How to Clean Your Solar Panels

Solar panel cleaning is necessary for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it will help your solar panels last longer.

Secondly, it can help you prevent costly maintenance expenses caused by dirt and debris being lodged in the blades and disrupting power generation.

Finally, clean solar panels can boost energy output by up to 20%.

This PowerVersity guide teaches you how to clean your solar panels. The guide covers steps to clean solar panels with water and other items that will not reduce the durability of the panels.

The best way to clean solar panels is with water. Cleaning the panels with other substances will not only be ineffective, but it can also reduce the durability of your panels.

Do You Need to Clean Your Solar Panels?.

Do You Need to Clean Your Solar Panels

In order to generate electricity, solar panels need to be unsheltered from sunlight. Solar panel cleaning is necessary at least once every year.

However, except if you live someplace with high amounts of smoke, dust, dirt, and so on, solar panel cleaning is generally not necessary.

It will be a good practice to make it a routine to clean up your panels occasionally if you live in an unpurified area.

How do You Know When to Clean Your Solar Panels?

How do You Know When to Clean Your Solar Panels

There are several ways you can tell:

Firstly, Having a nearby construction site near your home, these dusty materials get blown around by the strong gusts of wind and settle on the surface of your panels.

In such a case, it would be best for you to clean them 3-4 days after the construction project has been completed.

This should reduce the amount of dust settling on your solar power system.

Secondly, sometimes the rain comes not just from clouds but also from humans themselves through functions like car washes and window cleaning.

If that occurs in close proximity to where you have installed these panels, then you might want to consider washing them.

Thirdly, a quick rain shower can clog your panels with leaves that come tumbling out of the trees surrounding them.

How often you might need to clean them depends largely on:

  • where exactly your panels are installed
  • how many leaves surround them
  • what time of year this happens most frequently.

You may need to clean your solar panel surfaces every few weeks or months depending on their location and foliage near them.

However, if your system is running well (producing enough electricity) then there’s no need for concern.

Finally, how about our beloved homeowners? Dusty debris may accumulate on the surface of the solar panels as a consequence of gardening or other outside activities.

As a result, you should consider cleaning these panels on a regular basis. Otherwise, they will become the dustiest part of your house, which may be evident when there is no breeze.

Steps to Take before Cleaning Your Solar Panel.

Step 1: Disconnect the Solar Panels

Safety should come first in washing your solar panels. When washing your solar panels, one of the most important steps to consider is your safety.

I strongly recommend following the steps in the manual to disconnect the panels before attempting the cleaning.

As part of safety, all safety and protective gear should be in place.

Step 2: Getting all Cleaning Kits Ready

Cleaning Kit
Image from industrialvac.com.au

Cleaning your Solar Panel

Time to Clean Solar Panels

Cleaning your Solar panels when the sun is out is not the best time. Any water used during this time can quickly evaporate and dirt will become smeared.

It is advisable to wash your solar panels on an overcast day, late at Nite or early in the morning.

I strongly recommend early in the morning. This can be a perfect time for cleaning your panels.

Dew that has settled on the panels overnight will have softened grime. You will use less water and energy to get the work done.

Cleaning your Solar Panels

Dusted Solar Panel

I will recommend you brush off any loose materials before applying water to the surface of the Solar Panel – this will make washing easier and faster.

The care you put when washing the windshield of our vehicle should also go to wasting your solar panel.

Moreover, scratching the glass on a solar panel will reduce the performance as scratches will cast shadows.

It may also be helpful to use a squeegee to remove dirty water. Remember – avoid damaging or scratching the glass at all costs!

Solar Panel Cleaning Tools
Best Solar Panel Cleaning Tool.

Oily stains will appear on your panels on rare occasions. If you live near a popular truck route or an airport, you might find these.

The stains can be handled with a little isopropyl alcohol and a rag. However, it is necessary to avoid using strong cleaning fluids, as these can streak the glass and damage it.

In addition, some of the solar panels are tilted to a high enough degree that most of the buildup would run straight off the panel instead of sticking to the top of it.

You may have a minor buildup on the lowest panel, even with tilted panels (because the runoff collects at the bottom), but the reduction in production based on this alone is so minuscule, it’s not anything worth thinking about.

Finally, going up a ladder, getting on your roof, and washing your solar panels yourself, energy-wise and cost-wise, is a pretty minor tradeoff.

I hope you found this PowerVersity pick helpful?

If you found it helpful, kindly share your thoughts with the “Leave a Reply” form found towards the end of this page.

Finally, to read more guides like this, visit our solar panels page.

Victor Akin-Ojo
Victor Akin-Ojo is the founder and the Lead Editor of PowerVersity.com. Before he started PowerVersity.com, Victor worked in the IT industry for close to 15 years. He worked mainly as field Engineer on Installation of VSAT, Wimax Technologies, including but not limited to, Power Maintenance Sector for close to 10 years – Designing an electrical installation for Homes, Private and Government Offices and more.

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