How to Clean Solar Panels? Did you know that solar panels have an average lifespan of 25 to 30 years in the United States?
Depending on how well-maintained the panels are and the amount of damage, you can make these last.
If you want to make the most of your solar power investment, you should understand the importance of cleaning the panels.
Keep reading to discover some of the best tips on how to clean solar panels so that they last!
Take a Peak at the Panels
One of the first things to do when you think you need to clean solar panels takes a look at them.
Getting up close to the panels will give you a better idea of the dirt you may or may not have to clean. Most professionals recommend cleaning solar panels twice a year. If you can get them done more frequently, it can help improve efficiency.
At this point, you can look from a slight distance, since the system isn’t turned off, don’t get too close. Always use caution when you look at the panels, especially if they are located on the rooftop.
Bring a partner with you to look at the panels so that there is another person in case of an emergency. Sometimes, people get up to the panels only to discover that they are clean. In these cases, check back in another month or two.
Most people don’t realize it, but when solar panels become dirty, they decrease efficiency by 25% and don’t work as well.
Choose the Best Time For How to Clean Solar Panels?
Cleaning solar panels will take more than a few minutes, which is why you need to consider the conditions you will work in.
The best times to clean solar panels are late morning and afternoon. Overcast days that are dry are also excellent since you won’t get too warm from the sun.
You should avoid cleaning the panels when the sun is directly shining on the panels. The sun rays evaporate the water and soap while cleaning before you can wipe them off, leaving a residue. Once the residue is on the panels, it can decrease their efficiency, much as it does with dirt and debris.
Rain, snow, and wind can create dangerous conditions while cleaning, hold out for a better day if you have to. Always wear protective equipment and durable clothing. Pay attention to the conditions outside at all moments while you are working on the panels.
Gather Your Supplies (How to Clean Solar Panels)
When it comes to cleaning solar cells, you need to get the right supplies.
The most important supplies you will need are a clean bucket of water, a sponge, and a soft brush. Mild soap, such as dish soap, mixed with warm water will help break the dirt and grime free. You will also want to get the hose ready and turned on, a custom sprayer with increased pressure is recommended.
Abrasive powders and sponges should be avoided since they can scratch the panels. When the panels get scratched, they are more vulnerable and won’t produce energy as efficiently.
If you don’t have the time or resources to clean your panels, Blue Raven Solar can help. Solar companies like this are experienced and can quickly get the job done if you don’t have the time.
When you are gathering supplies, keep in mind that it’s always better to go with quality over quantity. Don’t forget to grab a ladder, hard hat, and harness if necessary!
Turn off the Solar Power System
Before starting to clean, you much ensure that the panel system is shut off.
Forgetting to shut off the solar power system could result in exposure to potentially lethal voltage. Most solar systems get shut off by going to the switchboard and opening it. On the board, there should be the main supply switch for solar power.
Flick the switch in the off position and then proceed to your inverter. There is typically a switch marked PV Array, DC Isolator, or Inverter Isolator. Flip this switch in the off position as well.
Deactivating solar power shouldn’t take long but is a necessary step. Most people recommend testing the panels to ensure that no voltage is going through them.
Look for Damaged Areas (How to Clean Solar Panels)
Now that everything is off, you should look for obvious areas of damage.
Depending on how dirty the panels are, you might have to check again after they are sparkling. Knowing where the damaged areas are is essential so that you don’t make them worse or get water inside of the technology.
Luckily, it takes quite a bit to damage these panels but if you aren’t sure about your condition of yours, there are some signs to watch out for. When your solar power isn’t producing as much output this is a common sign. Burn marks, broken glass, and degradation also play a role in panel damage.
It is helpful to also look for damage on your panels after heavy storms or snowy winter. Weather conditions are often to blame for these damaged spots.
Contact the Professionals
If you found damaged spots on your solar panels, now is the time to get the professionals over.
Solar panel companies can fix these issues so that your energy is still efficient. Even minor issues can turn into expensive repairs if you try to wait another season before getting the panels looked at.
Contact your local solar panel company to see if they can provide you with a quote. If you are looking at expensive repairs, you might want to contact a financial advisor. There are many county and state incentives for going green.
With the solar panels still turned off, you can begin scrubbing the panels with warm water, soap, and a sponge.
If the dish or cleaning soap you are using isn’t effective, try adding vinegar to the solution. It is best to stay away from heavy-duty cleaners that get bought from the store. The powerful ingredients can damage the panels and make them brittle.
In difficult spots, you can use a small scrubbing brush. You don’t have to scrub the underside of the panels and you should avoid touching the spot. Wear gloves for protection while scrubbing, especially while dealing with electricity.
During this stage, you should also remove any dust, dirt, or grime from the panels.
Rinse With the Hose
The hose will be one of the most useful tools for cleaning solar panels.
After you scrub the panels, turn the hose on and gently rinse them. Water helps reduce dust and dry debris that build up in the cracks of the panels. Avoid using high-pressure nozzles while rinsing the panels since they create too much pressure and lead to cracks in the surface.
Nothing needs to soak in the water, so don’t go overboard with the hose. Spray only what is necessary but ensure that there isn’t any soap left. Soap residue will make the panels get dirtier faster.
Let Them Dry & Restart
It shouldn’t take long for your solar panels to dry off in the sun after you rinse them down.
Once you are satisfied with the cleaning, you can head back to the circuit breaker and turn things back on. For the switches that you put in the off position, place them back on and check the panel system to ensure that it properly starts.
If you notice any issues, contact your solar panel company so that repairs can be done. Pay attention to your energy output and the environmental factors affecting your panels.
Anytime that you notice your energy bills increasing, check your analytics from solar power. Prices vary throughout the year but you shouldn’t have to spend more than necessary.
Make Adjustments For How to Clean Solar Panels?
When you are planning to clean your solar power system, you should consider any adjustments that you want to make.
If you have concerns about your panels not getting enough access to sunlight, try placing them in the yard or in a higher position. Trees, houses, and other objects can impact your solar panel’s ability to properly function.
Ask solar power contractors if they have any recommendations as well. With their experience, you can turn spring cleaning into cheaper bills and efficient energy!
Do You Have Clean Solar Panels?
If you want your solar panels to last, you must be willing to put in the time to maintain them.
By learning how to clean solar panels, you can get your money’s worth and feel good about using clean energy. Solar power is a wonderful alternative to non-renewable resources, which are becoming more costly.
Don’t be afraid to switch to solar, many counties and states even offer grants to help pay for the installation.
Be sure to check out our blog for more articles about solar energy and other home improvement projects!