How to Clean Your Solar Panels

Generally speaking, a solar installation doesn’t need much maintenance. But in some regions that experience low rainfall or wind, or if placed with minimal panel tilt, things like dust and bird droppings can accumulate and thus affect the electricity generation amount. Besides, at locations close to freeways, highways, factories and airports, a solar power system tends to build up more dirt, oil and grime.

In fact, over a long period, solar panels can lose up to 15-25% of their efficiency if not cleaned properly. So, it is necessary to check your solar panels frequently and do some much-needed cleaning.

If you do decide to clean your solar panels, there are two main ways of doing it: hire a professional or do it yourself. A lot of solar companies will offer this type of service to you, for a fee of course. They may offer it as part of an annual maintenance service, or suggest you get it done every so often when they come to install the solar panel. But the truth is, solar companies often charge a steep amount to do this cleaning, for not much return on your energy bill.

If you were interested in doing it yourself, you will have all you need to do at home. As a rule of thumb, it will involve nothing more than a hose, a lot of water, a cloth and maybe some soap. Then you are good to go.

How to Clean Your Solar Panels 

The following guide to cleaning solar panels is for your reference.

1、Shut down your solar power system entirely

Your solar power system is supposed to be completely shut down before cleaning as per the shutdown procedure listed in your user manual. AC systems should be shut down via the Solar Supply Main Switch. DC systems will also need to be entirely shut down.

2、Choose a mild and cool time of the day

The combination of hot glass on your panels and cool water can increase the possibility of cracks from a sudden change in temperature. Besides, if the hot sun is beating down on the panels, any water you’ve used could quickly evaporate and then leave dirty marks. Therefore, a cool, early morning is a particularly good time for cleaning the solar panels. If you can not manage any early morning, a cloudy day or a mild and cool evening are also ideal times to do the cleaning.

3、Use a soft cloth and mild soap

There is no need for you to invest in any fancy cleaning solutions: just water and a mild soap will do the job. A good quality soft brush and squeegee with a plastic blade on one side and and a cloth-covered sponge on the other, coupled with a long extension, can make for the perfect tool as well as keep you safely on the ground.

4、Don’t climb on your roof without safety equipment

The risk of working on your roof is increased by using water. When you do the cleaning, the roof will be more slippery. Remember, do not attempt to access on your rooftop unless you have the appropriate safety equipment and training.

How often should you clean your solar panels?

Your solar panels should be cleaned approximately every six months. Late spring and late autumn are great times to clean your solar panels. Solar panels that are cleaned once and twice a year produce 3 percent and 5 percent more electricity respectively than those that are left uncleaned. In particularly dry and dusty areas, such as rural farms, or areas where there is more air pollution, your solar panels might need to be cleaned a little more often, but this should not be more frequent than every 3-4 months.

Cleaning the solar panels is not different than cleaning a typical window. It is not very time-consuming either. In return, you could see a big boost in your solar system performance and cash savings on your electricity bills.

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