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Can My Window Cleaner Clean My Solar Panels? – Top 5 ‘No’s’. Windex outdoor solar panels

Can My Window Cleaner Clean My Solar Panels? – Top 5 ‘No’s’. Windex outdoor solar panels

    Can My Window Cleaner Clean My Solar Panels? – Top 5 ‘No’s’

    “Can my window cleaner clean my solar panels?” is a good question. Probably a more relevant question is “Should my window cleaner clean my solar panels?” In the vast majority of cases, the answer will be ‘No’. Why not?

    Many window cleaners advertise solar panel cleaning as a service. Despite them having equipment to reach to clean your solar panels, it may not be a good idea. Firstly, having your window cleaner clean your solar panels can be dangerous. Secondly, they may damage your solar array. Here we give you the top 5 reasons why.

    Does Your Window Cleaner Understand The Risks Of Solar Panel Cleaning?

    Due to their nature, solar panels carry an inherent risk of electrocution. Window cleaners generally do not have any kind of electrical training. They may be blissfully unaware of the risks that they are exposing themselves and your solar array to. Electrocution is the main risk. Faulty wiring, earthing problems and broken solar panels can all cause the framework of the solar panels to become ‘live’. When your window cleaner cleans your solar panels, they will likely do this with a carbon pole. Carbon conducts electricity. You have a fault on your solar panels, it is very possible that your window cleaner will suffer an electric shock. You may be liable for a claim from them if your system is found to be poorly maintained and/or faulty.

    Are all Window Cleaners Insured For This?

    Your solar panels are a costly investment, around the same cost as a decent family car. If damage occurs, it can be costly to repair. There are several things that can go wrong during cleaning. Firstly, your window cleaner may not understand the electrocution risk and be electrocuted. This may also damage your system. Secondly, they may break or dislodge a panel that is already loose. It is possible for other damage to be done too whilst cleaning your solar panels. If your window cleaner is not insured, will you not be able to make a claim for the damage. Many window cleaning policies do not include solar panel cleaning as a standard part of their policy.

    Ask your window cleaner for a copy of their insurance prior to letting them clean your solar panels. Check that they are covered for solar panel cleaning. If they are not and damage occurs, you will be left with the repair bill.

    Can Your Window Cleaner Provide Evidence of Training For Solar Panel Cleaning?

    Like all work on electrical equipment, solar panel cleaning requires a decent amount of knowledge. Virtually all electrical equipment carries a warning that maintenance should only be carried out by qualified people. Solar panel cleaning is no different. All solar panel cleaners, including your window cleaner, should be able to provide a copy of electrical awareness training as proof of their competency.

    Is Your Window Cleaner Going To Wear The Correct PPE When Cleaning Your Solar Panels?

    PPE has become synonymous with face masks. However, other PPE is required of your window cleaner is going to protect themselves from electric shock. You should ask what PPE they will wear during the cleaning of your solar panels. If they say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘None’, you should not let them proceed. They do not have enough knowledge to be cleaning your solar panels in a safe manner. Therefore, you should not allow them to do it, for their sakes and your own.

    Can Your Window Cleaner Provide A Risk Assessment Method Statement (RAMS) For The Job?

    This is more important on commercial solar panel cleaning, but applies to residential cleaning too. However exerienced your window cleaner claims to be, they should be able to give you a RAMS. In fact, the more experienced they are, the more willing they should be to give you one. It is a sign of professionalism. A RAMS will tell you a few things. Firstly, it will highlight the risks involved with your solar panels cleaning. Secondly, it will highlight how they will reduce those risks as they work. This is the ‘RA’ risk assessment part of the document. Thirdly, the ‘MS’ Method Statement part should explain their working method. When reading, you should be able to visualise how your window cleaner will clean your solar panels safely.

    Below is a typical example of how window cleaners clean solar panels in an unsafe way. This method is disregarding health and safety advice to maintain 3 points of contact on a ladder. This method contravenes the Working at Height Regulations 2005.

    It is highly likely that your window cleaner is not up to the task of cleaning your solar panels. They should be cleaned by professionals who can provide the following:

    • A copy of a public liability insurance document with ‘Solar Panel Cleaning’ specifically in the wording.
    • Evidence of training by way of a solar panel cleaning training course certificate or electrical awareness safety certificate
    • A RAMS, explaining the risks of solar panel cleaning and how they will reduce those risks. It also gives an explanation of how they will clean your solar panels
    • An explanation of the PPE they will wear to protect themselves from electrocution and your system from damage

    If your window cleaner cannot provide the above, DO NOT let them clean your solar panels. It doesn’t matter how much experience they have of window cleaning. Window cleaning is not the same as solar panel cleaning. With solar panel cleaning there is more risk and more cost, should someting go wrong.

    Clean Solar Solutions provide award winning solar panel cleaning, having been awarded ‘U.K. Solar OM Provider of the Year’. Our staff are fully insured and trained to clean solar panels, including removing lichen from solar panels.

    Please contact us for more information about our cleaning and maintenance options.

    Then the panels are scrubbed, removing the lichen and then finally, washed down and rinsed. All work carried out by Clean Solar Solutions is in conjunction with the SEUK Best Practice Guidelines 2021.

    Solar Panel Cleaning Fordingbridge

    If you are a solar array owner in Fordingbridge or the surrounding area, please contact us. We carry out agricultural, commercial and residential solar panel cleaning and maintenance in the Fordingbridge areas and will be pleased to assist you.

    Can You Clean Solar Panels With Windex? (Precautions Frequency)

    Once the solar panels are installed, everyone should feel that is the end of the story. But, the reality is the story has just begun. Initially, you would not require much cleaning for the solar panels. If the rainy season is about to begin, you are lucky—the rainwater flushes out all the dirt. But, going forward, you would need to clean them now and then because of the debris and dirt accumulation and bird droppings.

    Can you clean solar panels with Windex? Yes. You can use Windex for cleaning the solar panels. Windex is a cleaning product specifically made for glasses. It is preferred over other cleaning products because they are ideal for maintaining the glass-covered solar clean and working at optimum efficiency.

    In this article, let us discuss more the quality of Windex, why it is best to use them to clean solar panels, and how to use them for cleaning.

    Why Is Windex considered the best for cleaning the solar panels?

    Windex is an all-purpose cleaning agent which removes the burned-on grime. The standard cleaning practice includes soapy water and a hose to wash away dirt does not eliminate the blockages. Windex combines several cleaning agents to solve even the most challenging dirt problems. Let us look at the quality of the cleaning agents and how it helps Windex clean effectively.

    Ammonium Hydroxide

    Ammonia, also known as Ammonium hydroxide, is one of the most commonly used cleaning agents in all households, and it is the primary component of Windex. It is best known for its quality of being an independent cleaning agent, and it does require any additives to clean even the rough surfaces.

    Though the smell is powerful, you won’t feel it much outdoors. It has a pKa value of 13.7, which helps the Windex react quickly with the acidic composition of birds droppings, grease, pollen, and other biological contaminants. This component is found in all kinds of Windex because it is inexpensive.

    Isopropanolamine

    Isopropanolamine is an essential component of the Windex. Ammonium hydroxide helps clean away even the most rigid surface, but it does not remove the crucial elements like soap scum.

    Have you washed your solar panels with soap before? Then, the ammonia won’t work well in removing the scum. To solve this problem, the Isopropanolamine counter reacts with contaminants, including the soap scum, directly and also strives to maintain the basic pH.

    Ammonia and Isopropanolamine are an excellent team to put down any kind of material buildup on your solar panels.

    2-Hexoxyethanol

    2-Hexoxyethanol is the final component of the trio composition of the Windex. The chemical component of 2-Hexoxyethanol is similar to ethanol, which is also the common household disinfectant. Its primary role in Windex is to prevent the water from combining with debris and dirt.

    Precautionary steps to take while cleaning the solar panels with Windex

    Though there is a weather-resistant shield and the electrical components are well protected by the outer layer, you need to follow the necessary precautionary measures.

    Avoid Rough Scrubbers

    Rubbing the surface of the solar panels with scrubbers is the worst thing that you can ever do. The solar panel’s glass is thin and delicate to allow the light to pass through them, and it cannot withstand scratches. The performance of the solar panels with scratches deteriorates in the same way if there is dirt and debris accumulated in them.

    window, cleaner, clean, solar

    You need to avoid using the steel wool, sponges, and even scrubbers tagged as “No Scratch” to prevent the solar panels from all sorts of damage. Instead, you can use a soft sponge, mop, or a clean rag.

    Verify the materials in the solar array

    The Windex cannot be used on certain surfaces, including plastic. Though most solar panels come with a clear glass covering, there are specific panels in which there is a plastic coating over the glass.

    In such cases, you need to check if the panels have a plastic coating before using the Windex. If not, you might discolor the panel’s surface and affect the durability and efficiency of the solar panels.

    Personal Safety Precautions

    Before you begin the cleaning process, make sure you wear gloves and masks. The Windex, in general, is not harmful if used in appropriate proportion. But, there is always a risk that you might spill it. In that case, it may damage your eyesight and skin. Wash your eyes thoroughly if you spill any of the cleaning agents.

    How often should I Clean My Solar Panel?

    Industry experts suggest that the generally accepted principle is that solar panels need to be cleaned once every six months. Early autumn and late spring are the best time to clean your panels. But, if you live in an area where the climate is very smoggy and harms the panels, you might need to clean them more often.

    What are the alternatives to Windex?

    There are several alternatives to Windex, which have total pros and cons to offer. We need to review them in detail before choosing one for cleaning our solar panels.

    You need to consider the size and location of your array before choosing one of the alternatives.

    Hose Rinsing

    Hose rinsing is the simplest way to clean your solar panels. While rains do the cleaning job in sure others, in the areas where is the climate is dry and hot, you need to clean them to get rid of the accumulated dirt and debris.

    The splash of water from the hose is enough to do the job for you.

    Soapy Water

    A simple mix of soap and water with a mop and bucket would make the job more straightforward for you. Though it is not as effective as a Windex, it still serves the best purpose.

    The major limitation of using soapy water is, the soap may form a layer on the solar panels over time and may require additional cleaning from your side. Well, that is not a big concern to avoid this alternative.

    Using Vinegar

    Combing ¼ cup of vinegar with ½ teaspoon of non-abrasive soap along with two cups of water is one of the best alternatives to the Windex. Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent and works best for cleaning glass.

    The water gives an excellent foam to your mix. You can pour the mixture into a spray bottle and use them on the surface of the solar panels.

    What cleaning materials should not be used to clean the solar panels?

    There are commonly mistaken cleaning materials which you must never use on the surface of the panels, and let us look at what those are.

    Hard Water

    Hard water has high levels of magnesium and calcium. Tap waters are the best example of hard water. Though they are entirely safe for humans, they might leave mineral deposits on the surface of the solar panels. This, in turn, might reduce the panels’ productivity in the long run.

    How do you know whether your tap water is hard or not? You can get it confirmed by testing your tap water in the local lab for a small fee. You can also install a softener or reverse osmosis system to convert hard water to soft.

    Power Washer

    Powerwashing may look so appealing that they make the work easier. While it can clean up the dirt and debris quickly, there is always the risk that the force could damage the panels.

    Scrubbing with an Abrasive Tool

    Scrubbing the solar panels with abrasive tools is an unhealthy practice, and they may create scratches and reduce the productivity of the panels. If you need to brush up your solar panels, you can use a soft cloth or a brush.

    When to Call a Professional to Clean Your Solar Panel?

    Though Windex gives you an option for self-cleaning at ease, you might require the services of professionals at certain times.

    Large commercial Panels

    If you have set up large commercial panels or a solar farm, it is impracticable to clean them by yourself. Getting the help of professionals saves you time and makes sure that the panels are safe.

    Physical Limitations

    We all have age and physical limitations. As we grow up, we might not do the same things that we were doing previously. In that list, cleaning solar panels would require climbing up the ladder and holding heavy materials. If you are old enough, you cannot do them independently. It is better to get the help of professionals.

    Time and Money

    Sometimes, to get things done at your convenience, you may just call the professionals for a fee and complete the job. An experienced cleaner would undoubtedly charge you high, but the work gets over so quickly. Time and money go hand in hand.

    Take Away

    Windex is undoubtedly one of the best cleaning agents to use for solar panels. Especially for self-cleaning, it is handy and makes the work easy. Please do remember the precautions that you must take before using them.

    If Windex does not suit you, you may choose any alternatives to do the job for you. We would always recommend you consult a professional to do the cleaning job for you as it deals with various chemicals.

    s:

    Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

    © 2023 Solar For Energy. All Rights Reserved.

    How To Clean RV Solar Panels

    Solar panels are a fantastic invention and have helped many people supplement their power usage. Smaller models for RVs have been introduced in recent years and these are especially useful for people who live in their vehicles year-round. However, if the panels get too dirty, they can lose some of their efficiency. This is why it’s a good idea to know how to clean RV solar panels.

    Solar panels are designed to be pretty hardy, so they can withstand most outdoor conditions. But sometimes RVers have to park in areas where the panels will be exposed to heavy quantities of dust, pollen, tree sap, bird droppings, etc. Some of these substances are easy to remove with a quick brush, but others require more work.

    Below, we’ll cover a step-by-step process for cleaning off your RV solar panels. They’ll be as good as new after this treatment!

    Step-By-Step Cleaning Process

    Choose a Cool Time to Clean

    First things first, you need to pick the proper time to clean your solar panels. These are designed to absorb light and heat, so they can get pretty hot during the peak of the day. If you’re ready to clean your panels, try to do it early in the morning or during a cloudy day.

    Hover your hand over the surface of the panel to determine if it’s safe to touch. If you apply cold water to a sizzling panel, this could create hot steam that will harm you or the RV. The panel can be warm, but it shouldn’t be too hot.

    Access the Panels

    Next up, you need a way to access the solar panels. Most RV solar panels are attached to the roof, but others may be portable models that can be arranged on the ground. In some cases, you may be able to take them off the roof, but you’ll usually have to find a way to climb up and clean them.

    If you have a ladder on the RV or an easy way to access the roof, feel free to do this. It can be a bit risky though, especially once you get everything wet. Make sure you have shoes with good traction and someone to look out for you.

    A safer option is to use a stepladder to access the panels. Just move this around as much as necessary so you can reach all the parts of the panels.

    Perform a Surface Sweep First

    Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to clean RV solar panels, let’s start with the easy stuff first. Most panels are smooth and can be cleaned by rainfall. Any dirt or pollen that is covering the surface should be fairly loose and easy to remove (unless you’re dealing with a serious buildup).

    Take a cloth or towel and gently sweep off the surface of the panels. There’s no need to dampen it yet because that part will come later. This will remove the majority of the debris and it will give you a cleaner surface to work with as you tackle the bigger issues.

    Only Wash the Top, Not the Wiring

    Remember, as you clean RV solar panels, you should only try to clean the exterior portion. The outer surface of these panels is designed to withstand the wear and tear of the outdoors, but the internal wiring is more delicate.

    As you clean, don’t try to pry up any panels or get underneath the surface. This could cause major problems and might damage the panels permanently. Just stick to a surface-level cleaning and you should be fine.

    Focus on Problem Areas First

    Now we can get into the part that requires some elbow grease. Once the loose dirt has been removed, you may notice that there is dried bird poop or sap on the solar panels. These substances are difficult to remove because they harden and stick to the surface.

    You can tackle them with warm water and a soft cloth. If you directly scrub on these problem areas, you should be able to loosen the majority of the substance. Sometimes it sticks firm though. In these cases, you can use a bit of dish soap, rubbing alcohol, or diluted window cleaner (only one at a time though!). Scrub until these stains are completely gone.

    Spray Panels With a Garden Hose

    Now it’s time to move on to the general cleaning. A standard garden hose is the best tool to use. Just spray the panels with low or medium-powered streams. Never use a pressure washer to clean solar panels. These are much too powerful and can get into the interior wiring.

    Apply a Minimal Amount of Soap

    Now you can apply your cleaner of choice. Some soaps will leave a film behind, so only use a tiny amount. Standard dish soap will work fine for most solar panels, but you can also use a specialized cleaner like Winsol Solar Brite Solar Panel Cleaning Soap.

    If you use a powerful cleaner, make sure you dilute it according to the instructions. Mix up your soap and water ahead of time and spray it on the panels with a spray bottle.

    Use a Soft Cloth or Sponge: Nothing Abrasive

    Next up, wipe down the panels with a soft cloth or a dishwashing sponge. Never use anything abrasive to treat your solar panels. This includes steel wool, stiff-bristled brushes, or stiff sponges. If the panels become scratched, they will be weak to further damage.

    Go over the entire surface with your soft cloth and wipe the water and soap over the panels.

    Finish Up With a Rinse of De-Ionized Water

    Now it’s time to wash the soap away and finish up! Give the RV another quick spray with the garden hose; then finish up with a rinse of de-ionized water. This will prevent any spotting or hard water stains from forming after the cleaning.

    After this is done, you can wipe the panels off with a clean towel, or just let them air-dry in the open. Either approach works just fine!

    Get Professional Help if Necessary

    If your solar panels are acting strange or you have stains that just won’t budge, you may need to call in some professional help. Consult your owner’s manual for special instructions and contact information.

    Solar Panel Maintenance

    Most people only need to clean their solar panels a couple of times a year. These items were designed to be low-maintenance so you don’t need to worry about them too much.

    Estimating Your RV or Van Solar Needs

    However, there are a few things you can do to provide a bit of extra protection. For example, you can do things like:

    • Use an RV cover.
    • Avoid parking under trees.
    • Rinse the panels when you wash the rest of the RV.

    These are simple habits, but they will protect your solar panels and the rest of your RV! Knowing how to clean RV solar panels is handy, but you can save yourself a lot of work by taking preventative measures.

    Related Articles:

    This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy here.

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    Emily Lawrence lives in Idaho with her husband Nathan. Despite the cold winters in this area, it’s Emily’s favorite season! She loves to spend time skiing, roadtripping, and just exploring the outdoors.

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    How To Clean Solar Panels, And Why You Should Do It

    Solar panels are a fantastic investment for anyone who wants to reduce their carbon footprint and save money on their electricity bills.

    However, to keep your solar panels operating at peak efficiency, it is essential to keep them clean and free from dirt, debris, and other contaminants.

    In this article, I will discuss the importance of cleaning solar panels, the best methods for cleaning them, and how often you should clean them to ensure maximum performance.

    What Is The Most Effective Way To Clean Solar Panels

    Generally, the most effective way to clean solar panels is with water, a little bit of dish soap, and a large sponge similar to the one you’d use to clean a car.

    An important thing to remember is that you don’t want to do anything to damage the surface of your panels. Before wiping down your panels you might want to use a garden hose to spray down your panels to remove dust and debris. If your try to wipe them clean without water you run the risk of leaving micro scratches, which can begin to reduce the efficiency of your panels.

    You’ll also want to make sure you don’t use anything more powerful than a standard garden hose to spray down your solar panels. A power washer will be way too harsh and can cause scratches, cracks, and knock wire connections loose. The powerful spray could also cause large pieces of debris, such as twigs and tree nuts to become wedged in the framing of your panels.

    Lightly soapy water is really the best cleaning solution you can use. Anything more abrasive than that can potentially eat away at the surface of your panels and create scratches and pockmarks. Some cleaners can also leave a film behind if not thoroughly cleaned off which can begin to reduce solar efficiency.

    • Handle that you can attach your sponge
    • A large, non-abrasive sponge
    • Harness
    • Long garden hose

    Will Cleaning Solar Panels Make A Difference

    A very important thing to remember is that solar power is about the long game. While the money saved trickles in month after month, year after year remember that solar panel efficiency follows a similar pattern. A small amount of dust, hardly any loss of efficiency…but over the years, that dust cakes on and that little bit of lost efficiency compounds.

    The bottom line is that cleaning your solar panels will make a difference. As much as 3.5% to 5% efficiency could be lost each quarter of the year if they aren’t cleaned. Granted, wind and rain will help keep some of the dust from settling, but things such as bird droppings and tree sap take a little more elbow grease to get rid of.

    The most important thing to remember when cleaning solar panels is that it will make a difference. How much of one though, depends on how dirty your panels are and the type of cleaner you use!

    How Often Should You Clean Solar Panels

    Your solar panels could use a proper cleaning twice a year. Of course, this should be increased if you live in an area that has more dust particulates floating around in the air. The time of year you do your cleaning depends on your area and the type of climate and severity of the various seasons.

    Now, twice a year is what’s recommended for thorough cleaning but you may need to clean general debris from your solar panels more often than that. Here are some pitfalls to look out for depending on how severe the weather is in your area during various seasons.

    Fall

    In the fall, leaves and twigs may fall onto your solar panels and get lodged in such ways that wind won’t blow them away. This means you’ll need to get up there…or hire someone….and clear all of that away.

    Fall is also when hibernating animals may be looking to hunker down for winter. The area in and around your solar panels could be prime real estate for squirrels, birds, and other nesting critters. It may be a good idea to get up there and be on the lookout for any signs animals might be calling your solar panels home for the upcoming winter.

    Learning how to clean solar panels can improve the efficiency of solar energy systems and reduce home energy costs. Here are some easy steps for cleaning solar panels.

    By Jacqueline Medina | Updated Apr 7, 2022 12:55 PM

    We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

    Solar panels have become increasingly popular for meeting home energy needs. By absorbing sunlight, they create a current that’s converted to usable electricity. The amount generated depends on the absorption of sunlight, so if solar panels are dirty, they’re not as efficient—or cost-effective—as they can be.

    In general, solar panels require little cleaning and maintenance in areas that receive regular precipitation. Rain can wash away much of the dirt and debris that might block a home’s solar panels from absorbing the maximum amount of sunlight. However, grime can still build up over time. Especially in dry climates or near construction or industrial sites, relying on rain to keep panels clean may not be enough.

    Maybe it’s time to call in a solar energy pro. Get free, no-commitment estimates from experts near you.

    With a few easy-to-find tools, homeowners can learn how to clean solar panels safely to boost their efficiency, as well as determine when it might be best to hire professional help for solar panel cleaning.

    Time required: 20 minutes to 1 hour Difficulty: Beginner Estimated cost: 40–75 (when supplies are first needed)

    • Soft bristle brush
    • Telescopic extension pole with threaded tip or hook
    • Extension ladder (optional)
    • Hard hat (if using extension ladder)
    • Harness (if working on a roof)
    • Work gloves
    • See full list «
    • Garden hose
    • Telescopic hose wand (optional)
    • Sponge, squeegee, or soft cloth
    • Bucket
    • Vinegar (optional)
    • Gentle dish soap (optional)

    We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

    Before You Begin…

    Not all solar panels have the same maintenance suggestions, so it’s important to check manufacturer instructions before doing any DIY cleaning work. Homeowners should also judge their ability to work safely. Suppose the solar panels are too high to reach comfortably with tools or are set in a steep or slippery location. In that case, homeowners should hire professional assistance to avoid potentially serious injuries.

    If DIY solar panel cleaning is feasible, the first step is shutting them off. Solar panels are electrical equipment and should not be cleaned while active. Manufacturer specifications will explain how to make sure electrical currents—both produced by the panel and going into the home—are turned off.

    Standard hardware supplies can be used for a solar panel cleaning project, but safety considerations are critical. A hard hat, ladder support, and harness are recommended for any homeowner who plans to work on a roof instead of from the ground.

    Maybe it’s time to call in a solar energy pro. Get free, no-commitment estimates from experts near you.

    Tips for Cleaning Solar Panels

    • Cooler days are better to complete a solar panel cleaning project because they minimize the risk of cracking glass as the water dries.
    • Abrasive, heavy-duty detergent is not recommended for cleaning solar panels. A small amount of gentle, non-abrasive soap mixed with one part vinegar and eight parts water is an excellent homemade solution for cleaning the glass on solar panels.

    Safety Considerations

    • Solar panels must be turned off before cleaning, and the underside should never be touched.
    • It’s safest to clean solar panels from the ground with extension tools while wearing gloves. However, homes with second or third stories may require climbing up to the roof.
    • Homeowners who are unsure of their ability to clean their solar panels safely should consider calling a local solar power professional to complete the job for them.

    Maybe it’s time to call in a solar energy pro. Get free, no-commitment estimates from experts near you.

    STEP 1: Dislodge any dust, dirt, or leaves with a soft brush.

    Leaves, bird poop, and dust accumulate on solar panels. Even though rain clears away some of this, it doesn’t get everything and can create dirty residue when puddles evaporate. Debris should be removed with gentle brushing from a soft-bristled tool to start the cleaning process.

    This can be done from the ground if the soft brush is attached to a telescopic extension pole with a threaded tip or hook. Some poles can extend to 24 feet. Without a long enough extension pole, reaching solar panels to brush will require an extension ladder. If you need to climb onto the roof, take safety precautions like wearing a hard hat and harness.

    window, cleaner, clean, solar

    Starting with a gentle brushing is the best way to clean solar panels because if a lot of material is sitting on solar panels, immediately mixing the debris with water might cause spread and smear. Brushing breaks down and removes some material, making the next steps in the cleaning process more effective. Wear work gloves to keep your hands clean and safe.

    STEP 2: Use a garden hose to spray the panels clean.

    Water is a major player in solar panel cleaning. After dry debris is removed by brushing, a garden hose can remove most remaining dirt on solar panels.

    It may be tempting to hit solar panels with as much water as possible to get the job done quickly, but high-pressure cleaning is likely to create fine cracks on their surfaces. This will ruin the efficiency of the solar system and invite future problems. It may also void existing warranties due to noncompliance with manufacturer specifications for solar panel maintenance. If a hose has a high-pressure attachment, it should be removed before solar panel cleaning.

    Maybe it’s time to call in a solar energy pro. Get free, no-commitment estimates from experts near you.

    The key to this step is careful, deliberate spraying along each solar panel. If a garden hose doesn’t allow for enough spraying control, a telescopic hose wand may help. These have more supportive grip than a hose on its own.

    STEP 3: Scrub any problem areas with a soft brush and water.

    After spraying away most of the mess, problem areas can be given extra attention with a sponge, squeegee, or soft cloth dunked into a bucket of clean water. Gentle, focused cleaning in a repetitive motion—with some patience—is best since aggressive scrubbing can scratch the panels.

    Even cleaning products deemed “safe” for use on solar panels can be abrasive. Water is the best solar panel cleaner, especially if it’s deionized or distilled. This water attracts other chemicals, so it’s more efficient for cleaning. If deionized or distilled water isn’t available, treating hose water with a water softener can help improve its cleansing power.

    If there are stubborn spots that water can’t handle, a squirt of mild, gentle dish soap mixed with one part vinegar to eight parts water can boost cleaning power. However, any soap should be used sparingly and with caution. When soap is rinsed, it can leave a residue that dirt clings onto in the future, leading to streaky solar panels. Not only is this less aesthetically pleasing, but it can also compromise some of the panels’ functionality.

    STEP 4: Monitor your home’s solar output to measure the cleaning’s impact.

    Because solar panels create usable energy by capturing sunlight, giving them more sunlight will increase their solar output, or how much power they produce. This is why solar panels are most often set up in sunnier locations. Based on the specifics of the solar system, its location, and environmental factors, solar panels are rated for a solar output within a specific range of watts.

    Normal operating conditions cause fluctuation within the predicted range. When solar panels are dirty, however, they produce energy at the low end of the range. With a lower solar output, homeowners rely on power from an additional energy provider, driving up energy bills and time in the solar payback period.

    To determine how much impact cleaning solar panels has, homeowners should review their energy bills before and after the cleaning. Clean solar panels will have lower energy costs because they allow maximum exposure and higher solar output.

    Maybe it’s time to call in a solar energy pro. Get free, no-commitment estimates from experts near you.

    STEP 5: Contact a solar panel professional for complex cleaning and maintenance needs.

    If cleaning solar panels seems more dangerous than beneficial, contacting a professional is a practical solution to improving solar output. Even though solar panels don’t need constant cleaning, removal of build-up is part of their maintenance. Finding a solar panel cleaning professional is best for conditions that are too complex to tackle with a garden hose and sponge.

    Solar panels cannot be used while they are being cleaned. If professional services are hired, they can work to turn off the electricity and do the cleaning, putting homeowners at ease and giving them confidence that their system will not be impaired through electrical error.

    To get the most out of a professional solar panel cleaning service, homeowners can begin a mock version of the cleaning process. They can clear leaves or large debris to get a good idea of specific cleaning problems that need to be addressed.

    Since solar panels are often set on roofs or high areas, cleaning solar panels requires careful attention to safety. Only solar panels that are easy and safe to access should be cleaned without professional services.

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