Keep Your Solar Lights Squeaky Clean

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Courtesy of Greenshine New Energy LLC

There are two schools of thought when it comes to cleaning your solar lights: either you should never have to do it, or you should do it regularly as part of the unit’s maintenance. As is often the case, there is truth in both sides.

One of the major selling points for solar lighting is how low-maintenance it is. Enter the “never wash your lights” argument. If the collector panel is out in the open—away from trees, dirt and debris—and it rains fairly often, then there is no reason for you to clean it. In a situation like this, the lights are self-cleaning. However, if the lights are in a heavily urban area, like above a busy street, or under a tree, or you happen to live in an area with sand/dust storms, then cleaning your lights is a good part of a (very low maintenance) maintenance routine.

Particulate matter from exhaust, wind-blown dust and sand, debris from trees and feces from birds can all be detrimental to the function of a solar light. If the solar collector is blocked in some way, even partially, it can affect the output of the entire system. If the lights are close enough to the ground to touch, you can wipe them off with water and some mild soap. Make sure to use a soft rag or sponge, anything abrasive could damage the panel. If the solar lights are out of reach, you can rinse them off quickly and easily with a standard garden hose and nozzle attachment. If a simple spray wash isn’t cutting it, you can use a squeegee with a sponge and pole attachment—the same type used to wash windows—to apply soapy water that can be sprayed away by a hose.

One of the advantages of solar lights is their convenience. After they are installed, they can be left for years before repair or bulb replacement needs to occur. However, one further consideration that should be made before they are installed is how often they might need to be cleaned, since their use and location will determine how dirty they will become.

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