How To Clean Solar Panels

How To Clean Solar Panels

The rise of solar panels has been evident recently mostly because of the many benefits that come with switching to solar energy. For one, it can significantly reduce the cost of your monthly electricity bills. It's eco-friendly as well and if you're a camper or road trip fan, installing RV solar panels on your ride and pairing it with a good lithium battery will allow for easy off-grid camping anytime. However, as with all types of power sources, it needs proper maintenance to keep it functioning efficiently and this includes cleaning it every now and then.

What causes dirty solar panels? For fixed solar panels mounted on the roof or flexible solar panels on recreational vehicles like caravans, bird poop is one of the culprits. Accumulated dust over time is also another reason especially if the solar panels are installed near industrial complexes or construction sites. Meanwhile, solar panels installed in farms are more prone to fertiliser and nitrogen particle build-up that causes corrosion. Generally, exposure to pollutants floating in the air causes dirt regardless of your solar panel typesyes even portable ones such as folding solar panels or solar blankets even though you only take them out when needed.

Aside from the fact that dirty solar panels aren't really appealing to look at, it can also cause a decline in your panels' overall efficiency. Regular cleaning of solar panels actually helps improve their energy production by 5-10%, which will also improve your energy bills in return Larger solar panel setups, on the other hand, might need more frequent cleaning and in some cases, require professional solar panel cleaning services.

How Often Do You Need To Clean Solar Panels?

The usual recommended time frame for cleaning solar panels is 6 to 12 months. However, if your solar panels' dirt has been affecting energy production already, it's best to start cleaning them. You can monitor this easily by getting advanced monitoring systems equipped with microinverters and power optimisers. Take note that flat solar panels usually need to be inspected more often because this type is resistant to self-cleaning with rain as the water tends to settle on the panels instead of sliding off.

How to Clean Solar Panels

Best Ways To Clean Solar Panels

Solar panel cleaning is not that hard, but they require specific tools and products to ensure that you will not end up damaging them. Below are some of the most ideal ways of cleaning your solar panels.

A good, lengthy water hose: Nothing beats a good sprinkle of water from a ground-level hose. It should be long enough to reach your roof solar panels, so it's safer for you as well since you won't have to climb up on anything. Unless you have something that unfortunately, is really stuck on your solar panels, two or three passes of the water hose should do the job.

How to Clean Solar Panels

Isopropyl alcohol: Tough stains? You might need to go up the roof for this, armed with a washcloth and isopropyl alcohol. Rub it carefully to remove the dirt as well as oily smudges. Make sure you don't substitute soap for alcohol to avoid leaving residue that will only attract more dirt. Also, be extra careful not to stand on the solar modules or apply pressure on them to prevent cracks and to keep you safe too.

Gentle brushes: Soft brushes are the only brushes acceptable for cleaning solar panels. Anything tougher than it like steel brushes might do more harm than good. If you're using a plastic brush, soften the brushes with water first for gentler scrubbing. Once you're done with this, finish up with a squeegee for a flawless clean.

Back to blog