Can You Clean Solar Panels & How to Do It?

  • By: Brian Comstock
  • Date: February 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

If you have installed a home solar energy system, your solar panels are usually flat, diagonal, and on your rooftop.

When was the last time you cleaned your roof?  Most certainly not very often, if at all. You won’t have to clean your solar panels very often, if at all.

After all, any debris that collects on them (dust or pollen) will be rinsed away the next time it rains. However, there are occasions when cleaning your solar panels makes sense.

For example, if you have a lot of bird droppings on your boards, rain may not be able to wash them away easily; therefore, cleaning them is a smart idea. Let’s see how we should do it;

How to Clean Solar Panels

If you determine that your solar panels require cleaning, you have two options: hire a professional or do it yourself. Many solar businesses will provide you with this service for a charge, of course.

In addition, they may include it as part of an annual maintenance package or recommend that you get it done regularly when they come to install the equipment.

The fact is that the amount you save on your energy bill does not exceed the money you must pay these businesses to complete the task.

Unfortunately, solar companies sometimes demand a high fee for this cleaning, with little return on your energy cost.

On the other hand, if you choose to do it yourself, you’ll probably have everything you need at home. In most cases, all you’ll need is a hose and maybe some soap, and you’ll be ready to go.

This may be useful in drought-prone places as well because what you’re doing with the hose is essentially the same thing rain would do if there were more of it.

There are a few methods to tell if your solar panels need to be cleaned in the first place. The first is a visual check of the meetings for trash, filth, and bird droppings, among other things.

The second option is to utilize a monitoring system to track how well your solar panels work and perform.

This can notify you of any system maintenance requirements, whether mechanical, electrical, or cleanliness-related.

Different Ways to Clean Solar Panels

There are a lot of items that you may use to clean your residential solar panels on your own.

First and foremost, though. Check with your solar installers and providers to see if they have any solar panel cleaning information, tips, or dos and don’ts.

However, because you don’t want to scratch the panels, you should only use soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge to apply it.

When cleaning your solar panels, keep in mind that you should avoid using any high-pressure water sprayer. A high-pressure attachment may damage the solar panels themselves.

If you must use something other than water to remove annoying bird droppings, make sure it is soft and devoid of harsh bristles. Sponges are excellent for cleaning solar panels since they do not scratch them.

If you want to put some soap on your sponge, use what you’d use to wash your dishes. Laundry detergents and other harsh chemicals may have a detrimental impact on your solar panels.

Remember that in 99 per cent of situations, pure water is the best option.

Keep in mind that when the sun shines directly on solar panels, they can become quite hot. Therefore, it’s preferable to clean the boards on a cold, cloudy day.

Not just to avoid getting burned, but if you try to clean the solar panels while it’s really hot outside, the soapy water you use will evaporate rapidly, leaving a residue or smear on the discussions that will reduce their efficiency.

Is Cleaning Your Solar Panels Worth It?

Experts are leaning toward “no” based on the findings. Especially if you want to employ a professional firm to clean them instead of doing it yourself. The return on investment is insufficient to warrant the effort.

Let’s look at some statistics. Expect a 5 per cent or less reduction in production when your solar panels become filthy. That’s just when they’re offensive.

After that, the solar panels will return to their peak efficiency. Then, it will rain again, even if you live in a drought-prone location.

Furthermore, most solar panels are slanted at such an angle that most buildup runs straight off the discussion rather than clinging to the top.

Even with slanted panels, there may be some tiny accumulation on the lowest board (due to runoff collecting at the bottom) – but the reduction in production due to this is so minor that it’s not worth worrying about.

Finally, climbing up a ladder, getting on your roof, and cleaning your solar panels yourself is a relatively minor energy and cost tradeoff.

This argument may start to hit home when you consider reaching out there and lugging a hose up to the roof to clean them.

Upkeep and Maintenance

In general, you should let the rain clean your solar panels. Pay attention to your energy bills and use month after month to keep track of your system’s performance.

If your power bill begins to fluctuate, it may be time to consider cleaning or other types of maintenance.

Whether you suspect that changes in your energy cost are due to solar panel cleaning, wait for a good rain to see if the efficiency returns to normal. If that’s the case, you’re probably done.

If the functionality is still broken, something electrical likely has to be fixed rather than merely cleaned.

However, a visual check, a rainwater bath, and your stay on the ground (rather than climbing up a ladder) may be all that the solar doctor requires when it comes to solar panel cleaning.

A visual check, a rainwater bath, and your stay on the ground (rather than stepping up a ladder) may be all the solar doctor needs to order when it comes to solar panel cleaning.

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