Solar panels can last for decades and require little maintenance in comparison to other energy-producing systems. Solar panels must, however, be cleaned on a regular basis to guarantee that they remain functional.

When dust and dirt accumulate on photovoltaic cell surfaces, they obscure sunlight, resulting in less electricity being produced.

Cleaning solar panel

The finest 1500-watt solar panel kit will come with a 25-to 30-year power production warranty. They lose performance capacity over time, just like any other gadget. Only about 0.5 percent of the capacity of high-quality modules is lost each year, but this is only true for solar panels that are cleaned on a regular basis.

Soiling can affect annual electricity output by up to 7% in some locations of the United States, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Solar cleaning equipment: 5 must-have items

What solar panel cleaning equipment do you need?!

There are a few solar panel cleaning tools necessary to effectively clean the panels. Some may already be in your home or workplace; others are a little more specialized, and many people will need to find them. The following are the most frequently used and required tools:

The ladder and harness

It may seem obvious, but a solid ladder and a harness system are critical safety equipment. Even if your system is ground-mounted, reaching the extreme edges of the panel may necessitate the use of a step ladder.

Solar panel cleaner (non-abrasive)

There are many cleaning products available, but a mild soap or non-abrasive cleaner is recommended for cleaning solar panels.

Squeegee

This is a highly effective tool for eliminating water without damaging the panel’s glass or surface.

Soft-bristled solar panel cleaning brushes

When cleaning your solar panels, only use soft-bristled cleaning brushes to avoid scratching them.

Follow-through solar panel washing brush

Typically used to clean solar panels from the ground, a follow-through washing brush uses water flow and a soft-bristled brush to wash, usually with extension poles, and more effectively remove solar panel debris.

Cleaning solar panels: a step-by-step guide

Assuming your solar system has been turned off, here are the four primary processes for cleaning solar panels:

  1. Remove loose materials from panels with care.

Clean solar panels with a solar panel cleaning brush head to remove trash, bird droppings, and buildup.

Cleaning Solar Panel with care

2. Clean with pure water and a gentle scrub with a non-abrasive cleaner.

Because some chemicals have the potential to damage solar panels, you should clean them with mild or non-abrasive cleaning solutions and pure water.

Scrubbing solar panel

3. Rinse and use the squeegee to dry the panels

Once your panels have been washed, rinse and squeegee them dry.

Drying solar panel

4. Dry the edges with a lint-free cloth.

Solar panel edges can be sensitive, so use a lint-free cloth to dry the edges properly and remove any remaining streaks.

Wiping Solar panel

Solar panel cleaning recommendations

Throughout the year, your panels are exposed to dust, debris, and bird droppings. Seasonal concerns that affect panels may exist depending on where you reside, and you must ensure that these are addressed effectively.

To get the maximum 1.5kw solar system savings, we’ve made a few solar panel cleaning suggestions for each season below!

Autumn/Fall

Autumn

If you allow a considerable amount of falling leaves to pile on your solar panels, they can block a lot of sunlight. Due to the way solar panels work, even a tiny number of leaves can have a significant impact on power generation:

  • A photovoltaic panel’s photovoltaic cells are connected in series. The entire panel becomes less productive when even one cell is totally covered by a leaf.
  • Considering that the solar panels are also linked to an inverter and are strung together in series circuits if one of the circuit’s panels fails, the others will be affected as well.
  • As a result, if a single huge leaf completely covers one solar cell, it can damage an entire row of panels. The electricity output continues to decrease as more leaves accumulate.

You can clean the leaves yourself, although a rake built exclusively for solar panels is recommended.

Winter

Winter

Ice and snow have become the biggest challenges for solar panels. Although most high-quality modules have low-temperature ratings and are unaffected by cold weather, a thick layer of snow can obscure sunlight and cause power production to cease.

Snow should be removed as quickly as possible from solar panels and other roof surfaces.

Spring

Spring

During the spring, there is a lot of pollen in the air, which can collect on solar panels and reduce energy production. Pollen buildup can be avoided by washing often during this season. Many weather predictions include pollen levels, and you can also check online for pollen levels in your area.

If you or someone in your household is allergic to pollen, you may want to employ a solar panel cleaning service to avoid direct contact.

Summer

Summer

Solar panel cleaning tools and requirements during summer will vary depending on your climate and weather conditions.

  • In areas where there is a lot of rain during the summer, cleaning your panels isn’t necessary because the weather will do it for you.
  • When it’s hot and dry in the summer, it’s necessary to perform frequent cleaning to remove extra dust, ash, and other particles from the environment.

Solar panels: how to keep them clean

Cleaning solar panels on your own might be a risky proposition, especially if they’re on a difficult-to-reach roof area. Paying for a solar panel cleaning service is often a safer option.

How to clean solar panels at home?

You may also clean solar panels on your own, especially if you have a ground-mounted solar system that you can easily reach. However, you must ensure that the panels are not damaged and that all safety procedures are followed to avoid mishaps. Take note of the following tips for cleaning your solar panels without damaging them:

Cleaning solar panels at home
  • Avoid harsh chemicals by washing with soapy water. A basic solution of diluted biodegradable soap should be enough.
  • Use a soft brush and a squeegee or a non-abrasive sponge.
  • Instead of a pressure washer that can damage your solar panel, use a regular garden hose with an extension if needed.

When cleaning a rooftop solar system, especially if you have a high-pitched roof, take extra precautions to keep yourself safe.

Also, while cleaning your solar panels, stay hydrated and avoid working in extreme heat! Solar panel cleaning is best done early in the morning or late in the evening, or you can wait until a gloomy day to do it.

When do you need to maintain your solar panels?

Solar panels, as previously stated, are extremely durable, with industry-standard warranties ranging from 25 to 30 years. Solar power systems, on the other hand, are only effective if their surfaces are kept clean.

Although dust, particles, and objects will not cause permanent harm, their electricity production can be significantly reduced especially if you allow rust on solar panels to build up.

When do you need to maintain your solar panels

Even in sunny weather, if your solar panels are producing less electricity than usual, they may require cleaning or maintenance. There are two primary methods for detecting problems with power production:

  • Many solar inverters now include energy monitoring apps, allowing you to see the amount of electricity produced using your smartphone. The app will notify you if your daily kilowatt-hour output drops significantly.
  • There will be an impact on your electricity bill if your solar panels produce less electricity than usual. You’ll find that you’re using more kilowatt-hours from the grid, which means you’re paying a bigger bill.

When you have solar panels, it’s a good habit to check your energy monitoring app on a frequent basis. Instead of waiting for the next power bill, you may notice problems sooner and have them rectified. You will have already consumed a significant amount of electricity from the grid by that time.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

1. Is it necessary to clean solar panels?

Solar panels do require cleaning on a regular basis, ideally two to four times each year. They are only productive when sunlight reaches their solar cells, and anything that prevents sunlight from reaching them diminishes their productivity. Dust, dirt, pollen, leaves, snow, ice, bird droppings, and any other particles or things that remain on their surface fall into this category.

2. Does it make a difference if you clean your solar panels?

Yes, cleaning your solar panels has a significant impact on their efficiency. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, soiling can reduce the annual output of your solar panels by up to 7%.

3. How much does it cost to hire a solar panel cleaner?

Solar panel cleaning firms usually charge per module or a set amount for the complete array. Prices vary depending on region, season, and other circumstances, but you should anticipate paying up to $10 per panel.

If you haven’t yet purchased solar panels, some installers may offer free cleaning for a limited time following your purchase. However, this should not be the primary consideration when selecting a solar supplier. While getting free cleaning is a good advantage, make sure you’re getting a high-quality installation.