Cleaning solar panels restore their efficiency and reduce your energy costs. The process of cleaning is similar to the cleaning of a window and can be done by anyone who is not scared of heights. Here’s everything you need to know in Pas Solar’s step-by-step guide to DIY solar panel cleaning.
The process of cleaning solar panels takes only about 1 or 2 hours of your time, depending on the number of solar panels you have installed. If you’re asking yourself, “Do I need any skills to clean my solar panels?” the answer is no. Anyone can clean their solar panels at home if they have the time and the right tools. Cleaning solar panels cost at most 100 dollars, and that cost goes to buying the tools needed for the DIY cleaning of PV panels.
What information do you need to know about cleaning solar panels?
There are many conflicting opinions about whether or not it is necessary to clean solar panels and how best to clean solar panels. Some experts argue that rain keeps solar panels clean enough, or that dust buildup has an insignificant impact on efficiency.
However, recent studies show that dust buildup on solar panels can reduce their efficiency by 5-20%. Specifically, each area has different weather conditions and different amounts of dust. For example, some areas have little rainfall and little pollution. Areas with little rainfall can collect more dust, and you should be cleaning solar panels on the roof more frequently. On the other hand, people in areas with high rainfall and little pollution may not need to have their panels cleaned at all.
Even the slope of your roof can affect how dirty your solar panels are and how often you need to be cleaning solar panels. For example, a low-slope roof will have more dirty panels than a steep roof.
Instead of trying to figure out how much efficiency you’re losing in your region, just clean the solar panels when they look dirty. It doesn’t take much time, and regular cleaning ensures maximum efficiency.
1. Shut down the Solar System
Even though your system is waterproof, there could be frayed dc cable for solar panels or other electrical damage. Shutting down the system will protect you and your system while you’re cleaning solar panels.
2. Rinse the roof
Rinse the roof under running water to remove loose dirt and debris.
3. Spray panels with cleaning solution
Spray the panels with your cleaning solution and let them sit to break down any stubborn dirt or grime.
Bonus Tip: Work in small sections, so your solution doesn’t dry on the panels.
4. Scrub the panels with your brush
Remember to be careful and avoid scratching the surface, because you may need to pay the solar panel cost and buy new ones.
6. Rinse the panels with running water
The residue can leave a film that blocks sunlight and attracts dirt.
7. Dry the panels
Use the squeegee to dry the panels.
8. rinse and repeat
Evaluate the panels and repeat steps three through six if necessary.
Steps to cleaning your solar panels
- Prepare your tools and solutions
- Prepare your cleaning solution based on the instructions.
- Hook your water sprayer to the hose
- Mount your ladder
- Gather your tools
Bonus Tips for Cleaning Solar Panels
- Never spray cold water on hot panels. The temperature shock can break the photovoltaic panels. Instead, clean the panels early in the morning, at night, or on a cool, cloudy day.
- Do not use caustic or abrasive chemicals. Be sure to read the instructions to see if there are any warnings about cleaning solutions. When in doubt, stick with clean water and plain dish soap.
- If your roof lacks gutters, use a cleaner that’s safe for plants.
- Do not use a pressure washer. High-pressure streams can damage the surface and destroy your solar photovoltaic system.
The CDC estimates that 500,000 people are injured on stairs each year, and approximately 300 of them are fatal. Choose the proper type of ladder for the job and use it safely and correctly.
Also, consider wearing non-slip shoes or boots. The ladder, the roof, and your shoes will get wet. Standing on a wet ladder or roof is a safety risk.
When our subscribers ask us “can I clean my solar panels myself?” and we explain the process of cleaning solar panels to them, the biggest obstacle in their way is that they lack the tools needed for this job.
Ladder: Do not use an A-frame ladder to climb onto the roof or work from the roofline. Use an extension for this job.
Garden hose: Collapsible water hoses are easier and safer to use with ladders, but any water hose will do.
Water hose spray bottle: These spray bottles connect to a water hose. They dilute a concentrated solution with hosepipe water, so you can easily spray your cleaning solution.
Extension Pole – If your roof is not safe to walk on, you will need a long extension pole to work from the ladder.
Soft Brush: Hard brushes can damage the surface of your solar panel. You can also use a soft sponge or soft cloth if you are cleaning from the ceiling.
Squeegee – Make sure both it and the brush are attached to your extension pole.
Cleaning Solution: You can use soapy water with mild soap; a vinegar mixture of one part vinegar to eight parts water; or a commercial window cleaner. Don’t forget to wear gloves when you’re applying the solution.
When should you clean solar panels?
There are no agreed times for cleaning the solar panels. As noted above, solar panels will get dirty at different rates in different regions. You should at least clean them once every year. Instead of planning a time for cleaning the panels, regularly check your solar PV modules for dirt, leaves, grime, and bird droppings.
Any time you have dirty solar panels is when you need to clean them, but knowing how to keep your solar panels clean, is even more important than cleaning your solar panels regularly.
When to call a professional
Professional solar panel cleaning services are also available at our solar equipment shop. If your solar system is installed on a very sloped roof, it might be a good idea to call in a professional from Pas Solar. Also, if you notice that your panels are still dirty despite your best efforts, you may need to call in our professional cleaners.