Solar panels are a great way to make your home greener and more energy efficient. Installing solar panels will not only help reduce your carbon footprint and halt climate change, but it will also save you money on utility bills and add value to your home.
Requiring relatively low maintenance overall, it is nevertheless important to know how to take care of your solar panels so that they can continue doing their job effectively and looking great.
Below are the nine best practices on how to wash solar panels properly:
1. Infrequent and targeted cleaning
If you’re dealing with a residential solar energy system, and have generally flat tilted panels on your rooftop, you probably don’t have to worry about cleaning. You likely aren’t out there cleaning the roof every time is rains or storms, so the same logic can apply to your solar panels.
Nevertheless, there are definitely times when you’re going to need to do a little cleaning. Follow the advice below and you can be sure you’re doing so safely and extending the life of your solar panels.
2. Let rain do some of the work for you
If you’re researching on how to wash solar panels, you may be worried about general accumulation of dirt, dust, and pollen. Fortunately, as long as you live somewhere that gets somewhat regular rainfall, most common debris should be taken care of.
If you’re eager to get out there and scrub because you’re worried any dirt might have a negative effect on efficiency, keep in mind that although a buildup can prevent maximum sunlight from getting through, the impact is minimal.
A good rainfall from time to time will wash enough away that the overall efficiency of your solar panels shouldn’t be decreased by more than a few percent annually.
3. When is it time to clean?
There are indeed some instances when your solar panels are going to require a little bit of maintenance. Particularly if you get a lot of bird droppings on your panels, or they are situated beneath a tree that produces sap or sticky leaves, rain might not always do the trick. Likewise, if your area has only been experiencing very light rain or mist, cleaning your solar panels might be in order.
4. Follow any system alerts
Some solar panels come equipped with a monitoring system that will keep you on to date on how well your solar panels are working and whether or not they need attention. This system should also notify you of any maintenance requirements, be that mechanical, electrical, or cleanliness. You’d be well advised to heed these calls.
5. Use solar panel washing tools
If you want to wash solar panels properly, you shouldn’t use any type of high-pressure water sprayer. This could cause permanent damage. It is better to leave them with a bit of grime then overdo it with the cleaning. Instead, you should be using solar panel washers, which are engineered specifically for this type of cleaning. Using the right washing tools will protect the quality of your solar panels.
Apply the same principle with your soap selection. Don’t use anything that you wouldn’t feel comfortable washing your dishes with, strong chemicals also have the potential to react negatively with the panels.
6. A DIY approach to cleaning solar panels
If you’ve decided it is time to clean and want to do it yourself, you’ll be glad to know that you probably already have everything you will need on hand. In most cases, a hose, some gentle soap, and a sponge are the only three things you need for the job.
Before you get started though, check in with your solar installers and providers. Ask them if there is any specific information about solar panel cleaning and dos or don’ts that relate to your system.
7. Cleaning solar panels is like washing a car
If there aren’t any specific instructions, you can basically approach washing your solar panels as you would go about washing your car. Fill up a bucket with warm soapy water and get your hose ready. Keep in mind that you don’t want to scratch or damage the panels, so always use a non-abrasive sponge or a soft cloth.
8. Wash the solar panels safely
Be aware that solar panels can become extremely hot on a bright, sunny day. When you’re planning to wash your solar panels, wait for a cooler, overcast day. Always proceed with caution and check the panels carefully to make sure they aren’t too hot before you get started. Not only with this prevent you from incurring any burns, but the water will also evaporate more evenly on a cooler day and you’ll be left a streak-free finish.
9. Hire a solar panel washing professional
In the event that you don’t feel comfortable cleaning the panels yourself, you can always hire a professional to do the job for you. In fact, many solar companies will offer this type of service to you and it may even be included in a warranty package or annual service payment. Feel free to shop around for a good deal and keep in mind that due to the nature of the task, the price for cleaning shouldn’t be too steep.