What Should You Do and How Should You Do It?
A few days into 2020 and we were struck by a tragedy when the Taal Volcano erupted on the afternoon of January 12, ending its 43 years of silence. The eruption caused ashfall in Batangas and nearby provinces like Cavite and Laguna, and even reaching as far as Metro Manila. Toxic ash with a foul odor and hazardous particulate matter instantly transformed the land into a vast color of gloomy gray.
What happens to my system?
When solar panels are covered with thick layers of ash, the performance of the solar panel system decreases. The power loss increases with the increase in the quantity of ash on the PV system. In some instances, it can be a complete drop of output if the ashen panels have already hardened and become “espasol”.
What do I do?
Anyone can clean their own panels as long as safety practices are observed. Volcanic ash can be dangerous as its particles are very hard and tiny with jagged edges. It can cause eye, nose, and lung irritation. It can also cause breathing problems. Thick layers of ash can accumulate and harden, causing roofs to collapse over time and clogging your house’s gutters. This is why you should observe extreme caution and be careful of its residue.
How do I do it?
When cleaning a roof with ash, it’s important to do so safely and have a lifeline or rope, a good set of rubber shoes, a dust mask (N95 or equivalent), helmet, and goggles. In other words, proper and complete Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Other materials needed are a broom/walis, a walis tambo, a scooper or trowel, trash bags, a hose, and running water. A power washer could be used but set on the broadest spray option to do the job effectively and not overly abrade the panels.
5 Steps in Cleaning the Ash Off Your Solar Panels
- Take out as much debris as possible from the solar panels and roof – carefully. Make sure to clean out the gutter. You can plug the gutter hole with an old, wet t-shirt or rag to avoid ash from building up in the pipes.
- Brush out the debris carefully with a broom or soft-bristled brush.
- After most of the ash has been swept and removed from the roof, rinse down the remaining debris.
- The panels can then be washed and cleaned with a squeegee or soft brush. Some dishwashing liquid soap can be used, with a tablespoon of baking soda, mixed in a bucket of water. The baking soda will help neutralize the acidity of the ash. This mixture can be used as the final soap wash.
- Rinse. Do not dry wipe the panels with visible dust because it will make the cloth act like sandpaper.
Do note that the roof will be slicker than normal when ash is mixed with water/soapy water.
To our valued clients
You may contact 0915.269.5403 or 7504.0092 to request for Solar Panel Ash Cleaning. We strongly recommend that you have your roofs cleaned to ensure that your roof gutters are debris-free and ash-free before the Solaric team cleans the solar panels.
Let us continue to pray for the safety of all evacuated families near, around, and within the vicinity of Taal. Stay safe Philippines!
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