurt, but in most cases that maintenance requires a bucket truck, lift, or very tall ladder—this can be costly or even dangerous and isn't necessary. Solar light battery cleaning isn't necessary either since they're often housed inside of a protective battery box or within the fixture unit. The individual light lenses may build up a thin film over time, but most likely won't need maintenance either.
Solar Panel Repair: When Things Go Bad
As before, sometimes technology goes bad—it’s just Murphy’s Law. Solar panel maintenance can only extend the life of a panel so far. Repair is necessary at times, but it’s important to know that there are warranties that are offered for panels. Instead of diving into unknown territory with repair, check with your supplier to ensure everything is still under warranty. There are different kinds of warranties that cover certain malfunctions for panels.
Two typical warranty types for solar lights are limited and full. Limited typically just covers certain components and their lifespans, whereas a full warranty covers the entire light. Be sure to understand the differences of each if your panel—or another component—fails within the warranty's time. Greenshine New Energy has 10-year warranties on our panels integrated into our solar lights, so even if your favorite band goes out of style within the next decade, we’ll be there to help you out.
Hopefully, with proper solar panel maintenance and other preventative methods, you won't need to worry about diminished functionality or warranty uses. Contact us for more information about going solar and we can provide a free quote for your next project.
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