Solar Panels Cleaning DIY Guide

By ·Published On: April 8, 2024·Categories: Residential Solar·Last Updated: June 3, 2024·11 min read·Views: 128·

How to Clean Solar Panels DIY Guide
Table of contents

Key Takeaways:

  • Regular solar panel cleaning is essential for maximizing energy efficiency and savings.
  • Cleaning frequency depends on factors like location, panel tilt, and rainfall – aim for 1-2 cleanings per year.
  • DIY solar panel cleaning is doable with the right tools and techniques, like using soft brushes, squeegees, and mild soap.
  • Safety is crucial – never step on the panels, choose the right time of day, and inspect for any damage.
  • For large or complex installations, hard-to-reach areas, or heavy grime buildup, professional cleaning services may be the better option.

How to Clean Your Solar Panels? 2024 DIY Guide

You know that sinking feeling when you look up at your roof and see a layer of grime coating your solar panels? Yeah, it’s a real bummer. Those dirty panels aren’t just an eyesore – they’re costing you money and wasting all that lovely sunshine.

But don’t worry, we’ve got your back! This guide is here to help you get those solar babies sparkling clean again, so they can do their job and keep those energy bills nice and low. After all, you invested in solar power to save some green, right?

how often should you clean solar panels

Keeping your solar panels spick-and-span isn’t just for looks. When those things get grimy, their efficiency takes a serious nosedive. We’re talking up to 25% less energy production from even a thin layer of dirt and debris. Ouch!

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the world of DIY solar panel cleaning. We’ll cover everything from why it matters to how often you should be doing it.

Plus, we’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to get the job done right (and safely!). By the end, you’ll be a certified solar panel cleaning pro.

Understanding the Importance of Clean Solar Panels

Look, I get it – cleaning solar panels probably isn’t at the top of your fun chores list. But hear us out, because this stuff is important.

Those gleaming panels aren’t just a pretty sight; they’re the key to maximizing your return on investment.

Every speck of dust, every bird dropping, every layer of grimy buildup acts like a tiny shade, blocking those money-making sunrays from reaching the solar cells. And when the cells can’t soak up that liquid gold, well, you’re leaving dollar bills on the table.

Don’t believe me? Just check out these numbers: properly maintained solar panels can save you up to 25% on your energy costs compared to neglected ones. That’s some serious cash we’re talking about! Not to mention all that clean, green energy you’ll be harnessing from those sparkling cells.

how to clean solar panels at home

But it gets better! Regular solar panel cleaning isn’t just about short-term savings; it’s an investment in the future too. Proper maintenance helps extend the lifespan of your setup, ensuring those babies keep pumping out the watts for years to come. Neglect ’em, and you might be forking over for replacements sooner than you’d like.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to make the most of your solar panel purchase? Then let’s get cleaning!

Solar savings are yours for the taking. Claim your free, personalized quote now!

How Often Should You Clean Solar Panels?

If we’re being honest, there’s no magic number for how often to clean solar panels. It really depends on a few different factors. But don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you nice and easy.

Location impacts frequency

Where you live plays a huge role. If your place is in a dusty, desert-like area, you’ll probably need to give those panels a scrub more frequently than someone living in a rainier, less polluted climate. Make sense?

Tilt angle matters too

Another thing to consider is the tilt of your panels. Ones with a steeper angle tend to stay cleaner longer since rain and debris can slide right off. Flatter panels are gonna collect more gunk over time.

Role of rainfall

Speaking of rain, when those clouds open up and let loose, they’re actually helping you out! Heavy rainfall can rinse away built-up dirt and dust, extending the time before your next cleaning. Thanks, mother nature!

So what’s the general rule of thumb? For most homeowners, a good solar panel cleaning every 6 months to a year should do the trick. But again, keep an eye on them – if they’re looking grotty, it’s time for some TLC.

The bottom line? There’s no need to go cleaning crazy. Just stay on top of it, and your panels will keep cranking out that money-saving energy!

The DIY Solar Panel Cleaning Process

Alright, it’s time to get those hands dirty! Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of how to clean solar panels, let’s make sure you’ve got all the right gear. You’ll need:

  1. A soft-bristle brush or mop (nothing too abrasive that could scratch)
  2. A sturdy squeegee
  3. A bucket of warm water (you can add a few drops of mild soap if needed)
  4. A ladder or safe roof access
  5. Safety gear like gloves and non-slip shoes

Prepping the area

Once you’ve assembled your cleaning arsenal, do a quick once-over of the area around the panels. Clear away any loose debris, branches, or anything else that could get in your way or damage those solar cells.

Applying water

Now comes the fun part – getting everything nice and wet! Using that soft brush or mop, gently apply the soapy water solution to the surface of the panels. Don’t go crazy with high-pressure sprays or hoses; you don’t want to force any gunk deeper into those nooks and crannies.

clean-solar-panels

Scrub-down

With the panels properly soaked, it’s time to break out the elbow grease. Using gentle circular motions, give each panel a good scrub with the soft-bristle brush to loosen up any grimy buildup.

The squeegee sweep

Once you’ve worked your magic with the brush, follow up with the squeegee. Starting from the top, pull it firmly across each row to clear away that dirty water. Work your way methodically from top to bottom.

Final rinse

Almost there! Give the freshly-cleaned panels a final rinse with clean, shed-free water. This’ll ensure any lingering soap residue gets washed away.

Drying off

Last but not least, use a clean, lint-free cloth to wipe down and dry those pristine solar cells. And just like that – your job here is done!

Those babies should be looking good as new and soaking up every last ray of sunshine. You did it!

Pro Tips for Safe, Effective Solar Panel Cleaning

  1. Choosing the right time

Before you grab those supplies and head up to the roof, timing is everything. The best windows for cleaning are early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler and the sun isn’t beating down directly overhead.

  1. Never step on the panels!

This one’s important: never, ever step or walk on your solar panels! Those things may look tough, but they’re actually really delicate. One wrong move and you could cause some serious damage. Always use a sturdy, well-positioned ladder instead.

  1. Regular inspections

Cleaning day is also a great opportunity to give your solar setup a quick inspection. As you’re scrubbing away, keep an eye out for any worrying signs like cracks, chips, or loose components. Catching issues early can save you a world of hassle down the road.

  1. When DIY isn’t enough

Some situations call for professionals. If you’ve got a massive solar panel array sprawled across multiple roof sections, it might be worth looking into solar panel cleaning services in your area. They’ve got the tools and know-how to tackle even the trickiest jobs safely and efficiently.

  1. Tough stains

Similarly, if you’re dealing with some real stubborn stains from things like bird droppings or environmental fallout, a professional cleaner may be able to bust out heavy-duty (but panel-safe) solutions to get everything sparkling again.

Don’t be afraid to DIY when it comes to basic solar panel cleaning. But also know when to call in the cavalry!

Reddit Advice

The Reddit discussion on cleaning solar panels brings forth a variety of perspectives and insights from solar panel owners and professionals, shedding light on the best practices, advice, and common practices in the community.

Here are the key takeaways:

  1. Avoid Using Coatings Like RainX: Solar panels come with specialized manufacturing coatings designed to reduce reflectivity and maximize light pass-through. Applying additional coatings can interfere with these properties. Most manufacturers recommend cleaning solar panels with just water and a soft cloth, emphasizing the importance of not compromising the panel’s surface integrity.
  2. Less is Often More: Many contributors agree that solar panels require minimal cleaning, suggesting that natural rainfall is sufficient in many areas to keep them clean. Over-cleaning or using harsh methods can damage the panels. Some participants clean their panels as infrequently as once every five years, highlighting the importance of following the manufacturer’s guidelines rather than adhering to a rigid cleaning schedule.
  3. High-Pressure Water and Mild Detergents Can Be Effective: For those in areas with heavy soiling or where bird droppings are a concern, a high-pressure hose and mild detergent like Dawn dish soap can be used. Using a pump sprayer for the soap solution and rinsing with filtered water through a garden hose can prevent mineral buildup and spotting. However, physical brushing should be done with care, using a soft bristle brush if necessary.
  4. Professional Cleaning Services: For those uncomfortable with cleaning solar panels themselves, especially on rooftops, hiring a professional cleaning service is recommended. This approach ensures safety and avoids potential damage to the panels or the property.
  5. Awareness of Voltage Increase When Powering Down: Ironically, shutting down the power to solar panels can actually increase the voltage present on the panels. However, since panels are designed to withstand exposure to elements like rain, using water to clean them should pose no issue to their functionality.
  6. Practical Measures Over Special Products: The consensus leans towards practical and straightforward cleaning methods over specialized products. For instance, using water with a bit of dish soap and a soft cloth or brush is often recommended over commercial cleaning products or treatments that promise enhanced performance or protection.

The main takeaway? You don’t need any special products or tricks to keep your panels in top shape. Stick to basic cleaning with water, maybe a bit of soap, and a soft cloth or brush. Always check the guide that comes with your panels to make sure you’re doing things right.

Basically, keeping your solar panels clean is more about being gentle and using common sense than anything else. Don’t overthink it, and your panels will keep doing their job just fine.

The solar savings are real. Find out yours with our quick and easy calculator.

When to Call in the Pros

As satisfying as DIY solar panel cleaning can be, there are some situations where it makes more sense to bring in professional help.

Here are a few cases where you may want to look into solar panel cleaning services near you:

Massive Installations

If your solar setup is absolutely massive, spanning multiple roof sections or levels, trying to tackle that behemoth on your own is just asking for trouble.

Professional solar panel cleaning crews have the staffing, equipment, and expertise to get even the biggest arrays pristine safely and efficiently.

Hard-to-Reach Areas

Got solar panels installed on a steep, inaccessible part of your roof?

Unless you’re a fan of dangling precariously while scrubbing, this is definitely a job to hand off to the pros. They’ve got specialized gear like hydraulic lifts to get into those tough nooks and crannies.

Extreme Grime Build-Up

Sometimes you’ll encounter stuck-on messes that are just too much for your average bucket of soapy water to handle.

Things like ornery bird droppings, environmental fallout, or years of neglect may call for industrial-strength cleaning agents and power washers that only professionals should handle.

clean your solar panels

Periodic Deep Cleans

Even with regular DIY maintenance, it’s a good idea to schedule professional deep cleans every few years. The experts can use specialized tools and techniques to remove built-up grime and oxidation that your typical scrub session can’t touch.

At the end of the day, properly maintaining your solar panel system is an investment – and sometimes it’s worth paying experts to protect that investment. Don’t be afraid to look into solar panel cleaning services and companies in your area that can handle the tough jobs.

Final Recap

By making solar panel cleaning a regular part of your home maintenance routine, you’re doing your part to maximize the efficiency and lifespan of your clean energy system. That means bigger savings on your utility bills, a smaller carbon footprint, and the satisfaction of knowing you’re a responsible solar panel owner.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your supplies, lace up those sneakers, and get ready to unleash the full potential of your solar setup. Your wallet – and the planet – will thank you.

Remember, regular DIY maintenance is the key to keeping your solar investment in tip-top shape. But don’t hesitate to call in the professionals if you’ve got a particularly complex setup or stubborn grime issues.

Nate is a solar expert with years of hands-on experience. He knows solar tech and sustainable energy inside out. His advice has helped many homeowners and businesses go green. Nate is passionate about eco-friendly living. That's why he's a big voice in the solar community.

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About the Author: Nate Rodda

Nate is a solar expert with years of hands-on experience. He knows solar tech and sustainable energy inside out. His advice has helped many homeowners and businesses go green. Nate is passionate about eco-friendly living. That's why he's a big voice in the solar community.

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