How to Clean Solar Panels: 8 Maintenance Truths
You may be asking yourself “How do I clean my solar panels?” or “Do I need to clean my solar panels?”, so take to these 8 tips before you shell out money for expensive products or a services.
#1: Most solar panel arrays are self-cleaning. Solar panel cleaning is not necessary unless you can visibly see built-up dirt on your solar panels that has outlasted multiple rainstorms. More often than not, there is no need to worry about cleaning solar panels.
#2: Things like dirt, grime and bird poop do not need to cover an entire panel to have an effect. Any amount of obstruction to sun exposure can influence your system’s energy production. Keep an eye out for fallen branches, leaves and accumulated dust.
#3: Safety first. Avoid getting on the roof at all costs. 0.05% of energy production is not worth putting your own life at risk. Clean your panels from the ground whenever possible.
#4: Spray away! Use your garden hose with a suitable nozzle to reach your panels and give them a good spray clean.
#5: Avoid using metal objects or harsh abrasive products for cleaning – scratches on the glass of a solar panel can affect its performance by casting shadows. Avoid using cleaning detergents/solutions if possible as these may streak the glass of the panel.
#6: Rely on rainwater as much as possible for cleaning. If your mains-supplied water is hard (mineral-rich) it can leave deposits on your panels as it dries. Yet another reason to just let nature do its job.
#7: Oil stains may occur in some geographies, for example if you live near an airport and are under a flight path or if your home sits near a major roadway frequented by large diesel vehicles. If you notice oil stains or residue on your panels, isopropyl alcohol can be used as a spot-cleaning solution.
#8: Do not pay for a cleaning service. Some solar contractors will charge a substantial fee for solar panel cleaning services. This is not worth the money. As pointed out, in most residential installation scenarios, solar panel cleaning just isn’t worth the bother – or the potential danger of accessing your rooftop.