Solar power generation depends on direct sunlight. If direct sunlight falls on the solar panel, then the particles create heat and generate DC electrical energy. This generation process becomes interrupted unless the sunlight falls on the PV panels properly. To avoid these situations and get better output power, sometimes solar panels need cleaning services. There are two main cleaning systems manual and automated. Now we will talk about how to clean solar panels on the roof automatically, automated cleaning equipment, how often you should clean your PV panels and many more things. So, let’s have a good journey.
What Is Automatic Solar Panel Cleaning?
With regularly scheduled cleanings, an automatic solar panel cleaning system keeps your panels clean at all times. Unlike conventional solar panel cleaning, these automated solar panel cleaning systems eliminate the requirement for human labor after solar system installation, which requires manual employees to visit your home to clean the panels.
Because it is automatic, you do not need to bother remembering to schedule the cleanings. A system for automatically cleaning solar panels on roof would make everything much more straightforward.
How to Clean Solar Panels on Roof Automatically?
Executing solar energy is a wise decision. Solar panels are a significant investment. We should maintain these carefully. With maintenance and cleaning at regular intervals, you can safeguard your solar panels and confirm that your asset is protected effectively. But if you just installed solar energy in your residence or business house, you need help to find out how to take care of them.
Incorrect methods can damage the whole system. Therefore, it is vital to clean solar panels properly to prevent breakdown. For best effectiveness, you must contact solar panel cleaning service experts and perform a professional cleaning. Even better, install an automated solar panel cleaning system. Whatever method you execute, you must have a clear idea of how to clean solar panels on roof automatically.
Automatic Solar Panel Cleaning Equipment
The automatic cleaning process is the best cleaning solution for solar panels. An automatic solar panel cleaning system is done through the machine or automatically. However, there are some common automatic solar panel cleaning tools, such as water supplier robots, water pumps, high-pressure diesel pumps, rolling support, etc. You can mix the solar panel cleaning soap with warm water. It is a common and the best domestic method for the solar panel cleaning process.
How Important Is It to Keep Solar Panels Clean?
Solar panel cleaning is vital for optimizing energy production. When dust, dirt, pollen, leaves, & other debris gather on the surface of the panels. They can create a barrier that blocks sunlight absorption. This accumulation makes regular cleaning crucial to maintaining efficiency. You know that there is a temperature limit for solar panels to work sufficiently.
If it becomes disrupted, then you may get low output power. That’s why PV panel cleaning is necessary. Research by organizations like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has shown that dirty solar panels can lose up to 25% of their efficiency. It emphasizes the importance of keeping them clean.
Generally, when your solar panels get dirty, you could expect up to a 5% loss of output. This is because dirt and other droppings may prevent the solar cells from absorbing energy at their optimum level. Most solar panels are positioned at an angle, enabling dust and grime to glide off easily. However, in certain conditions, manual intervention is required.
Automated solar panel cleaning systems offer an effective solution to maintaining clean solar panels, and reducing the need for manual cleaning. These systems can guarantee consistent & comprehensive maintenance, addressing the gatherings of debris & deterring solar panels’ efficiency.
By employing a range of mechanisms, these systems proficiently remove dirt and debris from the panel’s surface, all without requiring human intervention. These systems come in several types, each tailored to precise cleaning requirements. Some common types include brush systems, which use solar panel cleaning rotating brushes to dislodge dirt gently.
Moreover, they have water sprinkler systems, which use water to rinse away contaminants, and robotic systems featuring automated arms for accurate cleaning. Here are some common kinds of automatic cleaning systems.
1. Solar Panel Cleaning Rotating Brush Systems
Brush systems are a valued component of efficient solar panel maintenance. These systems include solar panel cleaning rotating brush that precisely scrubs solar panel surfaces, effectively dislodging accumulated dirt and debris. They should use soft materials for the brushes, ensuring the panels are not scratched or harmed during cleaning.
Soft brush systems’ advantage is their ability to deliver an automated and gentle cleaning solution. While manual cleaning by a garden hose or other methods can risk damaging the panels. These systems provide a controlled, non-abrasive alternative. They maintain the panels’ appearance & protect their functionality by preventing scratches.
Selecting a brush to clean solar panels system that provides a better & more efficient way to keep your solar panels in optimal condition. It does that without the risks related to manual cleaning methods. With the growing emphasis on clean solar energy. These systems guarantee solar panels’ longevity & overall performance.
2. Water Sprinkler Systems
Water sprinkler systems use strategically positioned nozzles to spray water onto the panels, efficiently washing away accumulated dust and dirt. Remarkably, some systems use purified water, minimizing the risk of mineral deposits that could otherwise compromise panel performance.
Solar panel cleaning sprinkler systems offer numerous advantages in terms of cleaning and maintaining solar installations:
Sprinkler systems are highly efficient at removing pollen, bird droppings, dirt, dust, and other debris that can accumulate on solar panels. The force of the water helps remove contaminants from the panel surface.
2.2 Uniform Coverage
These systems can deliver consistent coverage across the entire surface of the solar panels. It ensures that no areas are missed during the solar panel cleaning process.
2.3 Automated Operation
Sprinkler systems can be automated and programmed to clean the panels at specific intervals or based on environmental conditions. This decreases the need for manual labor and ensures regular maintenance.
2.4 Ease of Installation
Installing a sprinkler system is straightforward and can be integrated into the solar panel mounting structure or infrastructure. It does not need significant alterations to the panels themselves.
2.5 Water Saving
Modern sprinkler systems are designed to be water-efficient. They use just enough water to clean the panels effectively without excessive wastage. Some systems could even recycle & filter the water for reuse.
2.6 Low Maintenance
These systems typically need minimal maintenance. Regular inspection and cleaning of nozzles or filters may be needed, but they are generally reliable.
2.7 Increased Energy Production
Clean solar panels on roofs operate more efficiently, increasing energy production. Regular cleaning can help maximize the overall output of the solar installation.
2.8 Environmental Friendliness
By using water, these systems avoid potentially harmful chemicals, making them environmentally friendly and suitable for regions with strict environmental regulations.
2.9 Safety Standard
Sprinkler systems eliminate the requirement for personnel to climb onto rooftops or structures to manually clean the panels, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.
2.10 Reduced Soiling Impact
Water-based cleaning methods can effectively address both dry and wet soiling on solar panels, ensuring the removal of various contaminants.
3. Robotic Cleaning
Robotic cleaning offers the fantastic added feature of enabling real-time performance monitoring through a central management system. It provides the additional advantage of needing less human intervention. When manually washing solar panels, there might be a potential danger to workers’ lives.
The robot sends alerts to notify the operating system in the control room of any faults, the warning then causes a modification to the cleaning motion on panels. Operators can alter the cleaning schedule by shifting robots from one panel to another.
Robotic systems are also helpful in geographies where lack of water is a severe problem. On the other hand, there would be significant water wastage. Also, using groundwater for cleaning needs permission from authorities, which takes time & could delay installation. Robotic solar cleaning provides a revolutionary, waterless approach to dust removal from panels.
The industry needs this solution to increase the penetration of solar plant insulation while decreasing its reliance on water. Robotic cleaning of solar panels attracts the attention of solar plant owners. Robotic cleaning solutions are gradually gaining popularity and will become more cost-effective as project sizes grow.
Utility-scale developers & operators of solar parks prefer automated solar panel cleaning solutions since the expense of manual labor for cleaning panels increases with the project size. Due to the low labor costs in some regions. It might take time before robotic cleaning replaces manual cleaning. But as the cost of these solutions falls, more developers opt to use this innovative technology.
3.1 Additional Things for Robotic Cleaning
The dirt that is gathered on solar panels has a direct impact on their effectiveness. The panels must, therefore, be cleaned regularly for them to function at their maximum efficiency. Because this is a cutting-edge development in the technologies for cleaning PV panels.
Various cleaning products for different types of dirt have come onto the market. Yet dry cleaning is the most preferred alternative for solar parks, where dust and sand are primary sources of photon obstruction. Thus, water scarcity will cause the shift to water less, and robotic cleaning is inevitable.
Fortunately, local governments and developers are receptive to innovation and embracing new technology. The technology will increase pace in the coming months, and we may see further robotic-related innovations that will become the standard for cleaning PV modules.
4. Nano-Coating Systems
Nano-Coating Systems is a clear, nanotechnology-enabled coating engineered for all types of solar panels. The coating forms an invisible and long-lasting bond with the surface of the solar panel to repel water & prevent the build-up of dirt and environmental pollution. It can dramatically increase the efficiency of the solar panels post-installation.
Dirt and pollutants are easily removed naturally each time. It rains, or manually by hosing down or wiping/brushing off in dustier and drier environments. Enabling the solar panels to function as intended and operate more efficiently.
Nano-coating systems are abrasion-resistant and will help protect these surfaces from carving. And the effects of weathering and installations involving automated and mechanical cleaning. The coating is entirely UV stable and cannot peel, flake, crack, or discolor at any time.
Applying a Nano-Coating automatic solar panel cleaning system is a simple spray and wipe process. The coating is best used on solar panels at or before installation. However, it will also provide significant benefits when applied to existing arrays and installations. It has an effective life of 5+ years. However, in harsh environments, a re-application is recommended every 3 years to ensure maximum protection from the elements and greater efficiencies.
How Often Should You Clean Them?
It is recommended to clean solar panels anywhere between once a month to once a year. If your panel system is ground-mounted, monitoring your panels’ cleanliness is much easier. On the other hand, roof-mounted solar panels are tricky to watch regularly.
More often than not, the panels’ angular position should help them get cleaned naturally through rainwater and wind. Another critical factor in deciding how to clean solar panels is the location. If you live in a crowded city area, you should clean your panels more often than a house in the outskirts where there is less pollution and dust.
Cleaning solar panels is vital to their long-term performance. Solar panels must be cleaned as much as possible to avoid degradation. Which could cause reduced energy production & increased maintenance costs. Take a look at some advantages of cleaning solar panels.
1. Increased Energy Production
Solar panels work by changing light into electricity. If there is dust on the surface of the solar panel, it could reduce sunlight, reducing efficiency. Cleaning solar panels reduces dust, debris, & other contaminants, such as leaves & bugs, which could further decrease efficiency.
If you maintain regular maintenance, you will also remove any buildup of dust or dirt on the surface of your solar panels that would otherwise continue to reduce their efficiency over time. An automated solar panel cleaning system protects your assets by keeping the solar panels clean all the time, which can lead to an increased production of up to 30 percent more energy.
2. Entirely Green
The automated solar panel cleaning systems are entirely green. They do not use any chemicals or their byproducts – only soft, filtered water. It’s also highly efficient with water usage to avoid any unnecessary waste.
3. Minimal Maintenance
No additional labor is required once the automatic solar panel cleaner is installed on a home or commercial property. Automatic solar panel cleaning services are custom-made to fit the exact needs of a given residential or commercial solar array and accommodate changing seasons.
Plus, there are no moving parts, making it easy for homeowners. And business owners to enjoy the benefits of constantly cleaning panels without worrying about needing to repair or replace system parts.
4. No Personal Injury Risk
Climbing up and working on roofs can harm people and panels. An automatic solar panel cleaning system eliminates the need for cleaners to physically get on your home’s or commercial building’s roof. This significantly decreases your liability as a property owner.
5. Protect Panel Warranty
Some conventional solar panel cleaning techniques can cause more harm than good. Maintaining & cleaning solar panels is crucial for maximizing production. However, an incorrect cleaning process might result in damaged panels & void warranty coverage.
On the other hand, a sound automatic solar panel cleaner will work following all norms and regulations set forth by solar panel manufacturers. To decrease heat stress, the system cleans at night. It also uses soft, filtered water to get rid of limescale buildup.
Manually cleaning solar panels will increase production temporarily. But the panels will get dirty again in a few weeks. A fully automated solution will continuously keep panels clean most safely and efficiently, with no risk of voiding your warranty. It is noted that scratch your installed PV panels in your own way and feel the clean lines.
The location also affects how to clean solar panels and how often they must be tended to remain efficient. Usually, they must be cleaned at least once or twice a year. But in several locations, they may benefit from more frequent cleaning.
1. Wooden areas
Installations with several trees nearby have more leaves dropping on the panels, obstructing the absorption of sunlight. Trees also attract birds, which could result in an amassing of droppings that obstruct the PV cells & damage the surface due to acidity, reducing efficiency.
Regions such as the Middle East and the US Southwest, with dry & dusty climates, see more significant accumulations of sand on PV panels that block light and scratch the surface. Wildfire ash can quickly fall on panels in large clumps in areas like California or Australia.
3. Polluted areas
PV panels installed in regions with high pollution levels, mainly near highways, factories, or airports, will experience high levels of atmospheric grime & oil buildup.
The angle of the rooftop where PV panels are installed affects how often they need to be cleaned. Panels installed at an angle obtain more cleaning from rainwater running than flat-mounted panels, where water can collect in pools & leave behind a residue.
If the size of the installation is bigger, more electricity generation is obstructed when panels are dirty. Thus large commercial solar sites require cleaning more often than residential systems. Consequently, robotic solutions are more suitable for commercial systems.
The most obvious way to find out when solar panels need cleaning is when the system’s efficiency declines. Pollution is greater during the winter while cold air traps pollutants closer to the ground.
That means spring is the best time to clean solar panels, as it become too hot to touch during the summer. There are solar panel cleaning service companies working to use advanced technology to check the condition of solar panels & remove some guesswork.
Researchers in Spain have obtained a patent for a solution that includes a sensor on the glass surface of a panel & uses an LED light to measure the amount of dirt. The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is developing a way to monitor the electricity panels produced daily to detect when soiling has begun to degrade output.
The cloud-based platform uses sensors & machine learning to collect weather data, monitor a solar PV system, and travel through trackers to clean panels on an optimized schedule.
If you have a simple technique, then you don’t need to go to the technician for a simple issue. If you become a solar panel user, you must enhance your technique to get better output and maintain better efficiency. To keep your solar panels working at their top efficiency, consider incorporating the following maintenance practices into your routine:
1. Regular Inspection
Do visual inspections of your solar panels at least once a month. Check for any signs of loose connections that you have installed on your roof, damage, or shading caused by adjacent trees or buildings.
2. Clean the Panels
Regular cleaning is vital for ensuring optimal performance. I have shared here what is the process to clean your solar panels effectively.
- Gentle Rinse: Start gently rinsing the panels with a hose, eliminating loose dirt and debris.
- Non-Abrasive Cleaning Solution: Organize a mild cleaning solution using water and a non-abrasive detergent. Apply the solution to the panels and use a soft sponge or brush to remove stubborn stains or grime.
- Rinse Thoroughly: wash solar panels again to remove any residue from the cleaning solution.
- Consider Professional Cleaning: If you have tall or hard-to-reach solar panels, consider hiring professionals experienced in solar panel cleaning.
3. Trim Overhanging Trees
Make sure no overhanging branches or trees cast shadows on your solar panels. Shading can significantly decrease efficiency, so trimming the trees near your panels is essential.
4. Evaluate System Performance
Regularly monitor and track your solar panel system’s performance using the data provided by your solar inverter. This will permit you to identify any sudden drops in performance and promptly address any issues that may arise.
Regular maintenance is vital to maximizing the performance and lifespan of your solar panel system. For years, you can use the abovementioned techniques to ensure your solar panels generate clean and efficient energy. Remember these key takeaways:
- Regular maintenance increases efficiency & extends the lifespan of solar panels.
- Clean panels obtain more sunlight, resulting in higher energy production.
- Inspect solar panels regularly for any signs of damage or shading.
- Trim big trees to prevent shade from declining panel efficiency.
- Monitor system performance to address any issues quickly.
Cleaning PV panels is a vital part of your energy system. If you see decreased power output or peak power deviation on your solar system, cleanings may be needed to get those systems back to their usual form. Cleaning solar panels could help maintain service life and maximize the electricity you get from each panel.
I have referred above to how to clean solar panels on the roof automatically. I hope this information will be sufficient to choose a PV panel cleaning system and how many times you should clean it. So, become happy and stay happy with OPEN READ.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. How Often to Clean Solar Panels On Roof?
Solar panel cleaning time depends on the environment and location. If your living location becomes nearest a firm land, desert, and others. In this case, your installed solar panel must have a chance to generate less energy than before. Because of piles of dirt solar panels cannot produce sufficient power. In that case, you must require to clean your PV panels at least 2 times a year. If you don’t have a deficit of output power, then you don’t need to clean.
2. How Important Is It to Clean Your Solar Panels?
It is very important to clean the solar panels. Dirt provides an obstacle to direct sunlight on the solar panels. In that case, solar panel systems will face low heat problems and draw insufficient output power. To get better output power you should clean it at least once a year if you live in a clean area. Otherwise, you should clean at least twice a year. But what do you use to clean solar panels? Automated cleaning of solar panels, and manual cleaning system. So, choose which cleaning system you prefer.
3. Can I Use Drones to Clean Solar Panels?
Yes, of course, you can use a drone to clean solar panels. The drone contains a camera. If you use it to clean your dirty solar panel, then you will be able to see your solar panel condition through the drone camera. Basically, drones contain water and sweep the dust away from the pressurized floating water.
In that case, if you have a solar panel on a rooftop then you can inspect them from the ground. If you become worried about how to clean solar panels on the roof from the ground. In that case, drones can be the best way to clean solar panels.