The overall efficiency of your solar power system is going to be determined by the amount of direct sunlight that your solar panels can access. If your panels are covered in bird droppings, pollen, shadowed by large trees or have dirt accumulated on them, the system is potentially not going to . When solar panels are dirty, they can lose up to 25% of their energy. Under normal circumstances, with rain or snowfall, panels will be cleaned naturally. In some areas however, especially areas with little rain or snow, it’s important to find a way to safely keep them clean.
Safety Tip: If your solar panels are on the roof and not on the ground, you need to take precautions so that you don’t get hurt. First, shut the system off and then, make sure you have a sturdy ladder with a flat space to sit it before you attempt to climb. If you are not experienced with climbing a ladder or you have a fear of heights, be safe and call a professional to clean the panels for you. If your installer does not clean solar panels, they may be able to refer you to someone who will clean them for you.
Solar panels need to be cleaned at least once per year in areas with rain and once every six months to a year in areas where there is little rain.
Steps to Clean Solar Panels
Cleaning solar panels on your own is not a difficult task if the panels are on the ground or if you feel comfortable on a ladder and have the proper tools to clean with. Before you drag your cleaning gear up the ladder with you, it’s best to complete an inspection to see if the panels need to be cleaned. If you live in an area with frequent rain, you may not need to clean them at all. If you live in a dry area or have large trees hanging over your home, the panels may need to be cleaned.
Having the proper equipment to clean with and that will take care of everything without causing damage is important. You should have a good supply of disposable gloves to keep hands away from chemicals and to have a good grip on the ladder as you climb to the roof. (Source: ).
For soap, a gentle dishwashing liquid will work best along with a soft, non-abrasive brush. It’s also a good idea to use a hose and a squeegee to remove any streaks and to ensure that there is no soap residue left on the panels. If you have hard water, it’s a good idea to skip the water hose and use distilled water to ensure the minerals found in hard water will not remain on the solar panels.
Solar panels should be cleaned early in the morning or late in the evening when they will not be as hot as they are during the day. When panels are extremely hot, soap can dry on them and leave a residue that can block sunlight.
Throughout the year, be sure to keep an eye on your solar panels and in between cleanings, spray them down to remove excess bird droppings or pollen. Remember, the safest way to clean your solar panels is to hire a professional to do the work for you. If you must do it on your own, take the proper steps to stay safe while cleaning them, especially when you must climb onto the roof.