How To Clean Those Dusty Dirty Solar Panels
1. Be sure to check your panel manufacturer instructions for shutting down the system before cleaning, if necessary. Try not to go on the roof to clean your system. Its risky both for you and your panels.
2. Brushing any loose dirt off before spraying them with water will make the squeegeeing process quicker and easier.
3. A good nozzle attachment on your garden hose might work just fine. If a lot of dust and dirt has accumulated, you might need to clean more thoroughly. Try to clean with squeegee extension like this one. If youre interested in the whole kit and kaboodle for home solar cleaning equipment, Mr. LongArm is one of the most popular.
4. Dont use metal objects, abrasive products or detergents. Scratches on a solar panel can create shadows and affect efficiency. Simply use clean water and a cloth-covered sponge or soft plastic brush.
5. Rainwater is low in mineral content, but some people have hard water or mineral-rich water from the tap. If this is the case for you, just be sure to squeegee the panels dry to avoid mineral deposits and streaking.
Do Not Ever Walk Over The Modules
Solar panels are designed to withstand specific distributed snow and wind loads. If your concentrated weight is above the designed loads then you could cause micro-cracking, declining the performance of the module over time. Besides, the solar panels surface can be slippery, and if you are adding soap and water to the mix, the probabilities of falling are quite high. As long as you are careful, the chances of solar panels being dangerous are low.
Avoid Using Water With High Mineral Content
Module manufacturers recommend the use of distilled or de-ionized water to clean solar panels. Mineral-rich water may leave deposits of particles over time and its chemistry is not recommended for the glass of modules.
If you do not have access to de-ionized or distilled water, you can use a water-softening hose attachment to filter those minerals.
You May Like: How Much Does Solar Cost
The Best Way To Clean Solar Panels Is Through Professional Help
As of May 31, 2020, Australia now has more than 2.43 million solar power systems installed across rooftops. According to the Clean Energy Council, 2018 also saw a 45 per cent growth in commercial solar power systems.
Many homeowners opt to clean their own solar panels. If you choose this approach, remember that it is safer to do so on the ground, where possible. To help you, we recommend you read our cleaning solar panels guide for more tips.
But tidying up these systems isnt always as straightforward as it seems.
A new whitepaper by solar measurement company Kipp & Zonen explores the issue of dirty panels in terms of economic, geographic and technical factors.
For instance, dirt is worse in desert areas like the American Southwest, where the air is dry and dusty. Flat-tilt array designs also trap more dust.
Meanwhile, air pollution is also a culprit. Build-up happens on arrays close to local factories or composting facilities, the whitepaper informs.
So when is it worth enlisting expert help to sort these challenges out?
Adopting professional solar panel cleaning services may not be worth it for a bit of dust building up over time. However, its highly effective when the job becomes too much of a hazard to do yourself. When the going gets tough and suddenly theres a significant risk involved, we recommend using experts to ensure your system is tidied up to the best possible standards.
How Often Should I Clean My Solar Panels
In most places, there’s more pollution in the winter, which is why the spring is a good time to do an annual cleaning. Solar panels that are cleaned once and twice a year produce 3.5% and 5.1% more electricity respectively than those that are left uncleaned.
While cleaning once or twice a year is usually enough, in some places panels require extra attention. A prime example of this is the southwest region of the U.S., where rainfall is limited for several months at a time. There, the accumulation of dirt is far greater.
Another example is when solar panels are installed near sources of pollution such as freeways, factories and airports. Here, too, theyll need to be cleaned more often.
Other special cases to consider include autumn and winter, where the removal of leaves and snow is important for optimal performance.
Also take into account whether or not your panels are installed at an angle. Rainwater has an easier time cleaning solar panels that are tilted, so if your solar panels are mounted flat, you might need to clean them more often.
Finally, here’s the best piece of advice when it comes to frequency: Monitor changes in the power output of your solar panels before and after cleaning. Experiment with different time intervals. Take note and evaluate what works.
Also Check: What Can A 25 Watt Solar Panel Run
How Do You Clean Solar Panels
If you can safely reach your solar panels from the ground, then you can give them a clean yourself. According to Energy Matters, you need a good-quality soft brush and a squeegee with a plastic blade on one side, and a cloth-covered sponge on the other, with a long extension arm. Use a hose with a suitable nozzle that gets the water stream to the tops of your panels.
Why Do Solar Panels Need To Be Cleaned
Panels covered with too much dirt or debris may begin to produce less power.
In most cases, the loss of power isn’t significant maybe 1 to 4.7 percent. But one study found that long-term dirt buildup can reduce a solar panel’s electricity production by as much as 25 percent.
The good news is that seasonal rain and snowmelt usually wash off dirt or animal droppings that may have accumulated. But if your area receives very little precipitation and has dusty, windy weather, your panels may need to be cleaned occasionally. Some homeowners are confident washing the panels themselves, others choose to have them cleaned by a professional.
Also Check: What Is The Cost Of A Solar System
If Rain Wont Do The Trick Alone How Do You Determine If Cleaning Is Worthwhile
If youve had solar panels for a whilea year, maybe moreyouve most likely noticed how their energy production varies from month to month due to weather changes and the suns changing position overhead as the seasons progress. With a little bit of experience monitoring your solar array, youll learn how much fluctuation to expect over the course of a year. If you start noticing reduced output at a time when weather patterns seem on par with what youve come to expect, dirty panels could be the main factor. If or when that happens, consider these questions:
How Often Should You Clean Your Solar Panels
The ZEN Energy Fact Sheets recommend that solar panels be cleaned every six months, and the best times to clean are late spring and late autumn, but homes located in areas with construction and/or regional/farming areas should clean their panels more frequently. Alternativey, if you live in a relatively clan area that experiences regular rainfall, periods between cleaning could e longer, or even unnecessary. Have your panels inspected by a reputable solar specialist before getting your panels cleaned.
Recommended Reading: How To Connect Solar Panels To Battery
How To Clean Solar Panels: What Products Should You Use If Any
When cleaning your solar panels, the most important consideration to keep in mind is that scratching or damaging the glass in any way will reduce a panels energy production. Its best to approach panel cleaning the same way you might clean your car. Dish soap and warm water applied with a soft sponge or cloth is the safest and easiest cleaning method. It may also be helpful to use a squeegee to remove dirty water. Remember avoid damaging or scratching the glass at all costs!
On rare occasions, oily stains can appear on your panels. You might find these if you live near a common truck route or an airport, and they can be tackled with a little isopropyl alcohol and a rag. It is essential to avoid using strong cleaning fluids, however, as these can streak and damage the glass.
My Recommended Cleaning Products For Solar Panels
It is essential to clean the solar system using the correct cleaning equipment. Though the panels glass is strong, abrasive materials can scratch and damage the surface, thus reducing its performance or destroying the module.
Solar panels installed on the ground can be washed using a sponge or a very soft brush. For those located on the roof, a soft brush is advised, coupled with a long extension to reach the roof. This makes the work safe and easy, as its from the ground.
Read Also: Can You Skydive Solo Your First Jump
How To Clean Solar Panels Safely And Effectively
Green Coast is supported by its readers. We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you if you buy through a link on this page. Learn more.
Solar panels need cleaning once in a while, as a lot of dirt and debris tend to accumulate over their surface. With a view to keep your solar panels performing well, it is essential to clean them thoroughly. But the question is, How to clean solar panels effectively and safely?
Here, we will not only discuss the best ways to clean solar panels but also guide you regarding some other important aspects.
Use Water With A Similar Temperature
Solar panel manufacturers do not recommend the use of cold or hot water to clean the panels. The reason behind this is that sudden and drastic differences in temperature could crack the surface of the glass.
It is best to clean your solar panels using ambient temperature water during early mornings , when the modules temperatures will be low after cooling down overnight and when the solar generation has not started.
Don’t Miss: How To Remove Pool Solar Panels From Roof
When And How Should I Clean My Solar Panels
A solar panel system is a significant investment, so you will want to make sure that it lasts you a long time by caring for it – this may include having to give your panels a bit of a clean every once in awhile.
Do solar panels actually need to be cleaned?
As solar panels are tilted, most dirt will fall off or be washed away as soon as it rains. However, if you live in a dry area or there is a lot of ambient dust or sand, particles can accumulate in quantities sufficient to cause a serious decline in output of more than 20 percent. Bird droppings will do that too!
So if you notice a difference in production, cleaning your panels may be needed.
General rules to clean your panels
First things first, you should shut down the system. Be sure to switch off both AC and DC isolators, as liquid and electricity are not friends.
If possible, it is preferable to clean your panels from the ground, although it can be tricky to find cleaning tools long enough to reach your installation. You will need a seriously long extension on which you can mount a soft brush with a squeegee equipped with a plastic blade on one side, and a cloth-covered sponge on the other side. Likewise, you will need good water pressure and a suitable nozzle to be able to rinse the panels.
Early morning is a particularly good time as dew will have been on the panels for a few hours and will have already softened the grime – meaning it will be easier to remove.
How To Clean Solar Panels On Your Roof
What is the best way to clean solar panels? For the DIY-minded you should find the materials at home. Because you dont want to scratch your system in any way, its best to use just water and a non-abrasive sponge to apply soapy water.
Use a mild detergent, if you feel like you need some extra help.
And if youre asking yourself if you can use a pressure washer to clean your solar panels, we encourage you to only use a normal hose. Using anything with high pressure may cause damage. Use a sponge if the birds have made a mess and nothing stronger than the detergent you would use with your dishes. You dont want any strong chemicals marking the panels.
Don’t Miss: How Much To Install Solar Panels On A House
Cleaning Solar Panels: Is It Even Necessary
CAUTION: READ MANUFACTURER INSTALLATION, SAFETY, AND MAINTENANCE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE CLEANING OR MAINTAINING YOUR SOLAR PANELS. PARTICIPATING IN SUCH ACTIVITIES INVOLVES THE EVER-PRESENT RISK OF PERSONAL INJURY, PROPERTY DAMAGE, AND LOSS. THE USE OF HARSH, INDUSTRIAL-STRENGTH CLEANING MATERIAL OR SHARP INSTRUMENTS TO CLEAN OR MAINTAIN YOUR SOLAR PANELS MAY VOID PRODUCT GUARANTEES OR WARRANTIES.
Cleaning Your Solar Panels Is Easy
Sunnova solar panels are durable and built to withstand the elements. Even so, solar panels may accumulate dust and debris over time, potentially reducing the amount of solar energy output from your system. That means, youll occasionally want to rinse off your panels to keep that all-important sunlight pouring in. Typically, rainfall will serve as a consistent and effective method of washing the panels. However, in more arid climates where rainfall is minimal and dust storms are often, it may be necessary to periodically rinse your solar panels.
We put together a few recommendations to clean your panels with plain old water! You can do this safely from the ground without getting on your roof.1
- Spray your panels with a garden hose, safely from the ground do not get on your roof.
- Do not use harsh cleaning chemicals that could damage the panels.
- You should not clean your solar panels during the hottest part of the day because the extreme temperature difference between the water and the solar panels may cause the glass to crack.
We want your solar system operating to its maximum potential, on a continual basis, year after year. With a little maintenance on your part along with your Sunnova protection plan, we can work together to ensure your home solar system generates to its maximum potential.
Read Also: What Forms Do I Need For Solar Tax Credit
Ways To Check Solar Panels
There are several ways to check and see if your solar panels need to be cleaned:
Physical inspection. Your solar panels should be inspected regularly, especially in areas where the weather conditions are unfavourable, or there are significant levels of dust. The connections should also be checked at this time, so that you can keep yourself updated as to their condition.
Use a monitoring service. A physical inspection is done regularly, but its good to back yourself up with a monitoring system. These are constantly monitoring the status and condition of the solar panels. You can either pay an upfront cost or a monthly fee, and then the performance levels of your system can be watched constantly. This helps to prevent damage and could even increase the lifespan of your panels.
A solar array produces a certain amount of electricity each month. With the aid of a monitoring system, you can receive information with regards to whether the system if offline or not performing at optimal levels. In addition to this, solar monitoring system can also show you how much power is being saved, as well as the level of CO2 that have been prevented from entering the atmosphere. It can also show you how much money you are saving.
Why Do You Need To Clean Solar Panels
If you have a residential solar energy system installed, your solar panels are generally flat, tilted, and on your rooftop. How often do you clean your roof? Probably not very often, most likely never. Whys that? I hear you saying Isnt that what rain is for? Thats kind of the same logic for solar panels too.
In most cases, you wont need to clean your solar panels often, if at all. After all, anything that accumulates dirt on them , will get washed off the next time it rains. There are some times it might make sense to clean your solar panels though. If youve got a lot of bird droppings on your panels, rain might not wash these off very readily, so its a good idea to clean them off. Also, if you live in a state thats prone to droughts or, if it rains, its only a very light, misty rain, you might need to clean them every now and then.
Recommended Reading: Can You Install Solar On Townhouse