Cleaning your solar panels might not be on the top of your to-do list. But did you know that a clean solar panel has a better energy output level than a dirty one? Learn how to clean solar panels, and you’ll enjoy the energy savings that result.
How to Clean Solar Panels
When you think about solar panel efficiency, you might think about things like the amount of sunlight in your neighborhood. You might not be thinking about what happens when that sunlight is blocked, stopping the solar panel from collecting the energy it needs from the sun. However, that’s exactly what happens when a solar panel gets too dirty to work efficiently. In a recent study, Google found that regularly cleaning their solar panels nearly doubled their energy output!
This is great news for anyone who is banking on their solar panels for energy savings. But how do you know if your solar panels need cleaning, and how do you get the job done?
Do My Solar Panels Need Cleaning?
Some solar experts agree that if you live in an area with adequate rainfall, and your solar panels are vertically oriented or slanted, they probably do not need to be cleaned that often. However, if any of the following applies, cleaning your solar panels might be a good idea:
- If your solar panels lay flat, allowing dust and debris to accumulate that is not easily washed away
- If you’ve experienced a windstorm or other weather event that kicks up a lot of dust and debris
- If you live in an area with lots of birds, squirrels, or other animals that can access your solar panels
- If you live in an area with limited rainfall, such as California or Nevada
- If you are seeing autumn leaves or other natural debris begin to pile up on or around your solar panels
- If the panels appear to be dirty or dingy
- If you have noticed the energy output of your solar panels has decreased and you are unable to find another reason
In general, it’s a good idea to give your solar panels some kind of cleaning at least once a year.
How Can I Clean My Solar Panels?
Luckily, cleaning solar panels is a relatively simple procedure. Solar panel owners should note that cleaning solar panels on a roof can be dangerous. If your panels are difficult to access, consider hiring a professional solar panel cleaner instead of doing it yourself.
However, if you can easily access your solar panels, you can easily clean them as well. Here are the recommended steps:
- Check the documentation that came with your solar panel to see if there are any special care instructions for cleaning them. Following specific recommendations from the manufacturer can help you avoid inadvertently damaging the panels.
- Solar panels are built to capture solar energy, so they can get extremely hot when it’s sunny outside. Wait for a relatively cool day, and clean them in the morning or early afternoon when sunlight is less direct.
- Fill a bucket with a cleansing agent. Water and soap will work fine for most solar panels, but again, be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations as well.
- Clean the surface of the panel with your cleaning agent and a sponge or a soft cloth. Use a telescoping handle for the sponge if needed.
- Use a hose to rinse your solar panels clean. If they still appear dirty, repeat the process or consult with a professional.
Making a plan for how to clean your solar panels should be a part of your regular solar panel maintenance. If you aren’t sure how to get started, call the solar experts at ArrowPoint Solar.
If you’re wondering how solar panels could benefit your home, your business, your wallet, or the environment, contact ArrowPoint Solar today. Our expert engineers have helped more than 1,000 homeowners and businesses in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas save money and reduce their carbon footprints by switching to solar energy. We’re proud to be the leading experts in solar and LED energy in the Ozarks. To learn more about the value of solar energy and how it could benefit you, request a free solar consultation today.