Cleaning solar panels can be risky and time-consuming work. Especially when a rooftop is high off the ground, it is important to do this properly to ensure safety and optimal efficiency.
If possible, wash your panels during the coolest part of the day. Otherwise, the extreme temperature changes between hot and cold water can crack the glass covering. See our home page.
Use a Low Pressure System
While it may be tempting to break out the pressure washer, using too much water force on solar panels can scratch and damage them. This can reduce their energy production, even after the panels are cleaned.
Instead, a soft-bristled brush and a non-abrasive sponge are often the best tools for cleaning solar panels. Those who are concerned about safety should consider hiring a professional cleaner to avoid falls and other accidents when working on rooftop installations.
Solar panel owners should also prepare their work area by clearing away debris before they start cleaning. This is especially important if homeowners plan to use ladders or other equipment that could fall or interfere with the panels. It is also essential to check that the panel’s fuses are off to ensure safety. Lastly, homeowners should make sure that they have pure water for cleaning, such as deionized or reverse osmosis. This will help to prevent corrosive chemicals from damaging the panels or their protective coatings.
Clean in Small Sections
When you clean your solar panels yourself, it’s important to work in small sections so as not to damage the surface. You should also choose an evening, a cloudy day or any other time when the sun isn’t out in full force to avoid getting burned by hot solar panels or by soapy water that evaporates too quickly.
Scrub the panels with a soft scrub brush attached to a telescoping window washing pole, using a soap-and-water solution. A hose spray nozzle attached to the water washing pole should be used to rinse the panels after you wash them.
Using a water hose with too much pressure can create fine cracks on the surface of your solar panel array, ruining its efficiency and inviting future problems. It may also void any warranties you have on your solar system. If you’re concerned about damaging your solar panels, consider hiring a professional. They’ll be able to use a low-pressure system that won’t harm your solar panels and will leave them looking like new.
Use the Right Materials
If you’re planning to clean your solar panels yourself, it’s important to use the right materials. A bucket with water and a non-abrasive sponge or brush will allow you to remove dust, dirt, and debris without scratching your solar panel glass. Abrasive tools should also be avoided, as they may damage your solar panels and cause energy production to drop.
Most manufacturers recommend plain water as the primary cleaning solution for solar panels, especially if it’s deionized or distilled. However, it’s possible to add a little ethanol or glass cleaner to your bucket of water if you have particularly stubborn dirt build-up. Oily stains can be removed with isopropyl alcohol, while pine sap and bird droppings should be wiped off using a cloth soaked in hot water.
A ladder that expands to a comfortable working height is essential for those with solar panels installed on roofs, as is a pair of safety gloves and a hard hat. If you don’t want to take the risk of climbing on your roof, you can hire a professional to do the job safely for you.
Don’t Clean Too Often
Cleaning too often can damage the glass or reduce energy output. Scrubbing may also remove the non-reflective coating that is necessary to maximize energy production. A professional cleaner will know the best time to clean your solar panels. It is important to avoid cleaning them during mid-day when the sun’s heat will cause the dirt and debris to melt or harden and stick to the solar panel surface.
Depending on the climate and where you live, your solar panels will likely need to be cleaned only occasionally. In some cases, a quick hose rinse is enough to keep them at maximum performance.
On rare occasions, you might need to use a mild soap and water solution to remove oily spots on your solar panels. These stains usually come from living downwind from a highway or airport and can be tackled with the same rag and isopropyl alcohol you would use on glass windows or car windshields. Browse the next article.