Sunlight charges photovoltaic solar panels and energy production drops when localized soiling blocks a meeting. Cleaning your solar panels regularly helps ensure that optimum energy output is achieved. Several factors, including climate, location and installation, determine the frequency of cleaning. Regardless, it would be best to clean your PV modules when they are covered in dust, pollen, bird droppings, or general dirt.
Debris and Dirt
Whether it’s bird droppings, light pollen or noticeable grime, removing these elements before they affect your solar panels’ performance is important. The good news is you don’t need much to clean your solar panels – just water and soap. Before you begin, check with your solar panel manufacturer’s recommended cleaning instructions. It’s also best to clean your panels on a cooler day when it’s not too hot or windy. While some homeowners do the job themselves, you mustn’t use a pressure washer, which can cause scratches and damage to your solar panels. The best way to clean your panels is with a hose and a bucket of soapy water. Using a non-abrasive sponge or soft brush, gently scrub the surfaces. Lastly, be sure to rinse your panels thoroughly. If your panels are located near trees, you may need to do a more thorough cleaning solar panels in California to remove leaves and debris that have fallen from them during storms. Consider a telescopic hose wand to make this process easier and more efficient. Vinegar is another cleaning option for your solar panels – it can help break down hardened water spots and reduce the time it takes to dry. Many professional solar panel cleaners also use deionized water, which can effectively remove the grime from your panels without damaging them.
Bird droppings can significantly reduce a solar panel’s output. Their buildup can cover an entire panel and prevent sunlight from reaching its cells, leading to lower energy production. The good news is that regular cleaning can eliminate most bird droppings and their effects on the panels. You can clean solar panels using a standard garden hose, soap and water. A non-abrasive sponge is also important, as scratching the surface of a solar panel can significantly decrease its energy production. The best time to clean your panels is in the early morning – the dew provides an excellent softening of any grime on the panel. Avoid attempting to clean under the panels, as this can damage the connected wiring. It is also important to only wash the top layer of a solar panel, as this is the surface that produces the most energy. The frequency of cleaning your solar panels will depend on the position of your home and the surrounding environment. For example, dust and dirt will likely accumulate on your panels more often if you live in a built-up area. However, a quick rinse every six months should be sufficient in most situations. Large solar farms require constant cleaning as even a small drop in performance can lead to huge energy losses when multiplied across thousands of panels.
Dust can accumulate on your solar panels even in a region with low pollution levels. This can reduce energy generation and impact your electricity bill savings. Fortunately, a regular cleaning with a garden hose should remove most dust buildup on your solar panels. If there are stubborn spots, a small amount of mild soap may be needed to break through any dirt buildup. It is important to use only a bit of soap, however, as too much can damage the surface of your solar panel, leaving streaks. Many solar installers include regular cleaning as part of their performance guarantees or Operations & Maintenance (O&M) contracts. However, you must check your specific agreement to see what is included. While many solar panel owners choose to clean their PV systems themselves, finding a professional company that specializes in cleaning rooftop solar panels is possible. Cleaning your solar panels once or twice a year is recommended. Still, the frequency may vary depending on where you live and the level of environmental debris in your area.
The mess accumulating on solar panels often involves more than dust and dirt. It may include bird droppings and sticky plant substances. Fortunately, a good scrubbing can frequently clean up such messes. Just make sure to pick a brush, squeegee, or scrubber that won’t scratch the surface of your solar panel. Also, choose a mild soap that doesn’t contain any chemicals that could degrade your solar panel system. The best time to clean is during the coolest parts of the day. Excessive heat causes water and cleaning solutions to evaporate before you can wipe them away, leaving smears that reduce your panel’s efficiency. If you live near a highway, factory, or airport, cleaning your solar panels more frequently might be a good idea to avoid oily stains from heavy traffic and air pollution. When you’re ready to start cleaning, ensure your solar panel system is shut off. This will help prevent damage to your panels and ensure you don’t accidentally douse them in cold water, which can crack the glass. Also, be sure to use a harness or ladder to reach high solar panels, and always follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines for fall protection when working on elevated surfaces.