How to Clean Your Solar PanelsFire Mountain Solar
To keep your solar panels operating at peak efficiency, they will likely need occasional cleaning to remove dust, pollen, animal droppings and other grime that builds over time. Dirty solar panels are less efficient because the dirt blocks some of the available sunlight, so keeping your panels clean means your solar panels will produce the most power.
The frequency of cleaning will depend on your location and the time of year. Seasonal rain and snow melt usually washes off any dirt or animal droppings. But if you are in an area that gets little precipitation, or where you seasonally get high soiling from something like pollen or nearby agricultural activity, you will need to clean them periodically.
Cleaning a pole or ground mount system is relatively easy and safe. However, if you have a rooftop solar system, and particularly on a multi-story building, it is important that you use a secure ladder, scaffolding or a lift, and proper fall protection gear.
- Clean early in the morning, in the evening or on an overcast day when your solar panels are cool. Cleaning them
- while they are hot will result in rapid evaporation and smearing. In addition, rapid cooling of the aluminum frames could result in module damage.
- Turn your system off before you start cleaning to protect it. If you don’t know how to turn it off, refer to your owner’s manual or call Fire Mountain Solar.
- Use water and a soft, non-abrasive brush or a squeegee with a telescoping handle. A flow-through handle will also make cleaning a lot easier.
- Avoid using hard or mineral rich water as it can damage solar panels over time. If your tap water is hard you can buy an inexpensive water-softening hose attachment.
- If there is a stubborn film, either from pollen or other airborne particulates you can utilize a cleaning product with the following features so you don’t damage your panels:
- pH Neutral
- If using a high-pressure water nozzle don’t get too close to your solar panels. They are extremely durable, but you don’t want to risk damaging them.
Other cleaning tips:
- To remove tough, caked on materials utilize a nylon pan scraper. NEVER use a metal scraper as you will scratch the glass surface.
- Remove caked on materials first. The modules will clean easier without this additional material present.
- Please note that products like Rain-X should NEVER be used on solar panels. Rain-X specifically lists that their product should not be used for solar applications.
A final note: Don’t expose yourself to any risk. If you have any doubts about whether or not you can safely clean panels, hire a professional. May window washing companies now offer solar panel cleaning services for a reasonable fee.