It’s safe to say that solar panels have taken the world by storm thanks to their high efficiency and lifespan. In fact, most modern solar panels are designed to operate for up to 30 years with minimal maintenance. However, what many homeowners fail to realize is that photovoltaic panels can accumulate dust and dirt over time. Unfortunately, according to research, debris can reduce the efficiency of solar panels by up to 60%.
As a result, solar owners all over the country ask themselves — can I clean my own solar panels? Today, we’ll take a closer look at solar panels and answer that question. But first, let’s see if cleaning solar panels is truly necessary.
Is it Necessary to Clean Solar Panels?
Generally speaking, there is still a lot of debate regarding the cleaning of solar panels. Some homeowners believe that cleaning is essential, while others claim that rain is enough to wash away any debris accumulated on the panels. However, neither side is completely wrong.
Simply put, most of the time, you won’t need to clean your solar panels, as rain will wash away any harmful substances that accumulate. But rain is not even close to as effective as a thorough manual clean, and by refusing to clean your panels, you might be sacrificing some efficiency.
In fact, debris like dirt, dust, and pollen can drastically impact the amount of solar energy that your panels can generate. This reduction depends on a variety of factors, including the area where you live.
For example, solar panels in desert areas where rain is pretty uncommon will suffer the most from this loss in power production. The same applies to cities dealing with pollution and smog, which often gather on solar panels.
In other words, your photovoltaic panels might need cleaning from time to time, particularly if you want to ensure that they operate at their maximum efficiency.
How Do I Know When My Solar Panels Need Cleaning?
Most experts recommend that you do a monthly visual inspection and look for any noticeable dust buildup. Also, you should pay attention to your electric bill or solar system monitoring for drops in energy production. But if everything is in good condition, you can relax knowing that the rain is doing its job of cleaning your panels.
Should I Clean the Panels Myself?
If you have a ground-mounted solar panel system, you can use a hose and a soft rag to clean it. However, if your solar panels are installed on your home’s roof, it’s better to call a cleaning company. That way, you won’t endanger yourself by climbing up on your roof. Just remember that some professional cleaning services can be quite expensive, depending on where you live and the condition of your solar panels.
Tips for Cleaning Solar Panels
Do you want to clean your own solar panels but are not sure where to start? Here are a few tips that can help you stay safe while cleaning:
- Don’t forget to check with the solar provider to see if their panels can be cleaned without impacting the warranty.
- Always turn off your solar panels before attempting to clean them. Otherwise, you risk doing permanent damage to your system, which may require you to replace the panels.
- Avoid washing your panels during hot weather. Keep in mind that spraying cold water on hot panels can cause smudging or cracks. Instead, you should clean them on cooler days, and ideally in the morning or evening.
- Never use abrasive tools or products when cleaning your solar panels in order to avoid scratching the glass. Also, detergents can cause streaks, so you should stay clear from them.
- You can use a water-fed pole with a soft brush and a squeegee to get rid of most accumulated debris.
To Sum Up
All in all, solar panels tend to accumulate a lot of dirt, dust, and pollen, which can reduce their effectiveness. As a result, you’ll need to clean them regularly or hire a professional company to do it for you. And if you prefer the former, make sure to take the necessary precautions to avoid injuring yourself or damaging the panels.