How to Clean Solar Panels

How to Clean Solar Panels

Most homeowners today include solar panel installation in their construction planning and budget. This is because solar panels have become an essential part of the house. Solar panels help reduce energy bills and are also environmentally friendly.

However, before installing these panels, one needs to consider their maintenance costs in terms of time and money. In this article, we look in depth at how to clean solar panels. Dig in to find out more.

For any appliance to work efficiently, it needs to be maintained well and regularly. Solar panels are no different. To guarantee long life and work optimally, they need to be cleaned regularly. If this isn’t done, the panels may be blocked by either dust, water or bird droppings. These elements will greatly reduce the effectiveness of your solar panels, resulting in increased electricity bills.

But does cleaning solar panels need hiring professionals, or can you do it yourself?

What Causes Dirty Solar Panels?
Before learning how to clean your solar panels, you need first to know what type of dirt you’re going to be dealing with. The following elements can cause your solar panel to become dirty:

Solar panels work better when they can get the sun’s direct rays. However, when it rains heavily, the water can hamper their effectiveness. The water can push bird droppings, leaves and dirt to get inside the panels and block the light.

Dust accumulated over time will affect the optimal performance of your solar panels. If you live in a highly populated area or near an industrial area, dust will be more of an issue than for those in the country areas.

Bird Droppings
Bird droppings affect solar panels' performance much more than dust. If you live in an area with many trees, bird droppings will be the biggest challenge to your solar panel’s efficiency. As a result, you’ll need to clean your panels often and thoroughly.

When to Clean Your Solar Panels
It’s clear that the question isn’t if you should clean your solar panels but when. Before they become dirty enough to affect their performance, it’s time to clean them.

How to Clean Your Solar Panels
Follow these steps when cleaning your solar panels:
  1. Turn off the solar panel system
    When cleaning, water may get into the bottom of the panel and cause damage or electrocution hazards. It’s safer therefore to turn off your system before cleaning to avoid any accidents.
  2. Brush loose dirt before washing
    Brushing off loose dirt before cleaning helps reduce the time you’ll spend cleaning the panels. Use a soft hand broom.
  3. Use a hose and soapy water
    Solar panels are delicate and should be treated as such when cleaning. Using an ordinary garden hose and soapy water (never a pressure hose) ensures you don’t use a lot of pressure and helps prevent scratching the panels.
  4. Scrub panels with a smooth brush or cloth
    Because solar panels are delicate, avoid using tough scrubbing materials that will scratch and damage your panels. For instance, never use steel wool or kitchen scourers. Use a soft brush or sponge and microfibre cloth instead.
  5. Prevent water streaks with a squeegee
    Squeegees help wipe off the panels after cleaning and get them completely dry.

If you want to clean your solar panels and are unsure of how to go about it, get in touch with a solar expert for advice.