Improve Solar Panel Efficiency With Regular Cleaning

Improve Solar Panel Efficiency With Regular Cleaning

In general, solar panels don’t need a lot of attention once they’re installed, especially if you live in an area that gets regular rain or snow. This is nature’s way of cleaning your solar panels. Rain washes away any dirt and debris that might accumulate on your solar panels that prevent the sunlight from reaching the receptors. One of the problems with solar panels, though, is that if you live in a very sunny place that is prone to drought, or your structure is in an industrial area, the dust and dirt in the dry air can build up on your solar panels and make your solar panels less efficient. Regularly cleaning your panels can keep this from happening.

Check Your Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Before you start cleaning your solar panels, it’s important that you take a look at your manufacturer’s recommendations in your user manual to determine the best way to clean your equipment. If they’re high on a roof, you might not want to do the cleaning yourself, either. This can be a major safety risk that should be handled by professionals who have the safety equipment and experience to make sure your solar panels are thoroughly cleaned while staying safe at the same time.

Gather the Right Supplies

Based on your manufacturer’s recommendations, gather the necessary supplies to clean your solar panels. These supplies might include a soft bristle brush, a garden hose, a sponge or soft cloth, work gloves, a bucket, a telescopic extension pole, vinegar, and mild dish soap. Notice we did not list a ladder or safety harness here. We did this on purpose because if you need those supplies, you should probably be calling a professional to clean your solar panels. If you do decide to clean roof-mounted solar panels yourself, these additional tools will be necessary.

Solar Panel Cleaning Steps

After you’ve gathered the necessary supplies, follow these steps to clean your solar panels.

  1. Turn off your solar panel system
  2. Use the soft bristle brush to loosen dirt, dust, leaves, and bird poop (attach the brush to the telescopic extension pole if you’re cleaning roof-mounted solar panels from the ground)
  3. Spray the panels with water from the garden hose (avoid using high-pressure cleaning tools, which can crack the panels)
  4. Scrub any stubborn spots with a wet soft bristle brush or sponge (be gentle as vigorous scrubbing can scratch the panels)
  5. If any dirt or grime remains after scrubbing, use the mild dish soap mixed with vinegar and water (one squirt of soap, mixed with one part vinegar and eight parts water) to boost cleaning power (use soap sparingly to prevent streaks)
  6. Rinse solar panels with clear water from the hose to make sure all soap is removed

These steps should ensure that your solar panels are clean and will improve their efficiency, if it was impacted by dirt, dust, and debris accumulation. But, if you notice the panels still aren’t working properly, you may need to contact a solar panel professional to take a deeper look at your equipment.

Conclusion

While solar panels are fairly low maintenance, dirt and debris can still cause them to lose efficiency if you don’t regularly clean them. Fortunately, they aren’t difficult to clean yourself (as long as you’re safe about it) and you can easily complete this task in a couple of hours.