How To Clean Solar Panels for Optimal Performance?

Raj Singh
May 14, 2023

Are you worried about the accumulating dirt and debris on your solar panels? As an owner of a solar system, it's crucial to maintain the efficiency of your energy source. That's where NuSolas Energy steps in - providing the ultimate guide on 'How to Clean Solar Panels' to help you ensure the longevity and performance of your investment.

Why Cleaning Solar Panels is Essential?

Solar panels are exposed to the elements continuously. Rain, dust, bird droppings, and other debris can accumulate on the surface, potentially blocking sunlight and reducing efficiency. According to a study, dirty solar panels can lose up to 25% of their energy output, a significant loss for any homeowner seeking to maximise their investment in solar energy.

So, knowing how to clean solar panels can help ensure your system operates at its best, delivering the cost savings and environmental benefits you expect from this renewable energy source.

How To Clean Solar Panels: A Step-by-Step Guide

Safety First

Before you start the cleaning process, safety must be your primary concern. Solar panels are often installed in hard-to-reach places, like rooftops, making the cleaning process potentially dangerous. If your panels are easily accessible, you can attempt to clean them yourself. However, for most people, hiring a professional solar panel cleaning service like NuSolas Energy is a safer, more efficient option.

Step-1: Gather Your Cleaning Materials

If you decide to clean your panels yourself, you'll need a few essential tools:

  • Soft brush or sponge
  • Biodegradable soap/detergent
  • Hose with a spray nozzle
  • Safety gear (ladder, harness, etc.)

Step-2: Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

Mix the mild soap with water in a bucket. The solution should not be overly soapy. The goal is to loosen the grime, not leave a soapy residue on the panels.

Step-3: Begin Cleaning

Using your soft brush and the cleaning solution, gently scrub the surface of the solar panels. Avoid using any harsh materials that can scratch the surface of the panels.

Step-4: Rinse Thoroughly

Once the grime has been loosened, rinse the panels with your hose. Use a gentle spray setting to avoid damaging the panels. A squeegee can help remove excess water and prevent water spots.

Step-5: Dry the Panels

Use a squeegee to remove the water from the solar panels. Leaving them to dry naturally may leave mineral deposits that can block sunlight.

Tips for Cleaning Solar Panels

Here are some additional tips to consider while cleaning your solar panels:

  • Avoid using hard or mineral-rich water as it can leave stains.
  • Do not use abrasive products or tools that could scratch the panels.
  • Never use high-pressure water to clean the panels from the ground, as this could cause damage.
  • Do not clean the panels while they are hot, as the temperature difference can cause cracking.
  • Regularly check your panels for any signs of damage before and after cleaning.

When and How Often Should You Clean Your Solar Panels?

Ideal Cleaning Time

The best time to clean solar panels is in the early morning or late evening when the panels are cool. Cleaning during these times reduces the chances of getting burned and prevents hot water from cracking the panels.

Cleaning Frequency

The frequency of cleaning depends on your location and the amount of dirt your panels are exposed to. However, a good rule of thumb is to clean your solar panels at least once or twice a year. If you live in a dusty area or notice a significant drop in efficiency, you might need to clean them more frequently.

What Affects Solar Panel Dirt Accumulation?

Various factors can influence the rate at which dirt accumulates on your solar panels.

Location

The location of your home and solar panels can significantly affect how much dirt and debris accumulate on them. For instance, if you live in an urban area with high pollution, your solar panels may require more frequent cleaning than those in a rural area.

Panel Tilt

The angle at which your solar panels are installed can also affect dirt accumulation. Panels installed at a steeper angle tend to be self-cleaning to some extent, as debris and dust can slide off with wind or rain.

Weather

The weather plays a crucial role too. In areas with frequent rainfall, such as Ireland, the rain can help keep the solar panels relatively clean. Conversely, in drier regions, dust and dirt can accumulate more quickly.

How To Maintain Solar Panels Beyond Cleaning?

Cleaning is just one aspect of solar panel maintenance. Here are a few more tips to keep your solar panels in top shape:

Regular Inspections

Regularly inspect your solar panels for any visible damage or dirt accumulation. This will help you identify any potential issues before they become significant problems.

Monitor Energy Output

Keep an eye on your solar panels' energy output. If you notice a sudden drop in energy production, it could indicate that your panels need cleaning or may have a mechanical issue.

Keep the Area Clear

Ensure the area around your solar panels is clear of any potential obstructions, like overgrown trees or bushes. This helps to prevent shadowing and the accumulation of debris on the panels.

Professional Check-ups

While cleaning is essential, it's equally important to have your solar panels checked by professionals periodically. These check-ups can help identify and rectify any underlying issues, ensuring your solar panels stay effective for years.

Get in Touch with NuSolas Energy Today

Harnessing the sun's power effectively begins with understanding how to clean solar panels and maintain their efficiency. NuSolas Energy, as a trusted solar panel installation company in Ireland, is committed to guiding you through the process and providing expert advice on solar energy system maintenance.

If you're interested in maximising the potential of your solar panels or exploring solar panel installation, reach out to NuSolas Energy. Let's work together to create a brighter, cleaner future with solar energy. Contact us today to learn more!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best thing to clean solar panels with?

The best materials to clean solar panels with are a soft brush, a squeegee with a long handle, gentle soap like dish soap, and a hose with a gentle spray setting. Avoid abrasive materials that can scratch the panels.

Can I clean solar panels myself?

Yes, you can clean solar panels yourself as long as you take the necessary precautions. However, if the panels are located on a high roof, it might be safer to hire a professional cleaner to avoid potential accidents.

How often should solar panels be cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning can vary depending on your location and the weather conditions. Generally, an annual or bi-annual cleaning should suffice. However, regular inspections for dirt or debris are recommended.

Do I need to turn off solar panels to clean?

Yes, it's a good idea to turn off the solar panels before cleaning to prevent electrical accidents and potential damage.

What chemicals are safe to clean solar panels?

When it comes to chemicals, it's best to stick to mild, non-abrasive soaps. Avoid any harsh chemicals that can damage the panels or leave a residue that might block sunlight.

What is the effect of not cleaning solar panels?

Dirty solar panels can hinder sunlight absorption, reducing their energy output. Over time, accumulated dirt and grime can also cause damage to the panels.

What is the best thing to clean solar panels with?

The best materials to clean solar panels with are a soft brush, a squeegee with a long handle, gentle soap like dish soap, and a hose with a gentle spray setting. Avoid abrasive materials that can scratch the panels.

Can I clean solar panels myself?

Yes, you can clean solar panels yourself as long as you take the necessary precautions. However, if the panels are located on a high roof, it might be safer to hire a professional cleaner to avoid potential accidents.

How often should solar panels be cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning can vary depending on your location and the weather conditions. Generally, an annual or bi-annual cleaning should suffice. However, regular inspections for dirt or debris are recommended.

Do I need to turn off solar panels to clean?

Yes, it's a good idea to turn off the solar panels before cleaning to prevent electrical accidents and potential damage.

How often should solar panels be cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning can vary depending on your location and the weather conditions. Generally, an annual or bi-annual cleaning should suffice. However, regular inspections for dirt or debris are recommended.

What chemicals are safe to clean solar panels?

When it comes to chemicals, it's best to stick to mild, non-abrasive soaps. Avoid any harsh chemicals that can damage the panels or leave a residue that might block sunlight.

What is the effect of not cleaning solar panels?

Dirty solar panels can hinder sunlight absorption, reducing their energy output. Over time, accumulated dirt and grime can also cause damage to the panels.

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*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.
About Author
Raj Singh
Founder @ NuSolas

A seasoned professional in the solar industry, Raj Singh is dedicated to illuminating Ireland with the power of the sun. His passion for renewable energy and commitment to sustainability shine through his work in the solar industry.