A lesson I recently learned at work: when your boss tells you, and only you, to bring your bathing suit to work on Friday, it’s not because you missed the ultra-casual Friday memo. And you definitely shouldn’t plan on a fun day at the beach…
As a solar provider, we are often asked about solar panel maintenance and cleaning. Luckily, a solar array requires minimal maintenance. There are no moving parts and no regular maintenance schedule. In fact, cleaning your solar array is the closest thing to regular “maintenance” for your solar system. Do you actually need to clean your solar panels? Short answer: not really. Longer answer: it depends. In most areas, rain handles most of the washing for you
Our 12 kW solar array upstairs is just over a year old now #BirthdayParty! Our array serves both as an example for prospective clients and as a hazing exercise for bottom-rung employees #ThatsMe! Because the panels are often on display, the decision to wash them was primarily for aesthetic reasons. That, and I’m pretty sure my boss thinks I’m an intern. Interns are perhaps the best way to get your panels clean! Which reminds me, internship opportunities at ecoSolargy are available – email me!
Before performing any maintenance on your solar array, you must switch the AC & DC disconnects to the “OFF” position.
First off, my focus is solar marketing and design which requires minimal knowledge of solar cleaning. In retrospect, I wish I had conducted some research on the subject. Instead, armed with foolhardy confidence and blissful ignorance, I scaled the ladder to the roof with only a hose. If your roof has a water spigot, your job just became a whole lot easier. If not, enlist your office manatee to run a hose from the roof to ground level! My shortsighted plan was to use my thumb to simulate rainfall. If you decide that your thumb does not suffice, you can buy a spray nozzle, Mr. Rockefeller. Half an hour into spraying down our solar array, our system was indeed cleaner…but not spotless. #HighStandards
If you’ve decided to clean your solar panels because you’re jealous of your neighbor’s sparkling array, I recommend a much more tedious approach…one that involves actual cleaning. After several jobs that required me to mop regularly, I thought I’d finally landed an office job that would free me from the mopping game once and for all. To make things worse, mopping solar panels is at least three times more aggravating than regular mopping. Solar panels are over five inches off the ground, separated into panels, and mildly electrified. It’s tedious to mop each one, but the end result certainly is satisfying.
Sustainability Intern Wanted: This position offers a chance to gain hands-on experience with sustainability. You will be assigned fun outdoor activities that may involve solar panels, hoses, creative uses of mops, and more! A rooftop “office” will double as your living quarters until the solar system is spotless and you’re allowed off the roof. Position is unpaid, but a sleeping bag will be provided.
Check out Greentech Media’s article about automated solar system cleaning.