How to Clean Solar Panels: Best Practices and Simple Guide

Solar panels are becoming more popular as a way to meet home energy requirements. Solar panels absorb sunlight and create currents that are converted into usable electricity. Solar panels’ efficiency and cost depend on how well they absorb sunlight. If they are dirty, the amount they generate will be less.

Solar panels are generally easy to maintain and clean in areas with regular rainfall. Rain can remove much of the dirt or debris that could prevent solar panels in a home from absorbing maximum sunlight. The grime will still accumulate over time. Rain may not be sufficient to clean panels, especially in areas with dry climates and near industrial or construction sites.

What are the Things You Should Consider Before You Start

Solar panels are not all the same. It is important to read manufacturer instructions before you do any cleaning. The homeowner should also assess their own ability to work safely. If the solar panels are either too high for you to comfortably reach with your tools, or are located in an area that is slippery or steep, then it’s best to hire professional assistance. If this is the case, it’s best to hire a professional for help in order to avoid serious injury.

Shutting off the solar panels is the first step to cleaning them yourself. Solar panels are electrical devices and should never be cleaned when they are in use. The manufacturer’s specifications will tell you how to turn off the electrical currents, both those produced by the solar panel and those that enter the home.

Safety is the most important consideration when cleaning solar panels. For homeowners who plan to work from the roof, a hard hat, ladder, and harness are recommended.

Solar Panel Cleaning Tips

  • It is best to clean solar panels on cooler days, as they reduce the risk of glass cracking when the water dries.
  • Solar panels should not be cleaned with abrasive, heavy-duty detergent. Solar panels can be cleaned with a mixture of one part vinegar, eight parts water, and a small amount of non-abrasive gentle soap.

Safety Considerations

  • Before cleaning solar panels, the panel must be switched off. The underside of the solar panel should not be touched.
  • Wearing gloves is the safest way to clean solar panels. For homes with second and third floors, you may need to climb up the roof.
  • If you are not confident that you can safely clean your solar panels, consider hiring a solar power professional in your area to do the job.

Phase 1: Remove any dirt, dust, or leaves using a soft bristle brush.

Solar panels can accumulate bird poop and dust, as well as leaves. Rain can remove some of the debris, but it won’t cover everything. It may also leave a dirty residue behind when puddles evaporate. To begin the cleaning process, remove debris with a soft-bristled brush.

The soft brush can be attached to a telescopic pole with a hook or threaded tip. Some poles extend up to 24 feet. If you don’t have a pole long enough to reach solar panels, an extension ladder will be needed. Wear a harness and hard hat if you have to climb up onto the roof.

Solar panels should be cleaned by gently brushing them first. If there is a lot of material on the panels, mixing it with water immediately could cause the material to spread. Brushing removes and breaks down some of the material. This makes the subsequent steps in cleaning more effective. Wear gloves when cleaning to protect your hands.

Phase 2: Spray the panels with a garden hose.

The use of water is essential for cleaning solar panels. A garden hose will remove any remaining dirt from solar panels after the dry debris has been removed with a brush.

High-pressure cleaning can cause fine cracks to appear on solar panels. It will reduce the efficiency of your solar system, and cause future problems. Non-compliance to manufacturer specifications regarding solar panel maintenance may also invalidate existing warranties. Before cleaning solar panels, remove any hoses with high-pressure attachments.

This step requires deliberate, careful spraying of each solar panel. Telescopic hose wands can be used if a garden hose does not allow enough control over the spray. They have a better grip than just a garden hose.

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