There is one subject that is ignored by many in the solar energy industry, which is cleaning solar panels, in this post, I am going to share with you how to clean solar panels. Also, I am going to give you some tips you can follow when doing so.
Why Do You Need to Clean Solar Panels?
When debris and dirt particles accumulate to your solar panels they will lower the efficiency of your solar panels, in most cases, it is estimated that the efficiency can lower up to 5%. This is the reason that you need to keep your solar panels as clean as possible.
Is It Worth It To Clean Your Solar Panels?
Most solar panels expect do not recommend cleaning solar panels, this is because solar panels are installed at a tilted angle so the dirt and debris will drop, also the rain will do the rest of the cleaning.
As we stated above, on average, when your solar panels get dirty, expect a 5% or less change in output, if you have few solar panels it is not worth the trouble.
The cost of cleaning solar panels (if you are hiring someone to do it for you) is higher to justify the power loss, what I will suggest is that let the rain do its magic and your panels will get cleaned.
When To Clean Solar Panels
The time you need to consider cleaning your solar panels is if they have accumulated a lot of bird droppings on them.
Can I clean my solar panels myself?
Yes, you can clean solar panels yourself, I am going to share the tools and how you can do it in this post, but before you do that check if your solar panel’s system is still under installer warranty (not solar manufacture warranty) and if it is under warranty consider calling them to do this.
There is electricity produced by solar panels, trained personnel should be dealing with it, but if you are comfortable with it you can go and clean yourself as described below.
Tools and Materials Needed to Clean Solar Panels
When you decided it is time to clean your solar panels and you want to clean them yourself there are some tools you need in get the job done.
Below, is a list of tools you might need for cleaning solar panels.
You need a sponge to clean your solar panels. Choose a large, soft to medium sponge for this job. A harsh scrubbing sponge can damage the protective coating on solar panels.
A gentle dish detergent is the best choice here, and it’s wise to use soap sparingly to avoid product build-up or streaking.
A long-handled sponge or telescoping rod with a sponge attached to the end prevents you from having to climb onto your roof.
In the absence of a tool with a long handle, you’ll need a ladder for solar panel cleaning.
Avoid buying harsh chemicals or detergents that can damage your panels, as can powerful streams of water such as those emitted by a power washer.
For Minimal Dust Build-Up: Use a Hose
If your solar panels have minimal dust or debris, you do not need all tools mentioned above, all you need is a hose, if you have a garden hose you can use it.
By using a ladder or anything that can help you to reach your solar panel just spray them down fully, and you’re good to go
Just be sure that you don’t spray the panels with high-pressure jets, or with a pressure washer.
This might scratch or damage the panels themselves, which can lead to lowered performance and efficiency.
How to clean solar panels step by step
Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to clean solar panels that you can follow if you notice a build-up of dirt, grime, and other debris.
Step 1: Mix Water With Dish Soap
The first thing that you need to do is to mix warm water with a few drops of dish soap in a five-gallon bucket.
Step 2: Wet Solar Panels
With the help of your ladder and using a hose, gently spray water on your solar panels. Starting with wet panels will help avoid soap from adhering to your panels and leaving streaky build-up.
Step 3: Scrub Panels
After wetting your solar panels, you need to scrub them using a sponge, you can you a long-handled broom to do this.
Step 4: Spray Again
After scrubbing your solar panels, you might leave some residue, all you need to do is to spray water on the panels again until all soap residue is gone.
Tips to follow when cleaning solar panels
Here are three tips that you can follow if you are going to clean solar panels by yourself.
Don’t go too high
Most of the time solar panels are installed on the roof, you will need a ladder in order to reach them, please avoid going too high so that you can reduce the risk of falling.
Take safety precautions
Solar panels produce electricity and this can be dangerous for you, make your you take safety precautions and wear appropriate gear for the job.
Clean them in the morning or evening
Solar panels get too hot during peak hours, this is the time when they produce most of the energy, to avoid this clean them early in the morning or late in the evening when they are not so hot.
In this post, we went through the process of how to clean solar panels, when it is the right time to do so, the tools you need and some precautions you need to take before you clean solar panels.