The major appliances in your home need on-going care and upkeep to ensure they are operating to the best of their ability, and solar panels are no different. Any debris— including dust, dirt, pollen, and even bird droppings— can decrease the efficiency of your solar panels. Depending on your environment and weather, 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, you will want to consistently clean your solar panels for optimal use.
How To Clean Solar Panels
Cleaning your solar panels does not require many tools or complex instructions. 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 to avoid leaving any residue. Be sure to not scrape the offending matter off your solar panels. This can cause dozens of little scratches on your solar panels and that will decreases how well they are able to work.
If you’re able to reach your solar panels yourself, the final step is to wipe the water off using a squeegee. 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 nonabrasive. 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. 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 photovoltaic 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. 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.
You can also research any solar panel cleaning services in your area. Be sure to vet their quality of work, and ask to speak with their references.
A Note About Washing Solar Panels in the 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. It is preferable to wash your solar panels in the morning, before the sun heats your solar panels too much.
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.