Are your solar panels not performing as they used to? Layers of dirt, dust, and bird droppings may be the culprit. So, it’s important to clean your solar panels regularly for them to function efficiently. If you think rain washes off the dirt, it doesn’t.
You can either hire a professional service to clean the solar panels or do it yourself. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you can use a soft brush to remove the dust. A sponge dipped in soap will rid you of the thick dust layers too.
This article will take you through all the details about cleaning your solar panels and maintaining them. Let’s jump in without further ado!
- 1 Does Cleaning your Solar Panels Make a Difference?
- 2 Solar Panel Cleaning Checklist
- 3 Steps to Clean Solar Panels
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
- 5 Wrapping Up
Does Cleaning your Solar Panels Make a Difference?
Cleaning solar panels is important to remove the layers of dirt and dust that accumulate on them for days.
The panels need cleaning as they’re exposed to heat, rain, dirt, wind, and other external factors. All this can severely affect your solar panels’ performance, especially if you reside in a windy region.
Why does this happen? When a thick layer of dust covers the solar panel’s surface, it can’t absorb sunlight properly and generate electricity. As a result, the panels won’t be able to power your house and appliances.
Regular maintenance can keep their efficiency in check for standard solar panels and won’t affect your electric bills. Even if you reside in an area prone to rain, it won’t wash away all grime.
Solar Panel Cleaning Checklist
Before gathering all the equipment to clean your solar panel, you need to check with your panel installer about cleaning specs. It will give you an idea about the points to keep in mind during the cleanup.
After you’re done, these materials will help you get those dirty panels clean –
- A soft brush
- An extendable pole to attach the brush
- A non-abrasive sponge along with soap and water solution
- A hose and a bucket
- Squeegee and a soft cloth for removing water from the panels
Optional utilities –
- A rake to remove snow from your panels
- A high-quality window washing kit
Be sure not to use harsh chemical products for cleaning solar panels as they might damage the glass surface. Again, check with the manufacturer for more details on this.
Steps to Clean Solar Panels
By now, you must be all set for solar panel cleaning! Start by checking the solar panel’s warranty and if cleaning/maintenance comes under it. And, if your solar system is leased, the provider might handle the cleaning for you. You’ll save lots of time and money in both cases.
If you have to do it yourself, follow this step-by-step approach to clean your panels efficiently.
Step 1: Start Early in the Morning
When your panels need to be cleaned, the best way is to start early morning. It’s because later during the day, the sun rays will be stronger and will evaporate the water you’ll use for cleaning. It will smear the dirt and leave stains behind. Not a good sight!
Cleaning solar panels early morning will help remove the dirt quickly. It happens as the panels collect dew all night, which helps soften the dust particles.
You can also clean solar panels on a cool evening or an overcast day.
Step 2: Shut the System Down
The first step in your solar panel cleanup will be shutting it down completely. So, you might need to refer to the operating manual provided by the manufacturer. For example, you might have to use the main switch of your solar supply to shut down an AC system.
Shutting down the system will prevent electrical accidents and possible damage to the solar panels.
You also need to disconnect the rainwater collections connected to the gutters. It will prevent dirty water from entering your tank while cleaning the panels.
Step 3: The Basic Cleanup
To be on the safer side, begin cleaning your panels from the ground. Use a hose with an appropriate nozzle and bucket of soap water to wash the panels.
Ensure the water isn’t of high mineral content. Also, try not to use a high water pressure while spraying. Both these steps will protect the panel’s surface.
Step 4: Remove the Dirt and Grime
If you see that the layer of dirt and grime is too thick to wash off, you’ll need extra power. Firstly, attach the brush to the extension pole and start scrubbing the panel gently. It will prevent scratches on the glass surface while removing the stubborn dirt or bird droppings.
You can also use a sponge dipped in soap along with a soft brush. Just fix it to the extension pole. However, remember never to use harsh detergents to clean the panel’s glass surface. Always pick a non-abrasive cleaner.
Before each wipe, let the soapy water stand for at least 5 to 10 minutes on the glass.
Step 5: Dry the Panels
After removing all of the dust and dirt from the solar panels, it’s time to rinse off the water. You have to use a soft squeegee with a plastic blade on the side to dry the wet panels. Avoid using high-pressure water here to keep the panels in shape.
To remove water from the edges of the solar panels, you can use a soft and dry cloth. Move it across the edges after you’re done using the squeegee.
Step 6: Clear Out Other Materials
Besides the dust and grime, there might be other stuff stuck on your panels. So, when you clean solar panels, the snow, mud, or debris need to go away too.
If there’s too much snow on the solar panels, you can use a rake attached to the extension pole to remove all of it. In addition, you can use a hot air blower on the surface to get rid of the snow.
For clearing other stuff, keep these pointers in mind –
- If there are branches or twigs stuck on the panels, you might have to climb up to get a good look.
- You must attempt to get on the rooftop only if you have a safety ladder or proper equipment.
- Remember that the wet panels might be super slippery, so be cautious. The best way to go about this is by contacting professional cleaning services.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should We Clean Our Solar Panels?
You must clean your panels every 4 to 6 months. If you live in a dry and dusty area with lots of pollution, you must clean them every 3-4 months.
People living near construction sites or areas having frequent rainfall also need to follow this maintenance schedule. As a rule of thumb, take a closer look at your solar panels every month.
What is the Best Cleaner To Use On Solar Panels?
The best solar panel cleaning substance is a combination of water and mild soap. Gently spray this solution on the panels using a hose, keeping the pressure low. Don’t use strong chemicals or detergents for cleaning.
For cleaning sticky dust particles, you can use a soft brush or sponges after attaching them to an extendable pole.
To keep your solar panels running for years, you have to clean and maintain them frequently. If you can’t do it alone, get some help, but keep those panels clean. In addition, don’t use any equipment that might damage the surface while cleaning.
Monitoring your solar panels every month or two will help you maintain them properly. Always check whether the panels’ inverter is flashing green lights, which means everything is in order.