Did you know that the performance of your solar panels will be compromised when they’re dirty? Fortunately, a solar panel is relatively easy to clean and maintain in pristine condition.
Solar panels for at-home use are relatively small, which simplifies the cleaning process. As a result, you can follow a couple of basic steps that don’t necessitate lots of equipment or expensive supplies to be completed.
How to Clean Solar Panels: A Step-by-step Guide
Solar panels can be cleaned by hand. Engage in maintenance regularly. Thorough washing will be enough to get rid of dirt, dust, animal remains and anything else that could have accumulated on the surface.
Here are the main steps to follow when cleaning your solar panels:
- Always check manufacturer instructions and care recommendations before attempting to clean your solar panels
- Gather the right tools and supplies – avoid metal objects and other kinds of abrasives because these can damage the solar panel’s integrity. A water hose, clean microfiber cloths and a sponge should be enough to get rid of grime. It’s best to avoid detergent (if feasible) because it can leave streaks on the protective glass of the panel
- To avoid excessive solar panel heating, do the cleaning in the morning or the afternoon
- Go up to the panel and wet it thoroughly with the garden hose
- Use a sponge to scrub and remove impurities gently
- When done, wipe clean with the microfiber cloth
- If impurities remain after using water and a sponge, you can apply a bit of non-abrasive detergent. In the event of using such a product, however, make sure that it’s been thoroughly washed away before drying the panel
You need to be extra careful if your solar panels are installed on the roof. Make sure that your ladder is properly secured. Also, be mindful of the fact that things can get slippery when wet. If you’re afraid of heights or worried about injuring yourself, do consider professional assistance for solar panel cleaning.
Important Questions about Solar Panel Cleaning
Now that you know how solar panel cleaning needs to be handled, let’s check out a few common questions about the procedure and its importance.
Do You Lose Money by Not Cleaning Solar Panels?
When dust and dirt settle on a solar panel’s surface, they decrease the amount of sunlight that the photovoltaic cell will receive. Eventually, dirtiness will reduce the efficiency of the system.
Research suggests that very dirty solar panels can lose as much as 30 percent of their efficiency. This is money out of your pocket that you’re losing because of negligence.
What’s the Best Solar Panel Cleaning Frequency?
The number of times you clean solar panels per a set period depends on many factors. The climate and environmental conditions play the most significant role.
Usually, fall and winter are two seasons characterized by a lot more pollution. There’s also more stuff that can accumulate on the panels – dust, leaves and even bird poop. This is when you’ll need to up the efforts to maintain the photovoltaic system in an optimal condition.
The efficiency loss quoted above has been observed after a year of no cleaning whatsoever.
It’s best to give your solar panels a good wash once per month. If you cannot manage such a schedule, try to remove dirt and dust every few months. By doing so, you’ll keep your solar panels delivering their optimal performance regardless of the weather.
How Much Does It Cost to Clean Solar Panels?
The answer to that question depends on the cleaning method chosen.
If you opt for DIY cleaning, you’ll need to cover the water’s cost and the other essential supplies.
Professional solar panel cleaning is a bit costlier than that. The price will vary depending on the reputation of the company, the number of panels that have to be cleaned and the complexity of the job (determined by the angle and the placement of the panels).
According to 2021 statistics, most solar panel installation and maintenance companies in the US charge anywhere between $3 and $10 per panel. Depending on the job, a fixed fee in the range of $150 to $350 could also be applied.
Do get a couple of quotes from professional maintenance companies before choosing a contractor for the job. The quote should be detailed enough to let you know the entire sum you’ll be spending and the range of services you’ll receive. Ensure there are no hidden fees that will make solar panel cleaning more expensive than what you initially agreed to.
While solar panels are considered low maintenance power production equipment, there are still essential steps to complete when using such.
The biggest and most obvious reason for regular cleaning is an improvement in overall efficiency. Proper maintenance will also allow you to benefit from a solar panel warranty in the event of an issue and reduce permanent staining risk.
Rainwater isn’t enough to get the job done. Just look at your car’s windshield after a rain – it doesn’t look immaculate. There will be some streaking and impurities left on the surface. As minor as these may seem, they’ll still affect the performance of a solar installation.
Once you get in the habit of cleaning panels regularly, you’ll find the task relatively easy. Being meticulous will save you money and yield an optimal return on investment – two goals worth pursuing.