How to Keep Your Solar Panels Clean and Why is it Essential

We get this question a lot. And, fortunately, the short answer is not at this time. Even though the majority of the work is done for you by nature, giving your system a quick cleaning once or twice a year could help it operate closer to its full potential.

The following is some advice that can help you determine when and if you should clean your solar panels, how to clean your panels, and when it’s time to call in some outside help from a professional.

Do solar panels need cleaning? 

Panels that are covered with an excessive amount of dirt or debris might start producing less power.

Majority of the time, the reduction in power is not appreciableā€”perhaps between 1 and 4.7 percent. According to the findings of one study, however, prolonged dirt buildup on solar panels can reduce the amount of electricity produced by the panels by as much as 25 percent.

The good news is that rain or snowmelt during the appropriate seasons will typically remove any dirt or animal droppings that may have accumulated. However, if there is very little precipitation in your region and the weather is often dry, windy, and dusty, your panels might need to be cleaned more frequently. While some property owners feel comfortable washing the panels themselves, others opt to have a trained professional do the job instead.

The causes of Dirty Solar panels  and how location affects the need of cleaning solar panels.

Bird Droppings

Bird Droppings

We all appreciate the way in which trees enhance the look of our property and provide a welcome burst of oxygen. However, birds find them to be ideal places for roosting or just hanging out. If branches are going to be hanging over your solar panel array, you should get some extra cleaning supplies ready.

Bird droppings are notorious for being a problem, even more so than dust, leaves, or pollen, particularly if they become sticky and harden on the panels. It is more difficult to remove the accumulated debris from birds that can block significant light from the sun by simply spraying your panels with water because the debris is more stubborn.

There are, thankfully, goods and services available that can determine whether or not bird droppings have an effect on the flow of current in your solar energy system. Microinverters are helpful in this regard because the technology enables one to determine when a single panel is producing less electricity than usual due to obstructions such as debris or blockages.

We all appreciate the way in which trees enhance the look of our property and provide a welcome burst of oxygen. However, birds find them to be ideal places for roosting or just hanging out. If branches are going to be hanging over your solar panel array, you should get some extra cleaning supplies ready.

Bird droppings are notorious for being a problem, even more so than dust, leaves, or pollen, particularly if they become sticky and harden on the panels. It is more difficult to remove the accumulated debris from birds that can block significant light from the sun by simply spraying your panels with water because the debris is more stubborn.

There are, thankfully, goods and services available that can determine whether or not bird droppings have an effect on the flow of current in your solar energy system. Microinverters are helpful in this regard because the technology enables one to determine when a single panel is producing less electricity than usual due to obstructions such as debris or blockages.

Pollen, as well as, Leaves

Pollen, as well as, Leaves

Pollen has developed into a material that is resistant to dissolving in water due to its evolution. As a consequence of this, it does not simply disappear when the wind blows, which can make it more difficult to clean. You should prepare yourself for pollination agents such as wind, insects, and birds carrying pollen to pass over your panels and drop some of it on them if you live near farmlands or areas with a lot of vegetation. These pollination agents can carry pollen from one plant to another. In fact, windy weather is more likely to blow pollen onto your panels in the first place rather than blowing it away after it has already been there.

It’s possible that you’ll have to deal with leaves falling on your panels as well, particularly if the trees in your yard are deciduous, which means that they shed their leaves annually in the fall. Wet leaves typically adhere to panels because heavy rain can act like glue, in contrast to dry leaves, which simply float away when the wind blows.

Dust and Dirt

Dust and Dirt

The accumulation of dust and dirt is a common enemy of solar power systems, and the effects of this enemy go beyond simply contributing to the buildup of grime. It is true that sun rays may still pass through a thin layer of dust, and wind or rainwater can quickly sweep away the majority of it. Both of these factors are true. The situation is different, however, if your photovoltaic array is situated in an area that is prone to more airborne dust, such as farmlands, main roads, cement factories, or quarries. Because they are exposed to significantly more dust and dirt, your solar panels will require additional care and should be cleaned on a more regular basis.

Do Solar Panels Need Cleaning? 

Solar panels, like any other object that is left outside throughout the day and night, will eventually become covered in dirt. However, the frequency with which you may need to wash your panels is dependent on a number of factors, including the following:

  • System design 
  • Installation angle/s
  • Dimensions and count of the panels
  • Location
  • Different kinds of grime
  • The weather 
  • how long it’s been since your last deep cleaning

How to Clean Your Solar Panels 

Do it yourself 

The performance of your solar panels may be negatively impacted by bird droppings and other forms of dirt, particularly if your panels do not lie completely horizontally on the roof. In this situation, washing the panels becomes important; however, in many instances, it is not necessary for the washing to be a thorough or routine cleaning.

Keeping your solar panels clean is typically not too difficult of a job. The only thing that needs to be done is to stand on the ground and use a garden hose that is angled appropriately to spray water at an average pressure onto the panels.

The combination of a squeegee with a long handle, a soft brush, and a hose nozzle that produces medium pressure can work wonders when cleaning tough messes. The nozzle will make it much simpler to direct the spray in the desired direction. After that, you will use the squeegee to remove any remaining water so that you can generate the most amount of electricity possible. Even though a long handle is available, not everyone will be able to reach their roof using this method, despite the fact that it offers even greater cleaning power. This is because the angle of your roof, the height of your roof, and the placement of your panels all play a role in this.

Why is professional cleaning the best option? 

You can hire a professional to clean your solar panels in the same way that you would hire someone to wash your car or clean your house.

If you have a system installed on the roof of your building, it is highly recommended that you hire a professional cleaning service. In addition to the benefit of not having to climb up on the roof yourself, professionals are outfitted with the appropriate safety gear for working on rooftops. When looking to hire a professional, you should always double check that they are both licensed and bonded in their field. Since you can safely clean your own panels with a simple dose of hose water and liquid soap, it may not be worth paying for the service if you have a ground unit because the service fee may not be worth it.