Cleaning your solar panels often isn’t necessary. Any dust or pollen will be washed away by natural rainfall. However, if you live in a dusty or dry area or your panels are tilted minimally, you might have to clean them often.
Dirty solar panels absorb less sunlight and in turn, generate less electricity. Also, cleaning is part of maintenance to keep your solar panels in good condition.
Cleaning should be done after every six months during late autumn and late spring. However, if you are located in regional, farming, or construction areas, you should wash your panels frequently. Alternatively, if your location experiences regular rainfall, regular cleaning might be unnecessary.
There are two ways to find out whether your panels need cleaning:
- Physical inspection to look for dirt, debris, or bird droppings
- Using a monitoring system that confirms the functioning and performance of your solar panel
Best Time to Clean Your Solar Panel
Clean your solar panels in the evening or early morning in colder periods. The cleaning products used will not dry quickly on your panels, leaving residue or grease. Also, you will not be exposed to sun damage.
Cleaning Solar Panel from the Roof
Cleaning solar panels from the roof is a bit tricky. You can do it yourself only if you have the professional knowledge. For safety purposes, hire an accredited technician with appropriate equipment and training to do the job.
Solar Panel Cleaning Tips
- Switch Off The PV System
Turning off your PV system should be the first thing you do before cleaning your panels. The DC switch is placed in the combiner box. This step is vital to guarantee personal safety and to protect the solar panels from damage by water, broken seals, or exposed wires while electricity runs through the system.
- Clean With a Soft Brush
Although the solar panel glass is durable, abstractive materials can damage the surface. This can result in reduced performance or even tampering the solar modules.
To make the work easier, attach a soft brush to a long extension and clean.
- Clean Using Less Concentrated Water
Module manufacturers advise cleaners to use de-ionized or distilled water when cleaning solar panels. Water with high mineral content may leave a residue over time and damage the glass.
A water softening hose is also a good alternative. It filters the minerals.
- Avoid Using High Pressure
Water at high pressure can find a way into the junction box or plugs that are not sealed completely. If you have to clean using a hose, maintain pressure below 40bar.
- Don’t Use Cold Or Hot Water
Solar panel manufacturers recommend the use of water with average temperature. A drastic and sudden difference in temperature could result in cracking of the glass surface.
Clean your solar panels early in the morning before solar generation begins. At this time, the temperature of the modules will not be high. Use ambient temperature water.
- Avoid Using Detergents
Water and dishwashing soap are all you need to clean a solar panel thoroughly. Detergents meant for other uses can create moisture. This may damage the panels and void your solar panel warranty.
Seek advice from your solar panel manufacturer on the best way to clean your panels. You can also read instructions on your solar panel manual.
Use harnesses when cleaning from the top. Never walk over the Modules.