How To Keep Your RV Solar Panels Clean And Efficient
Keeping your RV solar panels clean and efficient is important to ensure that you get the most out of your solar power system. Here are some tips on how to maintain your RV solar panels:
Regular Cleaning: Solar panels should be cleaned regularly to remove dirt, debris, and other contaminants that can reduce their efficiency. Use a soft brush, sponge, or cloth to gently remove any buildup from the surface of the panels. Do not use abrasive materials or chemicals that can damage the panel surface.
Use Water: Use clean water to rinse the solar panels after you have removed any debris or buildup. A hose or bucket of water will suffice. Never use high-pressure water or a pressure washer as it may damage the panels.
Positioning: Proper positioning of your RV can help keep your solar panels clean and efficient. Park your RV in an open, sunny area where the solar panels are exposed to direct sunlight. Avoid parking under trees or other structures that may cast a shadow over the solar panels.
Check for Damage: Inspect your solar panels regularly for any damage or cracks. Any damage to the panels can reduce their efficiency and may need to be repaired or replaced.
Regular Maintenance: Routine maintenance of your solar power system, including the panels, wiring, and other components, is essential to keep it operating at peak efficiency. Check the wires and connections for any signs of damage, corrosion, or wear and replace them as necessary.
By following these tips, you can keep your RV solar panels clean and efficient, ensuring that you get the most out of your solar power system and enjoy all the benefits of sustainable, renewable energy on the go.
How Dirty Solar Panels Can Affect Your Energy Output Cost You Money
Dirty solar panels can significantly affect the energy output of your solar power system and cost you money in the long run. Here are some ways how:
Reduced Energy Output: Dirty solar panels reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches the solar cells, which can reduce the energy output of your solar power system. In some cases, the energy output can drop by as much as 25%, which means that you will need to use more electricity from the grid or your backup generator to meet your energy needs.
Lower Efficiency: Solar panels that are covered with dirt, dust, or other debris are less efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. This can cause your solar power system to work harder than it needs to, which can increase wear and tear on the components and reduce the lifespan of your solar power system.
Increased Maintenance Costs: If you allow your solar panels to remain dirty for an extended period, it can lead to permanent damage that may require expensive repairs or even replacement of the solar panels. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prevent these issues and save you money in the long run.
Lost Revenue: If you have a grid-tied solar power system and are selling your excess power back to the grid, dirty solar panels can result in lost revenue. Utility companies may reduce the amount they pay you for the power you generate if they detect that your solar panels are not functioning at their full capacity.
In conclusion, keeping your solar panels clean is crucial for maintaining the efficiency and longevity of your solar power system. It’s essential to schedule regular cleaning and maintenance of your solar panels to maximize energy output and save you money in the long run.
The challenges RVers face while cleaning solar panels
RVers who use solar panels to power their vehicle or appliances may face some challenges when it comes to cleaning them. Here are some of the common challenges:
Access: Solar panels on RVs are often located on the roof, which can be difficult to access safely. RVers may need to climb a ladder or use special equipment to reach the panels, which can be time-consuming and dangerous.
Dirt and debris: Solar panels can accumulate dirt, dust, and debris over time, which can reduce their efficiency. Cleaning these panels can be a challenge, especially if the RV is parked in a dusty or windy area.
Water supply: RVers may not always have access to a reliable source of water, which can make cleaning the solar panels difficult. They may need to carry water with them or find a nearby source of water to use for cleaning.
Cleaning solution: Using the wrong cleaning solution or method can damage the solar panels, reducing their lifespan or efficiency. RVers need to be careful to use a gentle cleaning solution and avoid abrasive or harsh chemicals.
Time and effort: Cleaning solar panels can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive task. RVers may need to set aside time to clean their panels regularly to ensure they are functioning at peak efficiency.
To overcome these challenges, RVers can take several steps, including investing in specialized cleaning tools, using gentle cleaning solutions, and regularly maintaining their solar panels to prevent the buildup of dirt and debris. It’s also essential to prioritize safety when accessing the roof of the RV and to be aware of any potential hazards.
Why rainwater alone isn’t enough to clean your solar panels
While rainwater can help to rinse off some of the dirt and debris that accumulates on solar panels, it typically isn’t enough to fully clean them. There are a few reasons for this:
Rainwater can contain pollutants: Depending on where you live, rainwater can contain pollutants such as dust, pollen, and even chemicals from nearby industrial sites. When this rainwater falls onto your solar panels, it can leave behind a layer of residue that can reduce their efficiency.
Rainwater doesn’t remove all types of debris: While rainwater can rinse off some of the dirt and debris that accumulates on solar panels, it may not be able to remove all types of debris. For example, bird droppings or sap from nearby trees can be particularly difficult to remove with just rainwater.
Rainwater doesn’t provide a thorough clean: Solar panels need to be cleaned regularly to ensure they are functioning at peak efficiency. Rainwater may provide a quick rinse, but it typically isn’t enough to provide a thorough clean that removes all of the dirt and debris that can accumulate on the panels.
To ensure that your solar panels are functioning at their best, it’s important to clean them regularly with a gentle cleaning solution and a soft brush or sponge. This can help to remove any dirt, debris, or pollutants that have accumulated on the panels, allowing them to absorb the maximum amount of sunlight and generate the most energy possible.
Which products are safe for cleaning solar panels?
When it comes to cleaning solar panels, it’s important to use products that are safe and won’t damage the panels or reduce their efficiency. Here are some products that are safe to use for cleaning solar panels:
Water: The simplest and safest way to clean solar panels is with plain water. Using a hose or a bucket of water, you can rinse off any dirt or debris that has accumulated on the panels.
Soap and water: If the solar panels are particularly dirty, you can use a gentle soap solution to help remove the dirt and grime. Mix a few drops of dish soap with water and apply it to the panels with a soft sponge or brush. Rinse thoroughly with water to remove any soap residue.
Isopropyl alcohol: Isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean solar panels, especially if they have oily or greasy residue. Mix equal parts water and isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle and apply it to the panels. Use a soft sponge or brush to gently scrub the panels and then rinse thoroughly with water.
Specialty solar panel cleaning products: There are also specialty solar panel cleaning products available on the market that are specifically designed to clean solar panels without damaging them. These products typically come in a spray bottle and are formulated to remove dirt, grime, and other types of debris from solar panels.
When cleaning solar panels, it’s important to use soft brushes or sponges to avoid scratching the surface of the panels. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that can damage the panels or reduce their efficiency. Regular cleaning can help to ensure that your solar panels are functioning at their best and generating the maximum amount of energy possible.
Do You Need to Turn off Solar Panels to Clean?
Statistics show that you can increase the efficiency of your solar panels by 21 percent just by cleaning them. And you cannot rely on rainwater to do it for you, despite popular beliefs.
Regardless of the amount of rainfall your area experiences yearly, you will still need to clean your solar panels. There are many other reasons you should clean your solar panels. And since you’re reading this post, you probably know them already.
So, do you need to turn off the solar panels to clean them? The short answer is yes; you will find the reasons in this blog post. Enjoy!
Bare Ground Winter Bare Ground Solutions One Shot 1S-SPCHEC Solar Panel Cleaner Concentrate with Hose-End Mixing Sprayer, 32 oz (1 Quart)
Rotak SolBright 4-in-1 Solar Panel Cleaner Concentrate For PV Solar Panels Spot Free Quick Dry Non-toxic Cleans Up to 10 Solar Systems (32 oz)
Happybuy Water Fed Pole Kit, 24ft Length Water Fed Brush, 7.3m Water Fed Cleaning System, Aluminum Outdoor Window Cleaner w/ 18ft Hose, Cleaning and Washing Tool for Window Glass, Solar Panel
Do I Need to Turn off Solar Panels to Clean?
The general belief is that rainfall is enough to clean your solar panels efficiently. However, that’s not true. You cannot entirely rely on nature to clean up after you.
Another common problem with cleaning solar panels is knowing how often to do it. It’s either that or you’re worrying about whether to turn it off before cleaning.
Essentially, it depends on how much dirt accumulates on your solar panels. If you don’t wipe the photovoltaic surface often, the buildup of pollution will reduce its efficiency.
You probably already know all that, but you don’t know if turning off the solar panels before cleaning is essential.
Well, yes. You must turn off solar panels to clean. In fact, it is one of the most important safety precautions for cleaning solar panels. Solar panels are a system that creates and stores electricity. This means you should be cautious of being wet around them.
If anything, you should use a voltmeter to test the live current of the solar panels before turning on your hose. There is a risk of electrocution when cleaning your solar panels without turning off the system.
And it is not enough to simply switch off the inverter. Photovoltaic cells only need visible light to convert the photons into currents that can shock you.
Why Do You Need to Clean Solar Panels?
This is a valid question. Cleaning solar panels is integral to their maintenance, so don’t be fooled by believing the rain will do it for you.
The rain cannot efficiently clean your solar panels because of how they’re installed.
Here are other reasons to clean your solar panels:
It improves efficiency
When there is a buildup of dirt and grime on the solar panels, it prevents adequate sunlight from penetrating. And the photovoltaic cells need enough visible light, so if you notice lower performance, this is likely the reason.
Statistics show that unclean panels can affect electricity generation by as much as 21 percent in domestic settings and 61 percent in the commercial sectors.
So, just by cleaning regularly, you can increase the output of your solar investment.
It validates your warranty
Solar panel manufacturers and installation companies work with specified conditions of use. For some, proof of regular cleaning is important for them to assist when there’s a fault. This is because they understand how dirty surfaces can affect the efficiency and performance of the system.
It increases the durability
Another reason you need to clean your solar panels often is to increase their durability. Otherwise, the buildup of dirt, grime, stones, small particles, and other debris may scratch or cover the surface of the photovoltaic cells.
These little damages can accumulate, contrast and expand over time, leading to gutter damage. Of course, this reduces the durability of your investment.
It dictates the aesthetic appeal
A dirty roof wouldn’t appeal to anyone and certainly doesn’t speak well of homeowners. The same applies when you have solar panels on your roof.
And it’s even worse because these are glass and reflective surfaces. To increase the aesthetic appeal of your property, clean the panels often.
It is an opportunity to inspect them
Small cracks and dents on the surface of your solar panels will expand and contract because of the weather elements. There may be other faults with your solar tech too, and you’ll only know when you inspect them regularly.
Can You Get Electrocuted Cleaning Solar Panels?
Certainly, you can get electrocuted when cleaning your solar panels, despite popular beliefs.
Of course, the likelihood of this happening is low, but there’s a chance. Essentially, the photovoltaic effect requires the generation and transfer of electricity. These occur in well-protected glass and aluminum structures, but there’s still room for a slip-up.
The type of electricity generated in the solar cells is called direct current or DC. It is a continuous flow, making it more dangerous because you’ll be unable to pull away if it gets a hold of you.
And sadly, many people think just turning off the inverter kills this electricity. You see, the inverter is merely a system that facilitates the storage of electricity, not the production.
There are three significant ways you may get electrocuted if you clean your solar panels without turning them off.
The first is when your body serves as the “earth” and becomes electrocuted. It happens when the photovoltaic system isn’t earthed well.
Earthing is the process of transferring electrical energy into the earth through a wire. If your technician hasn’t done this process correctly, you may get electrocuted when you try to clean your solar panels without turning off the PV system.
Another danger is faulty wiring. This problem is called electrical arcing, one of the primary causes of solar fires.
Solar panels work with alternating current or AC and direct current or DC electricity. The photovoltaic cells convert AC to DC energy through the photovoltaic effect. And one thing that characterizes direct current electricity is that it is continuous.
Now, when an electrical arcing occurs, DC electricity keeps flowing regardless. Disconnection in wiring is one of the ways the energy leaks out and starts a fire. If you see sparks and smoke, get away from the scene as fast as possible.
Finally, you won’t always know when your solar panels are cracked or broken. These cracks are caused by falling twigs, stones, and other sharp objects that create minor dents.
They expand over time, but you won’t know if you don’t inspect your solar panels regularly. And when you turn on the hose, you put yourself at the risk of electrocution.
The effects of electrocution on the body are very undesirable for anyone. DC electrocution causes fibrillation, where the heart muscles stop contracting and expanding in sync.
This prevents the heart from pumping blood properly and may often cause brain damage or cardiac arrest. The shock may also make you fall off the roof. It’s either that or you get burned by the fires that arise.
You can avoid electrocution or the risk of a fire outbreak by inviting professionals to clean your solar panels.
How to Clean Solar Panels on a Roof?
There is a proper way to clean your solar panels. This method eliminates the risk of electrocution and ensures that you achieve efficiency in the process.
The average cost of cleaning solar panels runs between 100 to 300. Fortunately, you can do it yourself. But how?
Step 1: Start by turning off the PV system completely.
Step 2: Use a garden hose to remove the dust and grime accumulated on the surface.
Step 3: Now that you’ve softened the dirt on the solar panels, you can use soap and warm water to finish the job. Use a soft cloth to gently wipe the surface of the panels without standing or walking on them.
Step 4: Finally, use a squeegee to wipe off the excess water or suds on the panels to prevent streaks from forming and blockages from happening.
When you’re cleaning your solar panels, avoid putting your weight on them. It’s also best to wait until the temperature reduces before cleaning the panels. This is to prevent them from being too hot to the touch while you work.
If anything, we recommend waiting until sunset to clean them. You should also wait until the panels dry before cleaning them if it has just rained. Otherwise, they are slippery and dangerous hazards.
Does Rain Clean Solar Panels?
The answer is yes and no. Rain does clean your solar panels for you, and they have been installed in a manner that allows adequate rainfall to hit them and fall away.
This means manufacturers had this chore in mind. Solar panels are constantly in the open, which exposes them to dirt, grime, and other environmental factors that dull the clear photovoltaic surface.
Rain washes the panels to an extent, but if you don’t also play your part, the system’s durability will be affected.
What’s your part? Well, you’re supposed to see this chore as your opportunity to inspect your solar panels. That way, you can see if there are cracks, loose wires, and other functions that have gone wrong.
Do Solar Panels Require Cleaning?
Without a doubt, yes. Solar panels require cleaning because they cannot naturally clean themselves. Although they have been designed and are often installed in a way that allows rainfall and other natural elements to clean them for you, you still need to put in some effort.
Occasionally washing the panels won’t hurt. You need to do this to remove the smudges and streaks that the rain and grime cause. Otherwise, the maximum efficiency of the PV system will not be guaranteed.
You cannot leave your solar panels to nature to clean for you. Play your part by inviting a team of professionals or doing it yourself.
How Often to Clean Solar Panels?
It depends on where you reside. If you’re from an area with abundant trees and vegetation, we recommend cleaning your solar panels twice yearly, every 6 months.
This removes the buildup of ash, soil, sand, limestone, silica, and calcium. If these materials accumulate, you should expect a whopping reduction in performance.
Don’t be that PV system owner with dirty solar panel surfaces. This will not just affect its overall output but will send it into overdrive before you know it. It affects the durability, and homeowners’ insurance won’t touch you if you haven’t been cleaning the panels regularly.
In most cases, regular cleaning is a prerequisite for validating insurance claims for damages to solar panels. If you cannot provide proof that you’ve been maintaining the PV system the right way, you may be financially responsible for the damage that occurs.
Care and maintenance of your solar panels will increase their lifespan. However, there are many common mistakes people make in the process. One of them, cleaning the panels without turning them off, puts you in significant danger.
It is essential to clean your solar panels, but you don’t have to do it yourself. If it is beyond your ability, kindly call a team of professionals.
A true environmentalist by heart ️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no ‘Planet B’ in this whole universe.
Home Solar Panel Cleaning Tips Checklist
Solar power is a clean and renewable energy source that doesn’t emit any harmful gases or toxins into the environment. As with any form of energy, solar power technology is constantly evolving to meet the ever-growing demands of the market.
The solar panel, one of the most important components of a solar system, comes through.
Getting solar panels cleaned isn’t only important for preserving their efficiency but also for your own comfort and peace of mind.
If you’re wondering when to clean your solar panels and what cleaning products to use, read this blog.
Why Clean Your Solar Panels?
There are a few reasons you should clean your solar panels. The first is that dirty solar panels can lead to reduced efficiency and shorter life spans for your solar power system.
Not only will this cost you money in the long run, but it could also jeopardize the safety of you and your family if there’s an emergency situation requiring energy output from your solar array.
Secondly, cleaning regularly helps remove any build-up of dust, dirt, or grease that can reduce panel performance and increase energy costs over time.
Last but not least – keeping your panels clean improves air quality in and around.
How to Know When Your Solar Panels Need Cleaning
There are a few indicators that your solar panels might need cleaning. If you experience any of the following, it’s time to give your panels a good clean:
– Reduced system performance
– Dust and dirt buildup on panels
– Unusual smells coming from solar panel systems
Solar panels should be cleaned once every six months, although in more polluted areas they should be cleaned more frequently.
What to Use for Cleaning Your Solar Panels
When cleaning solar panels, it is important to use the correct cleaning materials and techniques to avoid damaging the surface.
Water can be used to safely rinse solar panels from the ground, but avoid using water with high mineral content to prevent mineral build-up.
besides, use a window wiper or a microfiber cloth to dry solar panels and remove any residue.
For hybrid solar panels, use soft, lukewarm water and a non-abrasive sponge to preserve the heat transfer fluid and panel components.
When to Call a Professional for Cleaning
If your solar panel system is not performing as it should, or if there are signs of build-up on the panels, If the panel is installed on a dangerously sloping roof. call a professional solar panel cleaning service.
Homeowners often opt to hire a professional solar panel cleaner to clean and inspect solar panels, due to the high rooftop location of solar panels.
How Often Should You Clean Your Solar Panels?
Cleaning solar panels once every six months is generally enough for a typical solar installation.
Solar panels systems located in regions that get a lot of rain need to be cleaned less frequently.
Annual inspections and additional maintenance appointments may be necessary depending on the condition of your solar panels.
Best Practices for Cleaning Your Home Solar Panels
If you have solar panels installed on your roof, it’s important to clean them regularly to ensure they’re performing optimally and prolonging the lifespan.
Here are some best practices that can help you do this with minimal effort and cost.
use dedicated solar panel cleaning equipment to perform the cleaning.
Start by rinsing the panel with a garden hose on an overcast day. After washing the panel, use a soft brush or sponge to scrub it clean.
Avoid using water with a high mineral content when cleaning solar panels, as this can damage the panel’s surface. Instead, use water with minimal minerals, such as purified water or water from the water supply.
If you have professional solar panel cleaning services available, consider hiring them to help you clean and inspect solar panels annually.
Some of the important Solar Panel Maintenance checklist
A good solar panel maintenance checklist includes checking the racks and roof penetrations for signs of corrosion, checking the wiring, performing technical maintenance by a professional once a year, and cleaning panels periodically to maintain efficiency.
These simple steps can help solar panels stay clean and efficient for years to come.
Examine your Solar Panel that they are clean and secure:
It’s important to regularly evaluate your solar panel system for signs of wear and tear.
You should inspect your panel for damage and weathering at least twice a year, checking for cracks in the vacuum-sealed back sheet of your solar panel.
You can also look for rust, corrosion, or discoloration in spots that could be signs of corrosion.
If you notice any issues with your solar panel system, such as rips or tears in the backsheet, check to see if there are any warnings or precautions accompanying the solar panel warranty.
Check your Solar Panels aren’t Corroded:
It is important to check your solar panels for weathering, rust, and damage twice a year. To ensure the health of your solar panel investment, it is essential to inspect the rack and roof penetrations for signs of corrosion.
Corrosion can occur in solar panel installations over time due to environmental and human factors.
Check Wiring for any Damages:
It’s important for solar panels to have their wiring checked for any damage regularly.
Solar panels should have their wiring checked every 6 months for signs of damage, such as fraying or wearing, that could create a short circuit.
To check the wiring, carefully inspect it for signs of damage and wear, as well as signs of water intrusion or degradation (such as rust, corrosion, or discoloration).
Check Access to Isolator Switches are Clear:
Visual access should be maintained to isolator switches on solar panels for maintenance, repairs, and upgrades.
Any devices that might be attached to the solar panel must also have access to the isolator switch as they could malfunction if they are not switched off.
Isolator switches can only handle a limited amount of current, so devices connected to the solar panel must be switched off before accessing the isolator switch.
Also, never store any items in front of the isolator switch as this may reduce its effectiveness.
Ensure Regular Electrical and System Fault Checks:
It’s vital that you conduct regular electrical and system fault checks to ensure the solar panel is working properly. You should inspect the rack and roof penetrations for signs of corrosion every month.
Professionals can also check the electric wiring, pump, expansion tank, and other electrical connections for integrity and safety.
Maintaining a logbook:
It is important to maintain a logbook for solar panels. The logbook can record inspections, cleanings, and component replacements. This can help ensure your solar panel system is safe and functioning properly.
Repairing or replacing solar panels:
Regular maintenance and cleaning of solar panels can help reduce the risk of needing repairs or replacements. When looking for signs of corrosion or rust, be on the lookout for patches of discoloration, streaks, or splotches on racks and solar panels.
High Quality Components like Charge Controller and Inverter
Only high-quality MPPT solar controllers and inverters are used, as their built-in protection against backflow and overvoltage can effectively protect the solar panels.
What Does Professional Solar Panel Cleaning Cost?
The cost of professional solar panel cleaning depends on the size of the solar panel system and the extent of cleaning required. It ranges from 130 to 500 per cleaning session depending on the brand and type of solar panel system.
Also, maintenance of solar panels includes annual inspection and cleaning sessions every six months, with an average cost of 150 per cleaning session.
Do’s and Don’ts of Solar Panel Cleaning
It’s important to clean solar panels regularly to keep them in good condition and avoid damage. Here are some tips for cleaning solar panels.
Use soft, lukewarm water and a non-abrasive sponge.
Don’t stand on solar modules as they will break or cause microcracks
Do consider cleaning panels very early in the morning, early evening, or on an overcast day. The less exposure the solar panel has to sunlight, the longer it’ll last and generate electricity.
Don’t use hot or cold water to clean panels as the temperature difference may result in surface cracks. Instead, use a solar panel cleaning kit specifically designed for solar systems to clean panels efficiently.
Finally, be careful not to damage solar cells with sharp objects such as knives, screws or coins.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it necessary to clean my solar panels every month?
Typically, solar panels need to be cleaned every six months. The frequency of cleaning should be increased in areas with higher levels of pollution, and may not need to be done as often in areas with more rainfall. Annual inspection and additional maintenance may be necessary.
What are some of the most common causes of solar panel failure?
Some of the most common causes of solar panel failure are due to dirt and debris buildup. This can reduce panel efficiency by up to 25%.
How to clean solar panels from the ground?
A cleaning tool with a pole can be used to clean the solar panels if your panels are installed at a low height.
Can a dirty solar panel affect the performance of my system?
Yes, solar panel systems located in drier and more arid areas need to be cleaned more often than those in wetter regions. This is because dirt on the surface of solar panels reflects away sunlight, lowering the efficiency of conversion from solar energy into electricity.
How to clean solar panels on roof automatically?
For large power plants, there are automatic cleaning robots that clean the solar panels automatically. For small solar panels for home or RV use, there is only the option of manual cleaning.
A solar panel cleaning is an important periodic maintenance task. It ensures the long-term efficiency of your solar panels and reduces potential damage from dust and grit, which could shorten their lifespan.
Besides, it enhances the performance of your solar system by removing accumulated dirt and other contaminants that reduce panel efficiency and performance.
How to clean your solar panels
While a solar energy system is generally a “set it and forget it” system that allows you to passively produce renewable energy for your home, you may need to freshen up your panels occasionally. While it’s not absolutely necessary to clean solar panels, you may be losing out on value and efficiency by not doing so. In this article, we’ll provide answers to some common questions solar panel system owners have about solar panel maintenance and how to perform it safely.
Do I have to clean my solar panels?
Your solar panels need to be exposed to sunlight in order to produce power. However, unless you live somewhere with high amounts of smog, dust, dirt, grime or sand blowing around, solar panel cleaning is generally not necessary. In most cases, occasional rain will be enough to naturally and safely keep your solar panels clean and free of debris that could lower production. But a good clean every once in a while can help to maximize your panel’s photovoltaic (PV) production. So if you need or want to clean your solar panels, we’re here to help you determine the best way to do it!
Can I clean my solar panels myself?
Just like washing your car, you can definitely DIY solar panel upkeep, but there are also professional solar panel cleaners to make it easier. In fact, for a small fee, your solar installer may even do it for you! If you have a rooftop system, it might be a good idea to enlist a cleaning service, if only for safety precautions. A professional solar panel cleaning company may not do a significantly different or better job than you can do yourself, but they are better equipped to safely clean and maintain rooftop units. For ground mount units, it may not be worth the service fee when you can safely and effectively clean your own panels with a water hose, some dish soap, and a soft rag.
Types of of professional cleaning
There are many different types of professional cleaning companies that can help you. Robotics companies use semi-autonomous machines to clean without as much direct personal work involved. Some maintenance companies also use soapless brushes and sponges to clean panels to avoid potentially harmful residues. Other high-tech cleaning options are in development including waterless vibration and nanoparticle coatings.
Does your solar lease cover panel maintenance?
If your panels are leased, solar lease agreements will often include a maintenance clause of some sort. Some companies will perform regular maintenance on their panels, including washing services, while others will just repair damages the customer reports. It’s important to remember that solar panels generally require little maintenance, and simply spraying your panels down with a hose occasionally can do the trick.
How to clean solar panels
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean your solar panels:
- Shut off your solar panel system – this will help ensure your safety and that equipment is not damaged.
- Use a soft brush to clean the surface of your dirty solar panels to remove any debris like dirt and dust.
- When cleaning your panels with water, be sure to use a standard garden hose and soapy water. There’s no special cleaning solution you need to purchase to clean your panels, just regular dish soap will work perfectly. You should avoid using a high-pressure hose that you might use to do things like power washing your house, as they have the ability to create cracks or otherwise damage your system.
- After you have finished the cleaning process, monitor energy output to see the difference in efficiency that cleaning has made!
What should you use to clean your solar panels?
When cleaning your solar panels, the most important consideration to keep in mind is that scratching or damaging the glass in any way will reduce a panel’s energy production. It’s best to approach panel cleaning the same way you might clean your car. Dish soap and clean water applied with a soft sponge or cloth is the safest and easiest cleaning method. It may also be helpful to use a squeegee to remove dirty water. Remember – avoid damaging or scratching the glass at all costs!
On rare occasions, oily stains can appear on your panels. You might find these if you live near a common truck route or an airport, and they can be tackled with a little isopropyl alcohol and a rag. It’s essential that you avoid using strong cleaning detergents, as these can streak and damage the glass and impact panel efficiency.
How often should you clean solar panels?
The frequency of solar panel cleaning depends primarily on where you live:
- In desert climates including the U.S. southwest, more regular cleaning is needed due to the large amount of dust and sand that could affect a solar energy system’s output.
- Solar panels in polluted areas near highways, factories and airports should also be cleaned more frequently to avoid residue buildup from pollutants that could result from heavy machinery nearby.
- In heavily wooded areas, solar panels should be frequently cleaned to prevent obstructions as a result of overgrown vegetation and bird droppings.
Should you remove snow from your solar panels?
In the winter, snow on solar panels generally doesn’t need to be removed – it will typically slide off on its own. Most panel installations are tilted at an angle, and snow will naturally slide off as it melts. If snow persists on your panels, you can also invest in tools like a solar panel snow rake, which makes it easy for homeowners to safely remove snow covering on solar panels. It’s important that you don’t use a standard broom, shovel, or another non-specialized tool to remove snow from panels, as they can scratch the panel glass and lower your solar power production.
Frequently asked questions about solar panel cleaning
Dish soap and a soft sponge or rag are the best thing to clean solar panels with.
Yes, you can clean solar panels yourself by filling a bucket with water and using dish soap and a low pressure hose.
Keeping your solar panels clean will not automatically void your warranty, but be sure to avoid using harsh chemicals and pressure washers or other water fed poles that could potentially crack or otherwise damage your panels. Improper cleaning practices do have the potential to void your warranty, so be sure to read the details before you jump into cleaning yourself.
Windex is a cheap and widely available cleaner that is excellent for cleaning glass surfaces such as those on a solar panel to make sure they are running at maximum efficiency.
While they may be good for cleaning other parts of your home, a pressure washer should never be used on solar panels to avoid damaging them and creating cracks.
A professional cleaner may charge between 150 and 300 to clean solar panels. This varies widely on the type of panel, the degree of cleanliness and how many panels you have. Costs range from 15-30 per panel.
While debris being cleaned off naturally by rain will help, making a concerted effort to clean your panels will lead to increased solar panel performance.
It is recommended that you clean your solar panels every six months to a year in order to maximize the efficiency of your solar panels.
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About Jacob Marsh
Jacob is an EnergySage writer with expertise in solar, electrification, and renewable energy. With over five years of experience researching and writing about the home energy industry (plus a degree in Geological Sciences from Tufts University), he brings a unique scientific approach to writing and investigating all things energy.