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How to Clean a Solar Panel: A Guide for Proper Maintenance

Clean solar panels are essential for maintaining their efficiency and performance. Fortunately, they require very little maintenance, with only light cleaning needed once every quarter. 

This article looks at the benefits of clean solar panels, how to do it yourself for free, and some safety tips!

Why Should You Do Solar Panel Maintenance?

Giving your solar panels a good cleaning regularly will not only affect their performance, efficiency, and energy production but also keep them in top shape.

You can easily spot any damage early and remedy it as soon as you spot it, saving you money on expensive repairs in the future.

Even hosing your dirty solar panels will significantly boost panel efficiency compared to just letting them sit and gather dust and dirt when you don't have the time.

Solar panel installation is a big investment, so it's important to maintain its efficiency to keep getting your money's worth!

How to Do Solar Panel Cleaning

Let's go through it step by step!

Step 1: Safety First!

Here are some tips before cleaning:

  1. Only work on safe roofs. If your roof is too high or has a steep slope, it would be better to call a professional service instead of trying to climb up and clean the solar panels yourself.
  2. Shut down your solar system installation before you start working. Roof cabling can carry dangerous voltages, so you want to ensure you will be safe before going up.
  3. Always go for extension ladders when climbing roofs and use them with a ladder stabiliser for extra safety. Never use A-frame ladders as they are too dangerous when climbing onto your roof-mounted panels.
  4. Clean panels in the early morning, late evening, or on an overcast day. Hot solar panels can get damaged when doused with cold water, so do your solar panel cleaning when the temperatures are cooler to protect them.
  5. Never use hot water in winter. The sudden temperature change could damage or even crack the panels.

Step 2: Gather Your Materials

Here are the materials you will need for your dirty solar panels:

  1. A non-abrasive, soft brush, preferably something with an extension or one that you can connect to a hose
  2. A long hose
  3. An extension ladder
  4. A ladder stabiliser
  5. A safety harness, if you have one, to keep you safe from falling
  6. Occasionally: Solar panel cleaning solution or mild dish soap
  7. Optional: Plastic scraper

Step 3: Climb Onto Your Roof

Set up your extension ladder and stabiliser, then carry your garden hose, brush, and cleaning solution as you climb.

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    Hose down your solar panels or if your brush can be connected to your hose, you can also start brushing them to get rid of dust while hosing them down.

    If you use dish soap or cleaning solution in the occasional cleaning session, pour it on generously after hosing the panels down with water.

    If there are dirty panels with hardened dirt, you can use a plastic scraper to get it off. Make sure you only scrape the solar panels that you can safely reach!

     Finally, give your solar panels a last rinse! If you can safely reach them, you could also wipe them down with a squeegee to avoid hard water residue.

    When Should You Get Solar Panel Cleaning Services?

    Cleaning solar panels should be done at least once a year, depending on how fast dust accumulates. But how do you know when to hire a professional and when to clean it yourself?

    It's simple! You hire a professional when your solar panels are installed on your roof, and you cannot clean them for whatever reason.

    Whether it's too dangerous for you to climb your roof or you don't have the time or energy for it, it's best to call a professional.

    Also, if you're not used to cleaning solar panels by yourself or you're not confident you'll do a good job, it is better to leave it to professionals than risk damaging the panels.

    And even if you usually get your solar panels cleaned by yourself, you can also hire professionals for the occasional cleaning to ensure they remain in tip-top shape since professionals know best!

    Is Solar Panel Maintenance Worth It?

    The short answer is YES.

    You probably installed a solar PV system as an investment; to gather solar energy and save money on electricity bills.

    But when your panels get too dirty, it will affect their efficiency and they won't generate as much solar energy as you'd want to save on electricity costs.

    Thankfully, maintaining your solar panels is easy and free.

    They need light cleaning once every few months, and you can do it yourself for free or ask solar experts to clean them for you.

    How Often Should Solar Panels Be Serviced?

    Solar panels must be serviced at least once a year if you clean the panels yourself regularly.

    If you completely rely on professional services, your solar panels require cleaning at least once every quarter or more, depending on how fast they get dirty.

    You could also use a solar panel monitoring system to see how much energy production your solar panels generate on a day-to-day basis.

    This way, when you see a dip in the performance of the panels and notice that they’re not gathering as much energy as they should, you know it's time for a cleaning.

    How Often Do Solar Panels Need to Be Washed?

    Depending on how easily your solar PV system gathers dust, dirty solar panel cleaning should be done anything between once a year to once every quarter.

    If you live in an area with lots of pollution, your solar panel maintenance should be more frequent as dust and dirt will easily accumulate, affecting energy production.

    Other dusty areas, such as deserts or places where it doesn't rain much, also call for more frequent solar panel maintenance.

    Like pollution, desert sand can accumulate on your solar panels very quickly.

     Finally, if you live in an area with lots of trees (that will attract birds), you will benefit from more solar maintenance.

    Falling leaves, stems, and bird droppings are big enough to obscure your solar panels from absorbing sunlight, so you should regularly clean them, probably more often than once every quarter.

    Not only that, but such debris can also damage your panels.

    The tree sap and bird droppings can damage the solar cells with their acidity, and the leaves and stems can get too heavy for the solar system when left to accumulate.

    In this case, your solar panels need cleaning more than once every quarter to remove dirt and dust accumulated on the surface.


    And that's all we have for solar panel maintenance!

    Keeping your panels clean is essential to their performance and power output, so remember to clean them regularly.

    Cleaning them also maintains your panels in top condition, helping you to spot the need for repairs early and make the most out of your investment!

    Did you know that Solar Panel Installation can match you with 3 local installers who will provide you with a free quote? Fill out our form today to get in touch with installers.

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    Mark McShane
    Content Writer
    Mark McShane is a seasoned professional in the solar industry and the owner of Skills Training Group, a leading provider of solar training and education. With years of experience in the field, Mark has developed a deep understanding of the latest trends, technologies and best practices in the industry. His expertise and passion for solar energy have helped countless professionals develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the fast-growing field of solar energy. Whether you’re an aspiring solar professional or an experienced industry veteran, Mark is an excellent resource for anyone looking to enhance their skills and knowledge of the solar industry.
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