So many people don’t realize that in order for your solar panels to function efficiently, you need to keep them clean!
Oftentimes they think that the rain will do the job for them, but unfortunately it doesn’t.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to clean your solar panels and how often you should be doing it.
Solar Panel Cleaning
Do solar panels need to be cleaned regularly?
Depending on where you live, the amount of rain and dust in the air, you may need to clean your solar panels as often as every other month or two-to four times a year.
If your panels are covered in pollen, leaves, or debris from a storm, it’s important to clean them as soon as possible.
The longer the debris sits on your panels, the more likely it is to cause permanent damage.
Isn’t the rain enough?
Ha, we wish 🙂
No, unfortunately, rain isn’t enough to keep your solar panels clean. Yes, it may help to rinse off some of the larger pieces of debris, but it won’t remove all of the build-up that can accumulate on your panels over time.
The rain most certainly won’t remove bird poop (ick!), dust, or pollen.
The Benefits Of Cleaning PV Solar Panels
Ok, so let’s look at the overall benefits to put things into perspective:
- Improve efficiency.
- In most warranties.
- Increased durability.
- Aesthetic appeal.
- Improve ROI time.
By cleaning your PV solar panels regularly, you will ensure that they are able to function at optimal levels.
Solar panels that are clean will give a far greater energy yield than dirty panels. Dirt, dust, and bird droppings may build up on the protective glass of solar panels over time, reducing the amount of sunlight those cells receive every day.
If you think about it, the more efficient your solar panels are, the more energy they produce, which in turn saves you money on your electric bill!
Yearly cleaning can help increase the efficiency of your system by 10-20% (Outdoor Rumors).
In most warranties
Whichever solar panel fitting company fits your solar panels they will provide a warranty, and in that warranty, it will state that you the home or business owner are responsible for the upkeep of your solar panels.
Mostly this just means keeping them clean but also checking for any physical damage so you can claim on your insurance if necessary.
Keeping them clean generally keeps them in better condition as well, which leads us nicely into our next point…
Solar panels are designed to last for a long time, 20-30 years plus with proper care!
However, over time they may become scratched or chipped from debris such as hailstones, tree branches, or even gusts of wind.
A regular cleaning schedule will help ensure that your solar panels maintain their pristine condition and avoid any permanent damage.
Your solar panels are an important part of your home or business, so you want them to look their best!
Nobody wants a bird poop covered solar panel on the roof (we’re looking at you, seagulls).
So to really perk up that kerb appeal, keeping your solar panels clean is key.
During your regular cleaning, it’s also a good idea to check for any physical damage to your solar panels.
This could be anything from cracks and chips in the glass to loose connections. By catching these problems early, you can avoid more serious issues down the road.
Improved ROI time
Solar panels are a big investment, so you want to get the most out of them!
By keeping them clean and well-maintained, you can actually improve your return on investment (ROI) time. In other words, you’ll make your money back faster.
A study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that by regularly cleaning and maintaining your solar panels, you can improve ROI time by up to 3 years!
How Do I Keep My Solar Panels Clean?
To keep your solar panels clean you need to clean them with deionized pure water and a soft brush.
The reason why you use deionized pure water is that it has no impurities such as minerals that could potentially damage your solar panels.
You can buy a deionized water system, or you can make your own by reverse osmosis.
Can I clean solar panels without water?
There’s a new method that uses electrostatic repulsion to cause dust particles to leap off the panels without the need of water or brushes. It is, however, still in its early phases of development and isn’t available as a service yet.
We wouldn’t recommend any other way to clean your windows unless you are using water!
Solar Panel Cleaning Frequency
How frequently should we clean solar panels?
Where possible you should have your solar panels cleaned two times a year or four times a year depending on the environment.
If you live in a dusty area or by the sea, then we recommend four times a year. Otherwise, two times a year should suffice.
You should also clean your solar panels after any big storms or if there’s been a lot of debris such as leaves and branches.
Do I Need To Turn Off Solar Panels To Clean?
No, you do not need to turn off the solar panels to clean them. It is totally safe to clean them while they are turned on.
Your Cleaning Options
Cleaning them yourself (DIY)
A lot of homeowners choose to clean their solar panels themselves to save money. However, this does come with some risks.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, then you could potentially damage your solar panels. This would void your warranty and end up costing you a lot of money in the long run.
Additionally, if you’re not comfortable working on your roof, then we wouldn’t recommend trying to clean your solar panels yourself.
The mistake a lot of homeowners make is cleaning their panels with hard water. This can leave spots and streaks on the glass which can then lead to permanent damage.
How do I clean my solar panels from the ground?
Unless you live in a bungalow, it is virtually impossible to clean your solar panels from the ground.
Climbing up on your roof is dangerous, and we wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re a trained professional.
Hiring a professional
There are many companies that specialize in solar panel cleaning. They will have the right equipment and knowledge to clean your panels quickly and safely.
Additionally, most solar panel cleaning companies offer maintenance plans so that you don’t have to worry about remembering to schedule a clean.
This could be a great option if you’re not comfortable climbing up on your roof or if you live in an area with hard water.
Robot for cleaning solar panels
Believe it or not, some of these contractors now have solar panel cleaning robots that do all the work for them!
These robots are specifically designed to clean solar panels quickly, safely and efficiently.
So, if you’re looking for the best way to get your solar panels cleaned, then we recommend hiring a professional with a solar panel cleaning robot.
Solar Panel Cleaning Equipment
The equipment used to clean solar panels is the exact same equipment used to clean your windows.
In fact, most window cleaning services who clean windows with pure water will also offer solar panel cleaning.
They have extendable pure water fed poles that allow them to safely clean your solar panels from the ground.
Additionally, they will have all the necessary safety equipment to ensure that they can clean your panels quickly and efficiently.
What Is The Best Time Of Day To Clean Solar Panels?
The best time of day to clean solar panels is in the morning before the sun comes up.
This is because the dew on the panels will help to loosen any dirt and grime that’s accumulated over time.
If you live in an area with hard water, then we recommend cleaning your solar panels twice a year to prevent spots and streaks from forming on the glass.
How much does it cost to get my solar panels cleaned?
The average price to clean the solar panels on your roof will be anywhere from £60-£100 depending how many panels you have.
However, some solar panel cleaning companies will offer discounts if you sign up for a maintenance plan.
Additionally, some window cleaning companies who offer pure water window cleaning will also offer solar panel cleaning at a discounted rate.
In the United States, homeowners spend an average of $150 to have their solar panels cleaned.
Companies charge between $3 and $10 per panel, depending on factors such as roof slant, house height, and system size. Some companies offer a flat fee ranging from $150 to $350 every year.
Does cleaning solar panels make a difference?
Yes it does make a difference. Solar panels that are kept clean will produce up to 30% more electricity than those that are not.
Can I pressure wash my solar panels?
Absolutely not. Pressure washing your solar panels will void the warranty and could potentially damage the panel itself.
Can I clean solar panels with vinegar?
We don’t recommend using vinegar or any other chemical to clean your solar panels. The only thing needed is a pure water fed pole and dionized water. This will ensure that there are no streaks or spots left on the panel.
Can you get self-cleaning solar panels?
Yes, you can have solar panels installed that have a hydrophobic coating. This means that the panels will repel water and dirt, making them self-cleaning to a certain extent. However, we still recommend getting them cleaned every 6 months to ensure they are working at optimal efficiency.
Can you get electrocuted cleaning solar panels?
Yes, you can get electrocuted if you’re not careful. That’s why we recommend hiring a professional who has the proper safety equipment and training.
Are solar panels covered under homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance typically covers solar panels in the event of damage from a covered peril, such as wind or hail. However, it’s always best to check with your insurance company to see if solar panels are included in your policy.
Do you need a license to clean solar panels?
No, you don’t need a license to clean solar panels. However, we recommend hiring a professional who has the proper safety equipment and training. They contractor should have public liability insurance to protect themselves in the event of an accident.
Solar panels are a great way to reduce your energy consumption and help the environment. However, in order to work at their full potential, they need to be kept clean.
Cleaning solar panels can be done by a professional or DIY. If you choose to clean them yourself, make sure you have the proper safety equipment and know how to use it safely.
Solar panels should be cleaned at least once a year, but twice a year is ideal. This will ensure that they are working at optimal efficiency and producing the most electricity possible.