For homes and businesses that use solar panels for power generation, one of the frequent questions they get to ask bothers about the care and maintenance of their solar panels.
As regards cleaning solar panels, one popular question has always been if Windex can be used to clean solar panels.
Although, most solar panel installations only require a little cleaning since water from rainfall does an excellent job of cleaning.
However, certain situations could require getting up there to clean off the bird droppings, stuck debris, etc.
During times like this, the popular every-home-companion Windex can be used to give those panels a spick and span look.
Do Solar Panels Need To Be Cleaned?
This should be the first step before determining what makes Windex a suitable cleaning agent for solar panels. So, do solar panels need to be cleaned since water from rainfall does the job at least?
First, it is important to understand that solar panels are a collection of many Photovoltaic cells. These cells are real energy-grabbers, so the more exposed they are, the better they are equipped to do their job.
Solar panels are, however, outdoor-mounted devices; whether mounted on rooftops or the ground, solar panels are expected to be fully exposed to the rays coming from the sun.
But this exposure also makes them open to dirt, settled dust, leaves, bird droppings, and many other contaminants, which could reduce their efficiency.
While the water from rainfall does play a good role in cleaning the solar panels, a cleaning agent like Windex combined with some manpower would, however, do a better job at removing stubborn stains and dirt.
What Is Windex?
While this question may sound absurd to some, it is important for those living in communities where Windex is unavailable. So, what is Windex?
Windex is a registered product that acts as a cleaner and disinfectant for surfaces such as glass, steel, plastic, vinyl, etc.
The product has been around since the early 1930s and has won many’s respect as a master cleaning agent.
What Makes Windex A Good Cleaning Agent For Solar Panels?
Some products fit under the title of “cleaning agent,” but they are all not the same and cannot be used for the same surfaces due to the difference in their constituents.
Windex can however be used in cleaning solar panels due to the concentration of the following ingredients which constitute the product.
The following Windex ingredients are found on its manufacturer’s page:
Water acts as the liquid base in Windex
2- Hexoxyethanol is a surfactant that serves as an active ingredient in the Windex product
Isopropanolamine is a solvent-cleaning agent. It is used in many other cleaning agents, and Windex helps to wash away the left-behind soapy feel.
This is also a cleaning agent, which many refer to as ammonia. The concentration of this substance in Windex is mild, so it does not affect the panel.
Lauryl Dimethyl Amine Oxide
This is also a cleaning agent that helps to eliminate dirt.
Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate
Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate is a surfactant used to remove dirt.
Just as the name implies, the combination of fragrant substances used in Windex gives the cleaning agent its unique aroma.
Liquitint Sky Blue Dye
This gives Windex its aesthetic appeal and color.
Unlike some other products whose constituents cannot be accounted for, the Windex company has remained open about its ingredients and the function of each.
Since glass happens to be one of the surfaces Windex is meant for, using it to clean solar panels only falls within its usage jurisdiction.
How To Clean Solar Panels Using Windex
Solar panels cannot be compared to vinyl tiles or glass tables spawned across the living room area in terms of cost and how delicate it is.
This means certain steps should be followed when using Windex on solar panels to get the best results.
These steps include:
- The entire solar system should be turned off before cleaning to eliminate any risk of shock or electrocution
- Solar panels are best cleaned during the early morning hours as the panels can get hot when the sun is out and shining
- A hose with sound water output should also be on standby to rinse the panels once cleaned
- Use a scrubber or brush that is not so harsh on the panels
Benefits Of Cleaning Your Solar Panels With Windex
Earlier in this discourse, it had been mentioned that cleaning your solar panels with a cleaning agent like Windex helps to increase the efficiency of the photovoltaic cells.
While this is one basic reason, there are, however, several other benefits that accrue from using Windex to clean solar panels.
At first glance, the durability of solar panels may not have a connection with dirt and debris on the panels. But dirt, if left unattended, could lead to scratches on the solar panel surface, which would reduce the device’s life span.
For many solar panel manufacturers and installers, regular cleaning is usually a condition for warranty.
So, in the event of a malfunction, a manufacturer may only accept the warranty provisions if they find that the device has been cleaned regularly.
Cleaning Gives an Opportunity For Inspection
Especially for rooftop-mounted solar panels, regular inspections are not feasible except during times dedicated to cleaning the panels. Such times allow you to observe cracks, dents, or irregular looks.
Increased Return On Investment (ROI)
Installing solar panels requires a lot of money, so everything that should be done to maximize the investment ought to be done.
One simple way to get more from such an investment is by cleaning the solar panels regularly.
Solar panels are delicate devices that sometimes require a ton of bucks to acquire. Its acquisition should, however, be something other than the end goal, rather, there should be a regular and proper maintenance culture to get the best from the investment.
While it looks like glass, solar panels are a lot more sophisticated, and using just any cleaning agent could hamper their efficiency, durability, and life span.
However, Windex has proven to be a great cleaning agent for solar panels due to its ingredients’ mild but effective concentration.