Having a 12V Solar Panel installed on your house means that you are on your way in cutting off dependence from fossil fuels but this interest should not stop after installation. You should also know how to clean and maintain your 12V solar panels so that it would last for a long time.
There are several ways to clean your solar panel:
Call a Friend
Just like having your car cleaned, you can also avail of solar panel cleaning services. Most cities would have this service listed in the yellow pages or in Google but if you can’t find anybody closer to home, maybe you can start one of your own. If in case you will choose this option, make sure that the company you are hiring is covered by an extensive insurance policy.
Deploy the Droids
Solar cleaning robots are now available in the market and they act like robot vacuums and swimming pool cleaning robots. Just deploy them and they would do the work for you. They can be expensive and invest in them only if you have the extra budget to do so.
Employ Self-Cleaning Technology
Employing technology used in Mars, this was developed to make sure that the rovers are well-powered by solar panels with minimal loss of energy. An electric charge is sent through the outer casing to lift off the dust and carry them towards the edges of the panel.
Most solar panel manuals would come with their own instructions and it is advised to follow them religiously. Generally, cleaning solar panels on your own would have the following steps:
- Wait for a cloudy day. The best day to clean a solar panel is during a cloudy day, early in the morning and in the evening.
- Unmount your solar panel. Always clean them on the ground to make it easier. This also gives you the chance to inspect the panel for physical damages, lets you tighten screws and check for damaged wires and loose connections.
- Tighten it up. Repair any loose connection and replace damaged wires for a better energy output. Use a wrench to tighten any loose screw and make sure that the wires are not in the way of water.
- Brush off. Using a soft brush, take off any loose sediment or any other loose materials.
- Wash in, wash off. In a small sized bucket, mix 1 cup of vinegar (any kind), 2 cups of non-abrasive liquid soap and 8 cups of water. This organic mixture can also be used to clean glass and mirrors.
- Wipe it. Using a soft, non-static cloth or a non-abrasive sponge wash the panels with the organic solution. Make sure to wipe the dust off and remove any sticky debris. Be careful not to use too much pressure as this can scratch the panel leading to energy loss.
- Pat it dry. With a squeegee, wipe off any excess water from the panels to prevent the build-up of hard water minerals. Dry the edges using a non-static, non-abrasive cloth.
- Check the wires and bolts again for any damage or loose connection and then install the solar panel again.
DIY Maintenance Tips
Follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s manual on how to maintain the solar panel. These can include checking if the batteries are charging, re-soldering wires that have been disconnected, checking for external cell damage and fixing any other issue that one might see during an inspection.
Protect Against Theft and Vandalism
Solar panels can be expensive and have been the target of theft during recent years, in order to protect your investment you can do the following:
- Create a special casing that can be bolted to the roof or anchored to the ground. The casing should have a provision for a padlock as well.
- Use special bolts that only specific wrenches can turn. This would hinder thieves as they will spend some time trying and testing different tools before taking off with your solar panel.
- Get a guard dog that would roam around the property.
- Installing security cameras is also a good idea as well as having trip wires all around the perimeter.
Frequency of Maintenance
12V solar panels should be regularly maintained at least once a month. This would prevent corrosion, malfunction and accidents in the long run. Keeping debris off the panels would add to its efficiency.