Show Your Solar Panels Some TLC: Here’s How To Do It

A set of portable solar panels is a great addition to any outdoor vehicle. It is an excellent source of regular power, without needing any fuel like portable generators. It is one of the best 4WD accessories out there and will improve any camping experience.

However, just like any piece of equipment, it will need some maintenance. Solar panels usually are best left alone. Rain is usually enough to clean away the dirt and dust. There are times though, when you need to wash off the mess on it. Usually, this is because of bird dropping or some particularly stubborn mess on it. These small stains can lower the efficiency of the panel. It’s not much – maybe just a 5% decrease but you may want to clean it up before any major camping trip to ensure it’s in top condition.

Cleaning Panels

When you want to clean solar panels, you have two choices. First, you can always call in professionals to clean them. Several solar companies offer this service. Usually, this is apart of an annual maintenance offer. However, try to ensure that you are not spending too much for it.

Second, cleaning it yourself is actually one of the best of options. It is actually pretty simple. You just need some water and a bit of soap.

However, there is a bit of a process when you’re cleaning. The initial step is to check out what your portable solar panels require when it comes to cleaning. The manuals usually have some recommendations on how to do the cleaning and what you need to do the job. You should also choose the right moment for cleaning. Solar panels can get pretty hot and you should avoid cleaning when it is pretty hot since the temperature difference can cause cracking.

When you’ve checked out everything, just get a hose and a bucket of soapy water. Do the same thing that you do when you’re cleaning a car. You use a non-abrasive sponge and apply the soapy water on the car. Try to keep this in mind since damaging the panels would lower the amount of power that they’re producing. High-pressure water sprays are something you should avoid, as well as stronger cleaning detergents. Just plain water is often enough for cleaning.

There are times though when there are some stubborn stains. This can be bird poop or something oily. There are some things to avoid when cleaning these. For caked-on dirt or bird poop, don’t scrub too hard or even think about using metal scrapers. This can result in scratches and damage to the solar panel.

Oily stains can also happen. When you’re on the road, the exhaust can result in residue on the panels. To clean these stains off, you will need isopropyl alcohol.

When you’re done with the cleaning, you should wipe down the residue. Don’t allow it to dry on its own. This can cause residue or smears to leave behind. When you wipe it down, this leaves it a lot cleaner.

When heading out for an outdoor adventure, you need to be ready to recharge all your gadgets and other accessories. Some portable solar panels may come handy. Visit 4WD Supacentre’s website and learn more!