You know you need to change your air filters to keep your central HVAC system running efficiently, so it won’t come as a surprise when we tell you that keeping your solar panels clean will help them generate that solar power for your home. While it may seem daunting, keeping your solar panels clean is as easy as cleaning your windows— since soap is rarely needed.
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How Do I Clean Solar Panels?
Any debris— from a little dust to bird droppings— can dramatically decrease the efficiency of your solar panels. Depending on your environment, you may need to clean your solar panels more often than others. If you live in a dusty region, or during months where pollen may be especially prolific, take the time to rinse off your solar panels to get the most from them.
Cleaning solar panels does not require many steps or tools. It can be as simple as dusting them with a soft, non-abrasive cloth and then rinsing your solar panels well with a garden hose. If some areas are particularly dirty, use mild soap and the non-abrasive cloth to wash the area clean.
Take extra care in rinsing the soap off of your solar panels so you avoid leaving a residue, which can interfere with the solar panels efficiency. Don’t use anything to scrape the offending matter off the solar panels, because this can cause dozens of little scratches on your solar panels and that only decreases how well they are able to work.
The final step, if you’re able to reach your solar panels yourself, is to wipe the water off using a squeegee— yes, like what you use to wash your car windows. If you don’t have a squeegee, use another non-abrasive cloth to dry your panels so they’re streak free and sparkling.
What Do I use to Clean Solar Panels?
It’s important that any item you use to clean your solar panels is non abrasive. If you use a duster to wipe the dust off first, take care not to let the handle or any rough parts scratch the panels. Any scratches can lower the efficiency of your solar panels.
A chamois (or shammy) that you would use for your car is an excellent option for wiping down your solar panels. They come in multiple sizes are are non-abrasive. If you don’t have a duster, use the chamois to wipe off the initial dust and then soak the chamois in water for a more thorough clean.
A third item that is useful for cleaning solar panels is a squeegee. Using a squeegee to wipe the water off of your solar panels ensures your solar panels are streak-free. Why is this important? Because streaks on the top level of solar panel interfere with the sun reaching the photo-voltaic cells. Taking steps to avoid that ensure your cleaning job lasts longer and your solar panels operate at their maximum potential.
Professional Solar Panel Cleaners
If your panels are too high or are hard to reach, leave it to professionals to clean them. Research any solar panel cleaning services in your area. If you’re unsure about their quality of work, ask to speak with their references.
Your solar installation company may clean your solar panels free of charge for the initial cleaning. Ask your solar company what is included in the warranty, or if they can recommend a solar power cleaning company.
How to Wash Solar Panels During Summer?
If you clean your solar panels during the summer, take care to use lukewarm water instead of cold water. Washing your solar panels with cold water when they are hot can cause the solar panels to crack. You can wash your solar panels in the morning, before the sun heats your solar panels too much, can decrease this risk.
Washing either early in the morning, or during the early evening hours, also decreases the risk of the water evaporating before you’re able to squeegee the water off, resulting not only in streaks and water spots, but in you having to wash the solar panels again.