You already made a great investment when you installed your home solar power system. Investing in solar panel cleaning equipment is the next step to maintain and care for that investment. Accessing your solar panels can be the most challenging part of the cleaning process. Our solar panel cleaning kit contains the tools you need to simplify that process and is available for purchase on-line at Westech Equipment and Amazon.
Why clean your solar panels?
Experts in the industry believe dirty panels produce up to 25 percent less energy than regularly cleaned panels. Some brands of panels may lose as much as 40 percent efficiency when they aren’t cleaned! In addition to decreasing the efficiency of your solar panels, neglecting to clean them could shorten their life or even void your warranty. Check your manufacturer and installer warranties to find out how often your panels should be cleaned and if there are special instructions for cleaning your specific brand of panels.
How often should you clean solar panels?
The widely held standard for cleaning solar panels is once every six months or at least once per year. Solar panels are generally self-cleaning, but in particularly dry areas or where panel tilt is minimal, dust and other substances such as bird droppings can build up over time. This will impact the amount of electricity generated by your solar panels. Grime and bird poop doesn’t need to cover an entire panel to have an effect. When parts of your solar panels are covered, those parts of your panels are useless. In this particular situation cleaning solar panels may need to be done more frequently.
After the winter and summer seasons you will most likely see the most residue build up. Consider adding this task to your regular spring and fall clean-up activities. It’s no different than cleaning your windows and outdoor lighting or keeping your gutters free from debris. All these systems work more efficiently when they are clean and well maintained.
When is the best time of day to clean?
Clean your solar panels on an overcast day, early in the morning or in the evening. If the sun is beating down and the panels are hot, any water used can quickly evaporate and dirt will become smeared. Early morning can be a really good time to clean panels. The reasons for this are lower temperatures and dew that has accumulated on panels will likely have softened the dirt and grime on the surface. That means you’ll need less water and less energy to clean your solar panels.
Safety tips to keep in mind
Consider safety first when cleaning solar panels – follow your system’s procedure for shutting down prior to cleaning. It’s also wise to clean your panels from the ground, if possible, to avoid slips and falls. If you have a rooftop array and cleaning your panels from the ground is not possible, be sure you have the appropriate safety equipment and training. If you don’t, hire a suitably qualified professional instead.
Tools and methods for cleaning solar panels
If the panels are dry, brush off any loose materials with a soft brush first – this will make cleaning easier and faster. Don’t use metal objects or harsh abrasive products for removing caked on materials. Scratching the glass on a solar panel can affect its performance as scratches will cast shadows. Use of abrasive powders also risks scratching the panels.
Given the nature of good quality solar panel glass, clean water and a little scrubbing with a microfiber wash sleeve or soft brush should remove the most stubborn grime. If your water is hard (mineral-rich) and rainwater is available; use that as a final rinse; then squeegee dry. If hard water is all you have, just be sure to squeegee well as mineral-laden water can form deposits on glass as it dries. Avoid using detergents if possible as these may streak the surface of the panel and can leave a dust-attracting residue. Never use pressure washers on solar panels, doing so could damage them.
We hope this article has helped you understand a bit more about the importance of keeping your solar panels clean and working efficiently. Thanks for reading!