Solar Panel Cleaning: A Step-by-Step Guide (Know The Cost Associated)
One of the most common questions that we get from time to time is - Do rooftop solar panels require regular cleaning?
Although the quick answer is no, periodical solar panel cleaning extends the lifespan of the system and lets it perform at peak potential.
Most solar panels are durable and have a product warranty. But dirt and dust buildup hinder optimal power production. This is why additional maintenance can make the solar panels last for up to 25 to 30 years. At Solarblocks, we will share tips and the best ways to clean solar panels, so you make the most out of the investment.
Why is Solar Panel Cleaning Important?
Cleaning the solar panels is a vital part of solar system maintenance. Solar panels absorb sunlight to generate electricity. Dirt, dust, and grime build-up can result in soiling and cause up to 7% energy loss annually. While occasional rain is enough to keep the panels clean from time to time, debris collected over time can evidently bring down production as well as hamper the system’s quality. In dry climates, relying on rain is not useful. This is why solar cleaning is vital to ensure product longevity and maximize its power production capacity.
Cleaning the Solar Panels: Things Required
You can use DIY solutions for solar panel cleaning. This will help save time as well as effort. In general, solar panels need less cleaning, so a beginner-friendly maintenance routine is all you need. The process is safe and the solar panel cleaning cost is highly affordable.
You will require
- An extension ladder
- Harness (optional)
- A garden hose
- A soft bristle brush
- A sponge or a soft microfiber cloth
- Gentle dish soap
- Working gloves
- Non-slipping boots
Solar Cleaning: The Process
1. Turn off the solar system
Ensure to disconnect the power and turn off all connections before beginning work. This is important to safeguard the equipment quality as well as your safety.
2. Take all your tools
Collect all the project tools and make sure they are accessible. Unfold the extension ladder and ensure it’s secured before climbing the roof. Make someone stand near the ladder to keep it steadily attached to the ground. It is also advisable to wear non-slip boots during solar cleaning to avoid falling.
3. Gently brush the panels
If you apply the water and soap solution directly on the panels before brushing, it can spread and smear the dirt uncontrollably. This is why brushing the panels before solar cleaning is recommended to dislodge the dirt particles completely.
Use the soft bristle brush to brush in between the panels to remove clogged leaves, soil, dirt, and bird poop. Ensure to brush gently in between the solar panels, without asserting too much force or pressure. Wear gloves to keep your hands clean.
4. Gently spray the panels
After you complete the dusting, hold the garden hose securely and spray down the panels. A hose with a spray attachment makes the solar panel cleaning process easy and swift. High-pressure cleaning is never suggested or it will crack the panels and invite future troubles. Remember to clean every panel, the edges, and the nooks to remove the accumulated dirt and debris.
5. Apply the cleaning solution
Mix water and gentle soap in a bucket to prepare an effective cleaning solution. Use one squirt of dish soap, mix with one part vinegar and eight portions of water for best results. Avoid harsh chemicals, detergents, or other abrasive products.
First, apply the cleaning solution on small sections since it is the best way to clean solar panels. Let it cut through the dirt and then use a soft sponge to scrub away stubborn stains and marks on the solar panels. Be patient and avoid aggressive rubbing to not damage the panels entirely.
Experts advise using deionized or distilled water as it does not attract further chemicals. You can soften the water using a water softener. Apply the soap solution sparingly, so as to not compromise the system’s functionality.
6. Wipe it
Use the microfiber towel to wipe down sections of the solar panel after letting the cleaning mixture stay on for some time. Repeat the wiping movement but do not lean over the panels.
If needed, you can give the panels a final rinse with the hose attached to the spray. You can also use the sponge instead to wipe the panels clean.
Factors Which Impact Solar Panel Cleaning
A general rule of thumb is to do solar cleaning twice or thrice a year. However, the frequency depends on the three most crucial factors.
During the winter, pollution is typically high. This is because cold air traps most of the pollutants close to the ground than warm air. Keeping this in mind, the ideal time to clean the solar panels is during spring.
During the summer, the panels are too hot to touch. However, you can try cleaning them during the early morning or evening after the panels cool down.
3. Wooded areas
If your home has many nearby trees, they will likely obstruct sunlight accessibility on the rooftop. More trees mean more bird droppings which will start accumulating over and in between the panels. Hence, frequent cleaning is necessary here to avoid the formation of clumps and stains.
What is the Average Solar Panel Cleaning Cost?
The average cost to clean the solar panels is between $40 and $75. This involves the cost of buying all solar panel cleaning supplies and tools.
Safety Considerations During Solar Cleaning
During solar panel cleaning, remember the following points.
- Do not pressure wash to avoid damaging the solar panels.
- Do not apply harsh chemicals on the panels like detergents
- Do not spray cold hard water on hot panels or else they might crack.
- Do not step on the solar panels to avoid damage.
- Be gentle with the glass on the solar panels.
- Avoid using brushes with hard bristles or roof rakes since the sharp edges can crack the solar panels.
- Do not use high-pressure water nozzles to spray on the panels.
Solar Drones: A Revolution in Solar Installation and Maintenance
Recently, the use of solar drones is widespread, to install, monitor, clean, and maintain solar panels. Drone-based technology is on the rise and is considered one of the safe and best ways to clean solar panels. They work in any topography, under any condition, without any human or mechanical intervention.
Call for Professional Help
Most homeowners choose not to do this task by themselves. If you are one of them, consult the professionals at Solarblocks for expert solar panel cleaning and inspection. Get in touch with our advisors to get the estimated solar panel cleaning cost and keep your system healthy and running.
1. What is the best way to clean solar panels?
Solar cleaning can be done at home itself. First, rinse the panels thoroughly with water but without applying pressure. Then clean the panels with a mild soap solution and scrub the panels with a sponge or a microfiber towel. Rinse again until all the dirt is removed.
You can also consult professionals for expert and quick cleaning services.
2. How often do solar panels need to be cleaned?
Ideally, solar panel cleaning should be done twice or thrice a year. It also depends on the climate of the region, pollution levels, your home location, etc. This is vital to preserve its effective functionality.
3. Do you need to turn off solar panels before cleaning?
Yes, you should turn off the solar system before cleaning the solar panels. It is a recommended safety precaution to disconnect all the power lines or else you can get an electric shock. It is also advisable to consult professional solar cleaners since they know the best ways to clean solar panels.
4. Is it okay to clean solar panels with water?
Yes, it is okay to clean the solar panels with water. However, the water should be deionized or distilled to soften it. Hard water attracts more chemical accumulation which dampens the quality of the system. Moreover, when cleaning the panels, do not apply pressure or the panels can crack.
5. What should you not do when cleaning solar panels?
While doing solar cleaning, you should not apply too much pressure. This applies when spraying the water as well as scrubbing the panels. Never use harsh chemicals like detergents to clean or a brush with hard bristles. Remember, the longevity of your solar system will depend on its overall maintenance.
Begin Your Journey From Today
Let your sustainable way of life begin here..
Begin Your Journey From Today
Let your sustainable way of life begin here..