Do solar panels need cleaning? Yes, it is mandatory to keep your solar panels clean. However, it doesn’t mean you need to clean them every single day. Cleaning and monitoring solar panels from time to time will improve their life, efficiency, and performance.
How To Keep Your Solar Panels Clean?
Solar panels are prone to accumulate dust, grime, leaves and bird droppings that reduce the overall output of a solar power system. Bird droppings are serious culprits. Together, they can reduce your solar energy system performance up to 20 to 25%. Depending upon your location, you need to check them frequently to keep them clean. For instance, your solar panels may accumulate more dust quickly if you are located near the roadside or if your solar panels lay flat on the roof.
Many homeowners think that rainwater does the cleaning work, so solar panels essentially do not need manual cleaning.
It is not true because even though rainwater can wash off the dust to some extent, you still need to clean your solar panels. Consider your car windshield. You clean it more often when it rains— and the same applies to solar panels. You need to clean them to keep them in great shape for optimum performance.
So how do you keep your solar panels clean? Let’s take a look.
1. Inspect and Prepare the Solar Panels
Start by inspecting your solar panels if they are just covered by a film of dust or have bird droppings. In either case, you can’t use harsh soaps or abrasive sponges as they can scratch, leave a mark on the solar panels, and attract more dust.
The best way to wash your solar panel system is to use a hose or a bucket of soapy water. You can also use a soft sponge to clean bird droppings if necessary. Avoid using a pressure cleaner.
2. Turn Off the Solar Power System
Shut down your entire solar energy system, including the solar inverters and batteries, to avoid any potential electrical damage to the panel installation while cleaning with water. Also, ensure that you disconnect your rainwater tank to prevent the dirty water from cleaning the solar panels flowing inside.
3. Make Safety Your Priority
If you decide to clean your solar panels by yourself, you must ensure your safety first. The best way to ensure your safety is to clean the panels from the ground with any long-handled cleaning equipment. Similarly, you can use a suitable nozzle for the hose to let the water reach the panels. If this seems impossible and you need to get on the roof, make sure you wear a hard hat along with a safety harness to ensure your safety.
4. Choose the Right Time
For efficient cleaning results and to avoid damaging the solar panels, you must avoid cleaning your solar panels in the noontime. It’s because your solar panel installations are probably hot by noon, especially in the summer, and sudden exposure to water can bring cracks in the solar panels. In addition, soapy water can leave stains or marks due to heat.
The best time to clean your solar panels is in the early morning or evening. You can also clean them anytime during a cloudy day.
5. Begin Washing
After taking care of all the above steps, start washing your solar panels by directing water towards the top of your solar panels to avoid damages. Also, make sure you use only a soft sponge to scrub gently to remove bird droppings and grime. To avoid stains, wipe off the excess water from the solar panels with a rubber squeegee after cleaning.
Need more professional guidance for cleaning your rooftop solar panel installation? Reach out to us now.