When a solar panel accumulates dirt and grime, it can stop it from absorbing the maximum amount of sunlight. And since sunlight converts to electricity, learning how to clean solar panels can ensure maximum efficiency.
If you reside in an area that receives a heavy amount of rainfall, it may be enough to keep your solar panels clean. But if you notice visible dirt build-up or live in a dusty area, you might need to take matters into your own hands.
Supplies You Need to Clean Solar Panels
Cleaning solar panels doesn’t require any special cleaner. Instead, gather up the following supplies:
- Non-abrasive sponge or cloth
How to Clean Solar Panels DIY: Step by Step
If your solar panels are on your roof, gather the necessary safety gear and choose a day with mild, non-windy weather.
Step 1: Brush Away Debris
Use a soft-bristled brush to scrape off loose dirt, bird poop, and leaves. If you wet the solar panels with this type of build-up on them, it will smear.
Step 2: Wipe with Water and a Non Abrasive Cloth or Sponge
Dip your sponge or cloth in water and wipe the solar panels from top to bottom. You may benefit from a sponge on an extendable or telescopic handle if your solar panels are large.
There is no need to use soap or chemicals to clean solar panels. Water is the best solution.
Step 3: Squeegee off the Excess Water
After washing the panels, go over them with a squeegee to remove excess water. If you don’t have a squeegee, dry the panels with a soft microfiber or chamois cloth.
When to Clean Solar Panels
When installed, solar panels are tilted, allowing rainwater to flow off of them. In many cases, the rain keeps the panels clean enough on their own. But, if you live in a dry climate, are experiencing a drought, or are next to a construction site, you should clean your solar panels as needed.
As a general rule of thumb, clean your solar panels every six months or when they accumulate noticeable build-up.
How to Clean Solar Panels Automatically
Automatic solar panel cleaners look like small sprinklers placed near each solar panel. They use filtered water to spray off the panels on a schedule or as needed. Automatic solar panel cleaners might be worth the investment if you live in a windy, drought-prone area.
What Not to Clean Solar Panels With
Never clean solar panels with a pressure washer. The pressure is too intense and may damage the panel. Also, avoid harsh chemicals. If you want something other than water, try a small amount of mild dish soap. You can also use diluted white distilled vinegar, but consult your user’s manual first. Using the wrong types of cleaners can void your warranty.