Skip to Content

How To Clean a Solar Panel

How To Clean a Solar Panel

According to the Solar Energy Power Association, solar panel loses twenty percent of energy performance because of a dirty solar panel.

Solar panels are exposed to dust, pollution, and bird droppings. It prevents light to enter the solar cells. Over time exposure to UV rays and adverse weather, fluctuations are the reason behind less solar energy output.

Maintaining the PV panels has many important benefits apart from just making them shiny. Clean solar panel:

  • Increase in the output: The solar panel wholly works when UV rays enter the panel. The pollution blocks the sunlight. Eventually decreasing the efficiency of the system. Regular or weekly cleaning can make the system work at its optimum capacity. 
  • Increased durability: Installing a solar panel is a huge investment. Dirty solar panels can reduce the PV panel productivity. it will deteriorate the lifespan of the panel. Not cleaning the solar modules can lead to a huge loss in your investment. 
  • Less electricity consumption: You can save your utility bills with the help of solar panel cleaning. Regular cleaning advances the solar panel system potency. It will lead to less electricity consumption, saving energy.

Caution To Follow

  • Never scrub the solar panel. It will damage the non-reflective coating on the layer.
  • Avoid using a high-pressure washer.
  • Clean the PV array in the early morning or evening. When the panels are not very hot.
  • Using a sharp tool while washing the solar panel is a big no.
  • Avoid the use of harsh chemical agents.
  • Avoid abrasive sponges. Use a soft-bristled tool to clean the sheet.
  • Check instructions before starting to clean the panel manually.
  • Turn the power off the solar panel before starting to clean.

Best Way To Clean Solar Panel

Only rainwater is not enough to remove stubborn grime in the solar panel. You can depend on rainwater if your area is not polluted. Consider the better alternative suggested below.

Cleaning the Solar Panel Manually

Cleaning the Solar Panel Manually

It is possible to clean a solar panel by yourself. The majority of homeowners choose to do it themselves to save on the cost of a professional cleaner. Before cleaning the panel, there are some safety measures you need to follow:

  • Use the harness to prevent falling to the ground.
  • Use a hard hat to protect the head.
  • Use a ladder to climb up the roof.
  • Use a garden hose to clean the panel.

For Minimal Dust Build-Up

You will need a garden hose with a low-pressure jet to remove minimal dust and grime accumulation in the panel.
Spray the water all over. Soak the water with a squeegee. Make sure to let it dry in the sun.

For Maximum Grime Build-Up

If you are located around commercial areas. It is common for grease to build up in the PV panels array. It is necessary to give a proper scrubbing if you notice sticky grease and bird droppings.

Use Soap and Water

Soap and water can effectively wash off stains and spots in the panel. With the help of mild soap and cool water, clean the panel using a low-pressure hose. 

You will need :

  • Soapy water
  • Garden hose
  • Soft-bristled brush 
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  1. First of all, turn Off the system
  2. Make a solution of mild detergent and water.
  3. Use a garden hose to wash off the dirt and lower its pressure.
  4. Use a soft-bristled brush or cloth to prevent the panel from being scratched
  5. With a high-quality sponge, absorb the remaining water
  6. Let the panel air dry.
Use Vinegar Solution

If you want to clean your panel with non-abrasive natural cleaner. You can opt for vinegar and water solution. It helps to clean the stubborn stain like bird droppings and grease.

You will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Mild detergent
  • Soft brush
  • Soft sponge
  • Garden hose
  1. Shut down the system.
  2. Get 1/4 cup of vinegar and 2 cups of water and half a teaspoon of mild detergent.
  3. Put the solution in a spray bottle. 
  4. Spray the solution onto the stain.
  5. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove the stain.
  6. Use a low pressured garden hose to clean the remaining dust.
  7. Dry the residue water with a high-quality soft sponge.
  8. Let the panel air dry.

Using automated technologies

Robotics technology has provided automatic and semi-automatic washing systems for solar panels. With the help of these technologies, you can save time and effort. 

Installing a Sprinkler System

If you do not have time to climb up to your roof to clean the panel. You can install the automated sprinkler system. It will ensure to wash off dust and debris frequently. 

This is an innovative system to save energy on your solar panel. it is very easy to assemble and operate. Plus, it can be customized according to any location or area. This technology helps you to clean the panel without having to check it from time to time. 

Robotic Cleaners

The autonomous robotic solar cleaner is a portable and wireless machine. It uses caterpillar wheel motion to clean the solar panel effectively. By using RF remote you can control its movement data. 

It is attached with a roller brush and a water sprayer. The water sprayer must be connected to the water tank to supply enough water to wash the panel. Its microfiber brushes are soft and safe for the panels. 

The solar panel cleaning robots ensure the cleaning of the dust and debris on the panel. This leads to more energy output. The risk of getting injured is less if you install a robot cleaning solution.

Calling a Professional Solar Panel Cleaner

Calling a Professional Solar Panel Cleaner

When the panel is installed on a steep roof and is hazardous to clean it yourself. It is a better idea to call experts for maintenance. Professional solar cleaners use effective and suitable tools to clean the panels. You can agree to call the experts:

  • In case your solar is stationed on a steep roof in a risky position.
  • If you are inexperienced and do not have the proper equipment.
  • Bird droppings and grease accumulated in the bottom of panels are difficult to remove.
  • If you have no time for cleaning and maintenance.
  • If you have a warranty on your solar panel purchase. Solar companies offer to clean it for free for some time.

Maintaining Solar Panels

The maintenance of the solar panel varies according to the location and weather. The different places produce different amounts of pollution. You can clean the solar panel weekly, monthly or yearly according to the site it is stationed. It is better to regularly clean a solar panel. It will save it from cracks and other risks.

  • Nearby commercial sites: It is common to have a high level of dust and dirt collected in the panel around industry and construction sites. The grease produced by these construction sites is very tough to remove. It is a good idea to call a professional in this case. It is also better to choose automated technologies for effective washing.
  • Residential area: The residential location is surrounded by trees. Bird droppings and leaves are usually things you can spot. You can use household methods to clean the panel by yourself. You will need an extra elbow grease for bird droppings, however. You can take help from experts if the stains are tough to remove.
  • Desert areas: Desert areas have a high level of dust storms. It is better to wash your panel with a garden hose regularly.
  • Bad weather: If you live in an area with bad weather, it is better to clean it from time to time. Snowy weather can fill the panels with snow. The snow blocks the sunlight to enter the cells. It should be safely cleaned to increase the panel’s productivity. Wind storms on the other hand can stockpile debris and leaves. You need to clean them to restore their capabilities.
  • Fire and other risks: Fire hazards areas like forests and industries can affect the lifespan and efficiency of a solar panel. Ashes and fire are a great risk. It is better to hire professionals in this kind of case.