How To: Cleaning Your Solar Panels

Many solar panel owners often are stuck between cleaning their own panels, or hiring a professional to do it. If you do decide to do it yourself, here are some quick tips on how to get the best clean.

If you were interested in doing it yourself, you’ll generally have all you need to do it at home. In most instances, it will involve nothing more than a hose, maybe some soap, and you’re good to go. This might be helpful in drought-prone areas as well, because essentially what you’re doing with the hose is the same thing the rain would do if you got more of it in your area.

There are ways to determine if your solar panels need cleaning to begin with. One is physical inspection of the panels for debris, dirt, bird droppings, etc. The other way is the use of a monitoring system that alerts you to how well your solar panels are functioning and performing. This can alert you to any maintenance needs for your system, whether that’s mechanical, electrical, or cleanliness.

What Do You Use to Clean Solar Panels?

If you are interested in cleaning your residential solar panels on your own, there are a variety of products you can use to clean them. But first, make sure you check with your solar installers and providers to determine if there is any information about solar panel cleaning, recommendations, and dos or don’ts when it comes to cleaning your system.

The most effective way to clean your solar panels is with a hose and a bucket of soapy water. Essentially, in the same manner you would wash your car at home. Because you don’t want to scratch the panels in any way, it’s best to use just water and a non-abrasive sponge to apply soapy water. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use any type of high-pressure water sprayer when washing off your solar panels. A high-pressure attachment can damage the solar panels themselves.

If you do use something other than just water – especially to get rid of pesky bird droppings, just make sure what you’re using is soft and hard bristle-free. Sponges are great products to clean solar panels with because they won’t scratch. If deciding to use a little bit of soap on your sponge, use something that you might clean your dishes with. Laundry detergents and other stronger chemicals might interact with your solar panels in a negative way. Remember that plain water works the best in 99% of cases.

Keep in mind that solar panels can be extremely hot when the sun is beating down on them. It’s best to pick a cool, overcast day to clean the panels. Not only to protect yourself from burns, but if you’re attempting to clean the solar panels when it’s extremely hot out, the soapy water you are putting on the panels will evaporate quickly and may leave a residue or smear to the panels which can affect their effectiveness.

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