Do you have a solar system for your home or business? If you want to maximize your free source of energy, you’ll need to clean your panels from time to time. Dirty solar panels can lose 15-25% of their efficiency, resulting in decreased energy output for your home or business.
Cleaning your solar panels regularly can help them stay in great shape and operate at their maximum potential. Read on to find out all you need to know about solar panel cleaning!Why Do Solar Panels Need Cleaning?
Solar panels generate power by allowing sunlight into their solar cells. The more sunlight hits a panel, the more power it generates. However, solar panels face the sky and are very prone to building up dust, dirt, and even bird droppings. If the rain can’t wash off these persistent stains, your solar panel’s efficiency will start to drop.
Cleaning your solar panels becomes even more important if your PV panels are facing straight up. Rainwater tends to wash the grime and filth off your solar panels if they’re installed at an angle, but it won’t do the same on panels facing upwards. Rainwater might end up pooling on your panel and leave even more grime when they evaporate, affecting your panel’s performance.
While keeping your solar panel clean is generally a good idea, you don’t have to clean it every time you see grime building up. Start by monitoring your solar panel output from month to month. If there’s a noticeable decrease in panel performance or you see a lot of dirt build-up on your PV cells, then it might be time to clean. Otherwise, you can hold off cleaning until you really need to do it.
If you’ve decided to clean your solar panels yourself, you need to know how to do it properly. You can clean your solar panels with these six steps.1. Prepare The Equipment
The items you need to clean solar panels will depend on how much grime you need to clean. In most cases, a garden hose and a bucket of soapy water will do the job. You can also use a soft sponge if you need to remove particularly persistent stains. Depending on the height of your roof, you may also need a ladder to get to your panels.2. Shut Down Your System And Disconnect Rainwater Tanks
Before starting, you need to completely shut your solar panels and inverters down. This helps prevent any electrical problems that could arise if they are cleaned while turned on.
You should also disconnect your rainwater tanks so the dirty water from your solar panels’ cleaning doesn’t flow into your tank.3. Choose The Right Time Of Day
Due to the sudden temperature change, hot solar panels can crack if they are exposed to cold water. Moreover, soapy water can quickly evaporate in heat, leaving you with more stains and rendering your work useless.
We recommend cleaning your solar panels in the early morning when the panels are still relatively cool. If you can’t make time in the mornings, you can also clean them on a cloudy day or a cool evening.4. Ensure Your Safety
If possible, you should clean your panels from the ground to avoid injuries or falls. Choose a suitable nozzle for your garden hose so the water can reach your solar panels. If the grime cannot be washed away with just water, use a long-handled brush or squeegee.
However, if you have to get on the roof because you can’t reach the panels, make sure you have the proper safety equipment to do so.5. Wash Your Panels
Whether you’re cleaning from the ground or on the roof, you need to direct water to the spots of dirt and grime on the panel. Make sure you only spray the top of your solar panels with water. Directing water to the back of the panels may cause issues with your solar equipment.
For more stubborn stains like bird droppings, you can use a sponge with some soapy water. Scrub lightly and carefully so you don’t accidentally damage the panels.6. Remove Remaining Water
Make sure there’s no water left once you’re finished cleaning. Use a rubber squeegee to wipe off any excess water so it doesn’t leave any stains when the water dries.Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Solar Panels
Cleaning solar panels on your roof can be a daunting task if you’re new to solar power systems. Here are three of the most common questions asked about cleaning solar panels, answered.Can I pressure wash my panels?
We don’t recommend using a pressure cleaner to rinse your commercial or residential solar panels. While it may look like a good and convenient way to get rid of persistent stains, the high-pressure jet of water may end up damaging your solar cells instead. We suggest using a gentle stream of water from garden hoses so you don’t harm your panels.How often should you clean solar panels?
It depends on multiple factors. If your area is dusty or rife with air pollution, you may need to clean your panels more often to ensure maximum efficiency. Solar panels that lay flat on the roof also need to be cleaned more often because it’s harder for rainwater to naturally wash the grime away.
Most solar companies suggest cleaning your solar panels at least twice a year. You can also consider cleaning your panels more regularly if your solar panel’s performance drops or grime starts to pile up.Can I clean solar panels myself?
You can clean solar panels yourself with tools or equipment found around the house. However, it’s incredibly risky to work on rooftops if you’re not properly trained. When in doubt, book a professional solar panel cleaner.Conclusion
Solar panels are low-maintenance equipment that can grant you free power for decades – if you maintain and clean them when needed. Check your solar system’s output every month and consider cleaning it once you see its performance dropping. If you can’t do it yourself, hire professional solar panel cleaners instead!