Benefits of Cleaning Solar Panels
Have you noticed your solar system is producing less energy lately? Debris buildup interferes with a solar panel’s ability to absorb sunlight, causing a drop in energy production. Keeping your solar panels operating at maximum efficiency is just one of the benefits of cleaning your solar panels.
If you want a return on investment with your solar panels, it starts with making sure your solar panels stay clean.
What are Solar Panels?
You probably associate solar panels with the advantages of saving money and reducing your carbon footprint by providing a renewable energy source. A solar panel absorbs sunlight and converts it into usable energy, supplying buildings with clean energy.
Solar panels are expensive, although fortunately tax credits and rebates are available to help offset the cost. Solar panels require a lot of room, so you’ll want to make sure your roof is suited for hosting a solar array.
Lifespans vary depending on the type of solar panel, but on average, solar panels typically last 25 to 30 years.
The process of solar panels converting sunlight into energy occurs in a few steps:
- Solar photovoltaic cells absorb sunlight.
- The collected sunlight is converted into direct current (DC) power.
- The DC power passes through an inverter to convert it into alternate current (AC) power.
- The AC power is then transported to outlets. From there, it provides power to the building.
Excess energy can be stored in a solar battery if you have one. Solar batteries save extra energy for a cloudy day. Otherwise, excess energy can be supplied to the power grid in exchange for tax rebates.
Benefits of Cleaning Your Solar Panels
Soiling occurs when dirt and grime accumulate on the surface of a solar panel. The layer of grime decreases panel performance.
Solar panel productivity is dependent on the amount of sunlight it absorbs each day, so regular solar panel cleaning helps ensure that it continues producing optimal output. Cleaning your panels is an important part of solar panel maintenance.
Increases Energy Efficiency
Clean panels produce more energy than dirty panels, and can boost efficiency by up to 30%. You don’t want your solar panel system to decrease in productivity, so it’s important to keep them clean and performing optimally.
Usually, solar panel owners can monitor the solar energy output of their solar array by tracking it on a monitoring app. You should check the progress of your solar panels every so often to see if there have been any unusual decreases in productivity. If so, it may mean that the solar panels need to be cleaned.
Improves ROI Time
If you have underperforming solar panels, it means you are losing money. You want your solar panels to pay themselves off as quickly as possible. Once the panels have paid for themselves, then the energy your solar panels are producing is saving on energy bills.
The more consistent the output, the quicker the solar panels will pay themselves off and start saving you money on electricity bills in the long run. If you procrastinate on cleaning your panels, their underperformance will cost you money.
Many solar panel manufacturers offer warranties that demand regular cleaning as a condition of the warranty agreement. Failure to regularly clean your panels could mean your solar panels are no longer covered because it voids the warranty.
When dirty, technological solar equipment is likely to fail sooner than equipment that is kept cleaned and well-maintained.
Accumulated gunk on solar panels will ultimately decrease the durability and productivity of the device. It can even decrease a panel’s lifespan. So don’t allow your solar panels to sit coated in a layer of grime for a long time.
Keeps Aesthetic Appeal
No one wants to look at a dirt-crusted solar array. Maintaining a clean solar panel system improves the home’s curb appeal and keeps your solar array looking sleek and modern.
Prevents Hot Spots
Hot spots occur when parts of your solar panels overheat due to dust buildup. Hot spots deteriorate a solar panel and decrease its lifespan. Keeping the solar panel clean protects it from developing hot spots.
Chance for Inspection
Cleaning your solar panels gives you the perfect chance to inspect them. Before you start cleaning the panels, you can examine them for damage and assess whether they need any repairs. It also allows you a chance to inspect the rest of your roof.
What Causes Solar Panels to Get Dirty
The outdoors is a great place to be, but it also can be messy. Inevitably, your solar panels will get dirty. Here are some things you will have to clean off your panels:
- Bird droppings
- Water stains
Rain washes off some of the grime on solar panels. The problem is that rain itself carries dust particles, which makes solar panels dirty and leaves behind water streaks. A little rainwater might not be enough to wash away things like bird droppings and water stains.
Solar panels in dry-climate states such as Arizona, Nevada, or Utah require more frequent cleanings due to the amount of dust in the air. Areas with smog or dust pollutants also soil your solar panels more quickly,
On top of that, solar panels are generally set relatively flat toward the sky so they are fully exposed and directly catch a lot of dirt and grime. To avoid water stains, panels are usually set at a slight tilt so that they can properly shed rainwater.
Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Solar Panels
Before you get started with your cleaning project, here are some helpful tips and tricks you should know. They will help you achieve the best results as well as provide advice on how to clean your solar panels safely.
DO turn off solar panels. Before anything else, the first thing you should always do is to turn off the solar panel system. Never clean solar panels while they are still turned on. Rinsing a solar panel with water while it is still turned on is extremely dangerous. It can lead to electrocution.
DO clean panels from the ground. Never climb onto your roof unless absolutely unavoidable. Always clean solar panels from the ground or from the edge of a roof if possible. Use a long-handled brush for reach.
DO use soft-bristled brushes. Abrasive or hard-bristled brushes can damage a solar panel, so always use soft-bristled brushes and soft clothes for cleaning. Less abrasive materials protect your roof from abrasion and scratching.
DO dry off the panels. After you finish rinsing the solar panels with water, you should dry them off with a soft cloth. Just like when you wash your car, don’t let water air dry on your solar panels, as that will leave behind nuisance water stains.
DON’T use a pressure washer. Never use a pressure washer or any jet blasts of water for cleaning solar panels. Pressure washers use forceful jets of water to clean off grime. This will surely result in cracking the glass or otherwise damaging your solar panel system.
DON’T walk on solar panels. Never walk on solar panels. Solar panels are expensive technological gadgets that are not designed for foot traffic, so don’t step on them. Putting your full weight on a panel could crack the glass or damage the wiring.
DON’T clean solar panels in the heat of the day. Sunlight charges photovoltaic solar cells, which warms up the panels. Avoid cleaning the solar panels when the device is hot, as the temperature shock of cold water can cause the glass to crack and water evaporates more quickly off of hot solar panels, which can leave behind residue. Instead, clean your panels during mornings, evenings, overcast days, or cool days.
DON’T use cold water. Keep in mind the temperature of the water you are using for your solar panels. Don’t use cold water if the solar panels are warm, and conversely, don’t use hot water if the panels are cold. Sudden extreme temperature changes can cause the glass to crack. Because solar panels absorb heat, they are generally warm, so you should use lukewarm water.
DON’T use hard water. Hard water contains high levels of minerals which leave behind white residue and water stains. Instead of hard water, use calcium-free water or distilled water, which is free of chemicals.
Best Way to Clean Solar Panels
Be cautious when cleaning your solar panels. Although they are tough enough to weather the outdoor elements, they have some delicate parts and wiring. Water leaking inside the panel or using the wrong cleaning chemical can ruin your solar panel system. When it comes to solar panel maintenance, you need to use a cleaning method that won’t harm them.
Regular solar panel cleaning is important. Here are some ideas for cleaning equipment you can use for getting debris off of your solar panels.
Automated Sprinkler System
If you want your solar array to be self-cleaning, automatic sprinkler systems can be installed on your roof to keep your solar panels clean. These automated cleaning robots are programmed to spray down your solar array with water, automatically rinsing them.
The benefit of automatic cleaning robots is that they require no human labor. Without lifting a finger, you can create a cleaning schedule to ensure your solar array is cleaned at regular intervals.
It saves you the expense of hiring a roofing contractor or risking injury from a DIY job.
The best way to scrub off dirt from your solar panels is to wash off the dust and grime with a hose. Sometimes a simple rinse is enough to remove the accumulated dust, dirt, and pollen, although you will need to dry off the panels afterwards in order to prevent water stains.
If a simple hose rinse-down isn’t enough to effectively clean panels, use a squeegee, sponge, or soft brush to scrub off any stubborn debris clinging to the surface.
Don’t use a hard-bristled brush, and don’t scrub too hard. You don’t want to damage or scratch the solar panel glass.
Ideally, you want to find a long-handled brush so you can scrub the panels from the edge of the roof so you can avoid climbing on top of your roof unless it is absolutely necessary.
Use a soft cloth to scrub or dry your solar panels. Make sure not to use any abrasive or rough materials. Definitely do not use steel wool for cleaning a solar panel, as that is certain to scratch the solar panel.
If it’s only a case of dust and you want to do a quick cleaning job without the waterworks, you use a broom to sweep off the dust covering your solar panels.
The broom needs to be fairly soft and malleable; don’t use a broom with rough bristles. Gently clean so as to not damage or break the machinery.
If a lot of leaves accumulate on your roof, you can blow them all away with a leaf blower. Leaf blowers are also useful for dislocating dirt gathered on the surface of your solar panels.
If you want to give your solar array a thorough cleaning, you can clean them with a soft brush, water, and vinegar.
Not every type of vinegar is safe for cleaning the surface of your solar panel, so stick to using white vinegar or another approved cleaner.
To create a vinegar solution, mix these ingredients together:
Do not use cooking vinegar. Cooking vinegar has higher levels of acid that will damage the solar panels. White vinegar is the best kind of vinegar to use for cleaning solar panels (and anything around your home).
Soaps and detergents are not great for cleaning solar panels, as they tend to leave behind streaks that hinder the panel’s ability to absorb sunlight. Water stains caused by soaps defeat the purpose of cleaning the solar panels in the first place and make it easier for dirt and dust to cling to your roof.
Only use mild, non-abrasive soaps. Avoid harsh soaps such as laundry detergents. If you want soapy water for a cleaning solution, try using mild soaps such as dish soap. Just make sure the soap is properly diluted in water.
Don’t use acidic or alcoholic solutions. These cause damage to the solar panels.
Always be careful about which cleaning chemical you use, as some cleaning solutions are harsh chemicals that could harm your solar panels.
You can purchase cleaning kits for solar panels. These kits come with all the equipment you need to do the job. Typically, these pre-arranged kits include tools such as:
- Biodegradable soap
- Soft-bristled brush
- Soft cleaning cloth
- Extension pole
Cleaning the Solar Inverter
A solar inverter, the device that transforms energy absorbed from the sun into usable electricity, requires cleaning every so often if you want them to keep producing solar power.
Solar inverters are placed outside, leaving them exposed to the elements and prone to getting dirty from all the dust wafting through the air. Dust inside an inverter can damage the circuit board and cause circuit failure. If that happens, the device will stop working.
Solar inverters require regular maintenance. To clean an inverter, simply wipe it down with a cotton cloth to remove dirt and dust. Don’t pour water over a solar inverter. Simply using a damp cloth or a little water spray should suffice for cleaning off your inverter.
Every so often, you also need to have a technician clean out the air intake filter. Do not attempt this task yourself; call an experienced professional.
How Often Should You Clean Solar Panels?
On average, you should clean your solar panels two to four times a year. It all depends on the area you live in and how much rain you get. In some areas, solar panels may only need to be cleaned once a year.
Some factors that affect how often your solar panels need to be cleaned include:
- Drought. Even in areas that aren’t normally dry or dusty, a drought can cause more dirt to infiltrate the air, which leads to your solar system getting dirtier faster.
- Dry areas. Areas that don’t receive frequent rainfall are dustier, so panels in arid, desert-like areas get dirtier more quickly, and thus require more frequent cleanings.
- Smog. Smog dirties solar panels, causing them to need more frequent cleaning.
- Trees. Where there’s trees, there’s leaves and pollen. Leaves and pollen both obstruct solar cells from receiving sunlight and converting it into energy.
- Wind. The wind carries around debris such as pollen, dust, dirt, and leaves, and brings them all right to your roof.
If you live in an area with a lot of dust, you’ll probably have to clean your solar panels more frequently in order to keep them regularly producing solar power.
DIY or Hire a Professional to Clean Solar Panels?
Now comes the big question: Should you hire a professional to clean your solar panels, or should you do the job yourself? While the decision is ultimately yours, you should consider the pros and cons of both options.
It is possible to clean solar panels yourself with a regular garden hose and your own vinegar cleaning solution.
If you decide that you’d prefer a DIY job, gather the materials before you start. Don’t just think about cleaning supplies – you’ll also need safety equipment for your protection. Here is a list of things you’ll probably want to have on hand for a DIY cleaning job:
- Cleaning solution
- Hard hat
- Work gloves
- Cleaning solution
- Cleaning cloth
If you plan on cleaning your panels yourself, you should have a partner to help you.
Hire a Professional
A big advantage of hiring a pro is that you won’t have to deal with the hassle of purchasing all the equipment yourself. Trained professionals already have all the equipment they need for a solar panel cleaning project:
- Specialized brushes
- Water tanks
- Cleaning solutions
In addition to cleaning your roof, a contractor can check for damage or issues with your solar panels and repair any problems with your solar system. On average, the cost for solar panel cleaning services ranges 5 to 35 per panel.
Some good reasons to hire a professional for solar panel cleaning:
- You don’t have the right equipment. If you don’t already own a ladder, harness, or any of the cleaning supplies you need, you may want to hire a pro.
- You are comfortable and experienced with climbing on a ladder and roof. Specialists are professionally trained to clean solar panels on roofs, so they are far less likely to sustain an injury when working on top of a roof. If you aren’t comfortable with being on a roof, then you should hire out the job.
- You have physical limitations. If you are elderly or have any physical limitations, call a contractor to clean your panels for you and don’t take unnecessary risks.
- You don’t have time. Employing a professional solar panel cleaner saves you both time and effort so you can FOCUS on other things.
Hiring a trained specialist doesn’t only reduce personal risk, it also reduces the risk to your solar panels, as well. If you are inexperienced with solar panel cleaning, you won’t risk mistakes such as accidentally using the wrong kind of chemical cleaning solution or scrubbing too hard and scratching the roof.
FAQs About the Benefits of Cleaning Solar Panels
Yes. Windex is a good cleaning product for solar panels that you can easily spray on your solar panels to clean them. It is a cheap product that you can find for sale in many stores.
You can purchase a brush for cleaning solar panels from multiple companies, including Amazon, supermarket stores like Wal-Mart, or hardware stores such as Home Depot.
Solar panels are generally hardy and durable, as they are built to withstand rough weather conditions such as hails, storms, and high winds. However, some of the wiring is delicate and they do have a front surface made of glass, so they are susceptible to breakage if not handled properly. Solar panels are not easily damaged, but they should always be treated with care to prevent them from getting damaged.
A Time to Clean
There are multiple options for cleaning your solar panel system: hire a solar panel cleaning company, do it yourself, or purchase an automatic cleaning machine. You will have to consider what works best for your lifestyle and your budget.
If you think hiring a professional solar panel cleaner for the job is best, then contact a solar panel cleaner today.
Danielle Gorski lives with her family in Texas. She has a degree in Professional Studies and a minor in marketing. Her hobbies include reading, drawing, and writing.
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How To Clean Solar Panels (2023 Guide)
Enter your ZIP code below to get a free home solar system quote.
- Cleaning Solar Panels
- Understanding Solar Panel Components
- When and How Often To Clean Solar Panels
- Preparation for Cleaning
- Step-by-Step Guide Cleaning Solar Panels
- The Bottom Line
Leonardo David is an electromechanical engineer, MBA, energy consultant and technical writer. His energy-efficiency and solar consulting experience covers sectors including banking, textile manufacturing, plastics processing, pharmaceutics, education, food processing, real estate and retail. He has also been writing articles about energy and engineering topics since 2015.
Tori Addison is an editor who has worked in the digital marketing industry for over five years. Her experience includes communications and marketing work in the nonprofit, governmental and academic sectors. A journalist by trade, she started her career covering politics and news in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her work included coverage of local and state budgets, federal financial regulations and health care legislation.
Solar panels are very durable — the best solar companies now offer a 25-year product warranty, and most panels have a typical lifespan of 25 to 30 years. However, photovoltaic (PV) cells are only productive when sunlight can reach their surface, so knowing how to clean your solar panels is important. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to clean your solar panels to prevent dust and debris build-up from reducing your system’s power output.
The Importance of Cleaning Solar Panels
If dust build-up blocks 50% of the sunlight reaching your solar panels, their energy output can drop by half. This decrease in productivity can negatively affect electric bill savings — if you were previously saving 100 each month, you might notice that savings drop to around 50 a month.
Regular cleaning helps keep your solar panels operating at optimal capacity, which means your system generates its expected electricity output. A dirty solar energy system does not operate at maximum efficiency, which can result in higher power bills and, as a result, a longer payback period. Professional solar panel cleaners use the term “soiling losses” to describe the efficiency loss caused by dust and dirt buildup on your PV system.
Understanding Solar Panel Components
Solar panels consist of photovoltaic cells fully encapsulated by other materials, which prevents exposure to dust, dirt, bird droppings and weather conditions. However, grime can accumulate on external surfaces over time, which you should clean regularly. Here are some tips to clean different solar panel components:
Cleaning the Glass Cover
A transparent glass cover protects the PV cells in a solar panel. Ideally, you should clean the glass surface with non-abrasive cleaning tools like a soft bristle brush or squeegee. Avoid using wire brushes, roof rakes or any other tools that may leave scratches.
You can wash solar panels with a garden hose, but you should never do this when they are hot since the drastic temperature change can crack the glass. Keep in mind that solar modules may still be hot after sunset, especially on summer days.
Make sure you have a clean water supply when cleaning your panels. Washing your panels with hard water will leave behind a mineral layer after the water evaporates, defeating the purpose of the cleaning process.
Cleaning the Aluminum Frame
Solar panels have an aluminum frame that holds all other components together. Solar manufacturers use powder coating and other treatments to improve corrosion resistance, making the aluminum frame suitable for outdoor use. However, the frame is constantly exposed to dust, just like the glass cover.
Since the aluminum frame is corrosion-resistant, you can wash it safely with a standard water hose. Never use a pressure washer: it can damage the seals around the aluminum frame, and you may void the product warranty. Cleaning solutions with detergents or other chemical agents can also damage the seals and should be avoided.
If your panels have not been cleaned in a long time, washing may not be enough to remove grime. In this case, you should brush away dried-up dirt before using a hose. You should avoid chemical agents in general but can use a small amount of soapy water to clean spots with excessive dirt buildup.
Cleaning the Polymer Backsheet and Junction Box
The back of a solar panel is covered with a backsheet, typically made of a durable polymer. The back surface also contains a junction box with electrical terminals used to wire multiple panels into a string circuit.
Since the backsheet and junction box are not always outward facing, these components require less cleaning than a panel’s glass cover and aluminum frame.
- In rooftop solar installations, the backsheet and junction box are hidden by a small gap between the back of your panels and the surface of your roof. This positioning creates minimal exposure to dust and dirt.
- But a ground-mount system or solar carport exposes your panels to dust from all directions. In this case, the back surface may also need frequent cleaning.
You can follow the same cleaning recommendations for the glass cover and aluminum frame to clean the backsheets. Soft brushes and non-pressurized water are suitable, but avoid pressure washers and chemical agents.
Never open the junction boxes or manipulate electrical connections in any way. If your solar installation includes a workmanship warranty, you can contact your provider to inspect any electrical malfunctions. Many companies also offer professional solar panel cleaning services.
When and How Often To Clean Solar Panels
Many solar manufacturers and installers recommend cleaning your solar panels at least two times a year, but cleaning needs can vary depending on site conditions. Your panels may need additional cleaning if your home is close to a construction site or industrial zone. You can expect large amounts of dust in the air, which can accumulate on your PV system in a short time. Be mindful of locations with high concentrations of trees or other foliage as leaves and pollen can also build up on your panels.
If you live in a place with frequent rainfall, your panels will require minimal cleaning during their service life since rain washes away most of the dirt for you.
Preparing for Solar Panel Cleaning
We at the MarketWatch Guides Team only recommend cleaning solar panels on your own if you can safely access your system from the ground or have a flat roof. The task should be left to a professional cleaner if you need to climb your roof or other tall structure to access your panels.
Solar Panel Cleaning Checklist
In general, you need the following tools to clean your solar panels:
- A non-abrasive cleaning tool such as a soft brush or a squeegee
- A water hose
- A telescopic extension pole, in case you need to reach solar panels on a roof
If you are not comfortable cleaning your panels on your own, contact your solar installer for professional panel cleaning services.
Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Solar Panels
You can clean your solar panels more efficiently by following these steps:
Brush Away Dried-Up Dirt and Residue
Washing your solar panels is quick and effective when they are not very dirty. However, spraying water is counterproductive when there is a lot of dust and grime. Water and dirt create mud when mixed, which will dry up on your panels. Use a soft brush to remove dried-up dirt, bird droppings and other debris when your panels are dry.
Wash Your Panels with Clean Water
Once you have cleaned dried-up dirt and debris, you can wash your panels to remove any remaining dust and particles. Make sure your water supply is clean and avoid high-pressure nozzles. You do not need to wipe your panels dry since the water will evaporate on its own.
Remove the Remaining Dirt
If your solar panels are very dirty, brushing and washing may not be enough to clean them completely. You can scrub trouble spots with water and normal soap, but avoid detergents and other strong cleaning agents.
Maintaining Your Solar Panels Between Cleans
Solar panel maintenance not only involves frequent cleaning. You should also monitor energy production on a regular basis to rule out electrical issues. Many solar inverters include a monitoring app for homeowners, which you can use to track daily power generation with your smartphone.
Low productivity is normal on overcast days since your solar panels are exposed to minimal sunshine. However, you should call your solar provider if the monitoring app shows lower-than-average electricity output on a sunny day.
The Bottom Line
The best residential solar panels have a 25-year warranty to cover product and installation issues but still need regular cleaning to stay productive. Dust buildup negatively affects panel efficiency, which can reduce your power bill savings.
Do-it-yourself (DIY) cleaning is suitable if your solar panel system is installed on the ground or on a flat roof that you can easily access. If you have a single-story home with a pitched roof, you can also use an extension pole with a squeegee. Due to the risks involved, professional cleaning services should be used if you can only access your solar panels by climbing the roof.
Suitable cleaning tools methods for solar panels include:
- A soft cloth, sponge or brush
- A squeegee
- Washing with soft, non-pressurized water
On the other hand, you should avoid these methods and tools:
- Hardwire brushes
- Roof rakes
- Abrasive cleaning tools
- Hard water
- Chemical agents
Solar panels have a high upfront cost, and protecting your investment is important. A solar panel system typically costs 2.85 per watt or 17,100 for a 6 kilowatt (kW) system, and the 30% federal solar tax credit reduces your total to 11,970. With those figures, you can expect a payback period of around 8.5 years. When you combine a 25-year warranty and regular cleaning, you can utilize your solar panels for over a decade after paying off your system.
How To Clean Solar Panels, How Often, Maintenance Trick for Max Power
Installing solar panesl on your home to supplement, or fully power it is an awesome way to help the planet, but did you know that learning how to clean solar panels correctly can have an impact on the performance of your panels?
Dirt, dust and grime can interfere with the productivity of the panel and also shorten its lifespan.
And, you can’t simply count on the rain to do it for you.
Fortunately, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
Knowing how to clean solar panels – and how not to clean solar panels – is essential to maintaining their energy efficiency. Fortunately, cleaning most solar panels is closer to household cleaning than industrial labor.
Common household items and common safety measures can keep the solar panel operating optimally.
You can easily learn how to clean solar panels and how often you should do it using this complete guide…which will ensure that you retain maximum power output.
Where Can I Learn How Often To Clean Solar Panels?
Due to external factors such as varying climates, the physical placement of the solar panels, and the location’s fauna and pests, there is no standard answer to how often solar panels should be cleaned.
Environments that are more prone to dust accumulation – such as deserts with low precipitation and high winds – will require solar panel operators to perform more frequent cleaning.
Visible accumulation of debris and significant reductions in energy capture are strong indicators that solar panels are due for cleansing.
Visual inspections and energy monitoring will often indicate when a solar panel needs to be cleaned. When a solar panel looks dirty or starts to produce less energy, you should take care of it.
How To Clean Solar Panels: 7 Steps
Fortunately, the techniques used for cleaning household Windows are exactly how to clean solar panels.
Simply spraying water removes most of a solar panel’s grime, and the combination of a non-abrasive brush and glass-friendly cleaners can take care of more difficult impurities such as biological stains.
The only major complication is applying safety precautions.
Homeowners and cleaning personnel should ensure that solar panels are powered off during cleaning.
It’s also a good idea to ensure that the panel can be accessed safely, so never do the job on a roof by yourself.
How To Clean Solar Panels From the Ground
Cleaning solar panels from the ground is not different from cleaning common glass fixtures such as Windows and glass doors.
However, it’s vital to FOCUS solely on the reflective side of the solar panel and avoid contact with a solar panel’s underside.
How To Clean Solar Water Heater Panels
Unless the manufacturer’s documentation states otherwise, the guidelines on how to clean solar panels are the same for cleaning solar water heater panels.
Consider hiring a professional if the solar water heater panels are installed on high places such as roofs that feature a steep grade.
How To Clean Solar Panels on Garden Lights
The process of cleaning solar panels on garden lights is like cleaning household and industrial-sized solar panels.
Though non-abrasive household cleaners are often sufficient, checking the manufacturer’s documentation is advised.
Typically, it’s safe to use a window cleaner on these easy-to-reach solar panel garden lights.
How To Clean Cloudy Solar Light Panels
The process of cleaning solar light panels uses similar materials and steps as cleaning solar panels.
Solar light panel operators should FOCUS on cleaning the plastic and erring on the side of using non-abrasive cleaning tools and solutions.
If you have cloudy panels, it may be an issue with the manufacturing, or the panels could simply be aging. In either case, check with your manufacturer first. They may have a simple solution.
How To Clean Solar Panels on Roof
Contracting a third-party solar cleaner is ideal for rooftop installations that you cannot safely reach on your own.
If you do not have the equipment and training to reach precariously placed solar panels, contact professionals.
How To Clean Solar Lights
Treat solar lights the same way you would treat solar panels.
Make sure that the photovoltaic panel is clean, without dirt and grime, and check it every month.
Solar Panel for AC Unit: Cleaning Considerations
Solar-powered AC units frequently require multiple solar panels to operate properly.
However, unless the manufacturer’s documentation states otherwise, the guidelines and tools for cleaning a solar panel for AC unit are the same as how to clean solar panels for other uses such as general energy generation and water heating.
Cleaning Solution for Solar Panels
With regards to cleaning, most solar panels can be treated similarly to household Windows. Cleaning solutions commonly found in supermarkets are acceptable if they’re non-abrasive.
Mixtures of soap and water will work as well, but it’s advisable to strongly dilute the soap (to prevent any leftover buildup).
Most of a solar panel’s dust and debris can be removed with water. Rainwater acts as a natural dust remover. Hoses are an acceptable solution if the water is soft, and it is sprayed from a safe distance.
However, there’s more to solar power than installing a panel and enjoying sunny days and lower electricity bills.
Maximizing the benefits and lifespan of solar panels requires consistently monitoring and maintaining the panels.
Carbon Footprint: Solar Panels Lower Than Utility Costs
When properly implemented and installed, solar panels can be a powerful method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
Addressing the climate change crisis and reducing the global carbon footprint will require multiple actions at once.
Switching from dirty energy sources – such as oil and natural gas – to environmentally-friendly energy will be crucial to the world’s survival.
Cities, groups, and individuals switching to renewable energy such as solar power will be one crucial step toward reducing the average American’s carbon footprint.
One acre of solar panels generating clean energy can generate up to 447 megawatts per hour; replacing an equivalently-producing dirty fuel with carbon footprint solar panels can lower the release of carbon dioxide by 138 metric tons a year. 1
Although solar panels have a heavy eco-cost during production and disposal, the current benefits, especially to homeowners, is significant.
Benefits of Cleaning Solar Panels
Maintaining energy efficiency is one of the most vital benefits of cleaning solar panels. Dust, grime, and biological stains block the sun’s rays, so routine cleaning is crucial to maximizing energy efficiency.
Routine cleaning also extends the lifetime operation of solar panels. Removing stains and particles before they can inflict long-term damage is a key component of solar panel maintenance.
Consequences of Leaving Solar Panels Dirty
Failure to routinely clean solar panels can dramatically reduce their energy efficiency. One month of gathering dust and other ray-blocking impurities can lead to a 30% drop in a solar panel’s energy-capturing ability. 2
In addition, excessive buildup of dirt and grime can damage solar panels. Biological waste and large quantities of dust can cause problems such as scratches and hot spots.
Size of Standard Solar Panel: Myths Versus Reality
The size of standard solar panel depends on the size of its solar cells, the number of its solar cells, and its intended use. Most solar panels used for residential and industrial buildings have square cells with side lengths of 156 millimeters (approximately 6.14 inches). 3
Solar panels for residential use commonly have 60 cells. When those cells are arranged in a 6-by-10 grid, the resulting solar panel would be 1.56 meters long (roughly 5.12 feet) and 0.94 meters wide (about 3.07 feet).
Solar panels for commercial use often have 72 cells. When those cells are arranged in a 6-by-12 grid, the resulting solar panel would be 1.872 meters long (roughly 6.14 feet) and 0.94 meters wide (about 3.07 feet).
Solar Panel Cleaning Tips
Prior to any cleaning attempts, review the documentation that corresponds to the solar panels. Solar panels can vary significantly by manufacturer, so complying with the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings is essential when formulating how to clean solar panels.
Clean their solar panels during the coolest parts of the day. Excessive heat can cause water and cleaning solutions to evaporate, which can lead to efficiency-reducing smears and streaks.
So, early morning or late evening is the best time.
Since solar panels are electrical devices, an error can seriously injure a person who is attempting to clean it without the proper access, or damage the solar panel. This is especially the case for solar panels installed in high areas such as residential roofs.
Avoiding Common Mistakes During Solar Panels Washing
Non-professionals should not leave the ground in attempts to clean solar panels. High and hard-to-reach solar panels should be treated by professionals who have the experience, training, and equipment to safely reach and cleanse them.
Cleaning materials that scratch household glass will also scratch solar panels. Applying hard water and coarse cleaning agents will permanently damage solar panels.
Do not attempt to clean any part of the solar panel other than the surface.
Attempting to clean the underside of the solar panel or other concealed parts could lead to injury or damage.
Solar Panel Maintenance
Regular monitoring is the best method for solar panel maintenance.
Routinely monitor solar panels’ energy efficiency as well as any indicators or alerts from inverters and other monitoring tools.
Consistent exposure to shade, in addition to lowering solar panels’ energy collection, can damage solar panels. When shade routinely or completely covers a solar panel, the solar panel can develop hot spots, parts of the solar panel whose temperature is significantly higher. 4
Failure to resolve consistent shade issues could drastically reduce the solar panel’s lifespan or completely break it.
Do Solar Panels Need Cleaning?
Do solar panels need cleaning regularly? Yes. Knowing how to clean solar panels is essential to preserving their energy efficiency.
Accumulation of dust, grime, and other impurities can dramatically lower the amount of energy they capture.
And some types of grime can permanently damage solar panels.
How Much Does It Cost To Clean Solar Panels?
Cleaning residential solar panels at ground level can frequently be completed with household items and over-the-counter cleaning tools. The cost for these do-it-yourself cleanings is comparable to the cost of a bag of groceries.
Professionals typically charge between 15 and 25 per panel. In addition, they may charge between 150 and 300 for panel inspections.
Do I Need To Turn off Solar Panels To Clean Them?
Solar panels must be deactivated prior to any cleaning attempts, even if no liquids are being used.
Solar panels that are actively collecting energy pose electrical hazards for those who would attempt to clean them.
How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
Solar panels’ operational lifetime varies due to a variety of factors, including the type, the manufacturer, and the environment.
However, some types of solar panels, properly maintained, can operate for up to 30 years before they need to be replaced.
Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?
Solar panels can capture indirect sunlight.So, when asking, do solar panels work on cloudy days, the answer is yes, but limited.
Although the energy generated from indirect sunlight is lower, solar panels can still function and generate electricity on cloudy and overcast days.
As an unintended benefit, cloudy days can make solar panel cleaning easier. Overcast days with lower temperatures give you additional flexibility when scheduling cleanings, as the cloudy weather often leads to lower temperatures.
Also, rainfall acts as a natural dust remover, washing away loose particles that accumulate on the solar panel.
When Is the Best Time of Day To Perform a Solar Panel Wash?
A general rule of thumb is to clean solar panels at the coolest parts of the day. Like watering plants, cleaning solar panels in the morning prior to peak heat is optimal, though an early-evening cleaning will suffice.
Cleaning solar panels can sound like a daunting task at first.
The process is very similar to cleaning Windows and glass doors. Applying soft, soapy water and a soft-bristled brush once a month is often as complicated as cleaning solar panels can be.
And the benefits of these easy and cheap actions can be dramatic. Consistent and careful solar panel cleaning can maximize the solar panel’s lifespan and energy capture.
And a few minutes of washing solar panels can prevent costly and time-consuming technical issues that would otherwise require costly repairs or replacements.
However, it’s imperative to ensure that solar energy is applied in an environmentally friendly way and treated as part of a multi-faceted solution instead of a cure-all. Failure to properly clean and maintain solar panels can negate their benefits or even be detrimental in terms of energy consumption and environmental impact.
Proper installation and usage of solar panels can be an effective way to reduce carbon emissions, but solar panels’ benefits – both to the person who is cleaning them and to the environment – can be enhanced when you know how to clean solar panels correctly.
Carbon Footprint: Solar Panel Manufacturing In 1 Simple Explanation
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How To Test Solar Panels’ Power Output (Both With and Without a Multimeter)
Solar Farm Income Per Acre Calculator: See Profit Margin, Costs, Money Made
1 Eisenson, M. (2022, October 26). Solar Panels Reduce CO2 Emissions Per Acre Than Trees — and Much Than Corn Ethanol. Columbia Climate School. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from
2 Chandler, D. L. (2022, March 11). How to clean solar panels without water. MIT News. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from
3 Wikipedia. (2023, March 9). Solar cell. Wikipedia. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from
4 Tinker, L. (2016, September 16). Getting the Most out of Solar Panels. Energy Gov. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from
HOW TO CLEAN SOLAR PANELS
Installation of photovoltaic and solar panels for power generation is becoming increasingly popular in many countries. However, in order to ensure their smooth operation, it is necessary to conduct key maintenance activities periodically. One of the most critical aspects concerns their cleaning, and using a pure water system is an effective and environmentally friendly way to keep them clean.
Best ways for cleaning photovoltaic panels
Since photovoltaic/solar panels are continuously being exposed to various environmental factors, dust, dirt, pollen, bird droppings and other debris are inevitably accumulated on their surface, reducing their operating efficiency. As a matter of fact, dirty PV panels can reduce energy production; therefore, it is essential to keep them clean to ensure optimal performance.
One of the most effective and environmentally friendly methods for cleaning photovoltaic panels is the use of pure water.
This system actually uses osmotized and demineralized water, thus free of impurities, minerals and other contaminants. Thanks to its high cleaning power, no streaks or residues are left behind.
Benefits of the pure water technology system for cleaning solar panels
- Environmentally friendly: Pure water is chemical-free, leaving no residue or pollutants, reducing environmental impact.
- Safe: The equipment is operated directly from the ground via extension and telescopic poles, avoiding the use of ladders, scaffolding or suspended scaffolding.
- Time-saving: The pure water system is a quick and efficient way to clean solar panels. The high-pressure water jet used in the system ensures that the panels are cleaned effectively and quickly.
- Effective: Purified water acts as an extraordinary solvent that can remove all residues ensuring a clean surface free of marks and streaks.
Cleaning solar panels with IPC HighPure
The efficacy of IPC HighPure pure water systems is based on two key features:
- Enabling people to reach surfaces at high heights without using ladders, scaffolding or platforms.
- The perfect cleaning of surfaces with no detergents.
The cleaning of solar panels using HighPure is environmentally friendly, thanks to reduced water consumption and the absence of any chemicals generating residues of pollution. Free of detergents, in fact, HighPure’s wastewater can be used for irrigation or dispersed through the sewer system.
In conclusion, using a pure water system can be an effective, environmentally friendly, and economical way to clean photovoltaic/solar panels. It not only reduces the environmental impact of cleaning, but also improves their operating efficiency and extends their lifetime.
For more information, please contact us. We will be happy to help you!
Solar cell cleaning
How often do you clean your solar panels? Most people don’t clean theirs as often as they should, and a dirty solar panel can have a big impact on the amount of energy generated to power your home or equipment. If you live in a drier climate that doesn’t receive much rain, solar panel cleaning is even more crucial as there will be much more dust buildup on the panels with nothing to naturally clean them. While rainwater can help to clear off dust, it isn’t the best way to clean solar panels. When rainwater evaporates, it can leave rings of dust and debris, which will affect how efficiently the panels produce solar power. Read on to learn everything you need to know about solar panel cleaning, including how to clean solar panels, the necessary equipment to do so, as well as where to find solar panel cleaning services if the job is too big for you to do on your own.
Why You Should Clean Your Solar Panels
Do solar panels need cleaning? The short answer is, YES! Learning how to clean solar panels as well as how to maintain solar panels will go a long way toward extending not only their life but how efficient they are in the long run. Solar panels degrade at a rate of 0.5% every year, and regular solar panel cleanings will do a lot to slow this rate down and extend the life of the solar panel. Cleaning solar panels regularly will also keep them producing power at a maximum rate. A study found that a combination of dust and particulate air pollution reduces solar energy production by 17-25%.
The most common reasons solar panels become dirty and less efficient are dust, leaves, water, and bird droppings. Birds are enemy number one when it comes to maintaining solar panels and keeping them clean. Birds and their droppings can cause much more damage to solar panels than a layer of dust can. Their droppings can chemically damage solar panels, and some birds like to nest underneath the panels, too, which can restrict air flow and cause them to overheat and get damaged. If you notice birds nesting underneath your solar panels, you can look into adding a bird barrier to the underside to deter them from doing so.
How to Clean Solar Panels
Can you clean solar panels yourself? You absolutely can clean solar panels yourself, but there are some things to know before you start the process. Before you start your solar panel cleaning project, you’ll need to invest in the right equipment to do so; there are solar panel cleaning kits to make this step easier. For those wondering how to clean solar panels on the roof or elsewhere on your property, follow the steps below to get your solar panels looking (and working!) their best.
Solar Panel Cleaning Equipment You’ll Need
- A simple garden hose can be used to spray down the panels, but don’t use a pressure washer, which could damage the panels.
- Don’t be too hard on a solar panel. A cleaning brush with soft bristles or a squeegee can be used to scrub grime and bird droppings from the panels.
- Create a gentle solar panel cleaning solution by using things like vinegar, mild detergent, and water. Avoid using harsh chemicals when cleaning solar panels.
- Make the whole process of gathering the proper solar panel cleaning tools and mixing your own cleaning solution even easier by purchasing a solar panel cleaning kit.
Steps to Solar Panel Cleaning
Step 1: Choose a cool time of day to clean your solar panels. Cleaning them during the hottest part of the day can make the water evaporate quickly and leave marks behind, and the combination of cold water hitting the hot glass of the solar panels can cause them to crack.
Step 2: Shut your system down completely before you begin to clean the solar panels. If you have rainwater collectors or gutters, shut them off or disconnect them from the system to avoid dirty runoff water going into them.
Step 3: Remove any loose debris or leaves from the solar panels using a soft brush or cloth. It’s safest to clean solar panels from the ground, so use a brush with an extension to make it easier to reach.
Step 4: Spray the panels down with a garden hose to wash the dust away and loosen any debris. Use a hose with a nozzle so you can easily direct the spray at the panels.
Step 5: Use a soft brush and a solar panel cleaning solution to scrub any stubborn grime or debris off of the solar panels.
Step 6: Spray the panels again with water to rinse away the loosened debris, and use a squeegee to wipe the leftover water off of the panels. Only spray water onto the top of the solar panels; do not spray water on the back of them.
Step 7: Clean your solar panels every six months or less to keep them clean and operating at their best.
Solar Panel Cleaning Services
If the task of cleaning solar panels seems like too big of a job, there are also solar panel cleaning services that you can hire to do the job for you. By hiring a professional, you’ll know that your solar panel cleaning will be done correctly. To find the right person for the job, ask for a recommendation from others who have solar panels on their property, or do a Google search for “solar panel cleaning service near me” and review the options that come up. Check reviews of different companies to find the most highly rated ones to do the job.