For best solar power generation, solar panels should be exposed to maximum sunlight. Dust and dirt can reduce the amount of light received by the panels, which would reduce their efficiency and reliability. Therefore, residential solar panel users must understand how to maintain their solar panels. Read on for a short tutorial on how to clean solar panels safely.
Essentials for safety and cleaning
To maintain your solar panels without damaging them, you will need non-abrasive, non-corrosive cleaners and other tools listed below:
- An extension ladder, helmet, and harness when working at elevated heights
- A sponge, soft cloth, soft brush and/or squeegee
- A bucket of water or a garden hose connected to a tap
- Mild dish soap
Before cleaning, recognize the risks
The two most important things to think about before cleaning your solar panels are your safety and the safety of the PV modules. In particular, solar panels mounted on high roofs pose a fall hazard to personal safety, which could lead to injuries such as broken bones or even disability. For this reason, it is crucial to clean the panels while wearing safety equipment comparable to that used for installation.
The integrity of the solar panels is also important. They can be easily damaged during cleaning as they are constructed with fragile materials like glass and other electrical parts. It is advisable to consult the cleaning guidelines provided by the manufacturer and to purchase the appropriate cleaning products.
To clean your panels, follow these simple steps:
First, unplug the solar panels.
To avoid electric shock, solar panels should be turned off before cleaning. Be sure to completely shut down your solar PV system according to the instructions in your user manual.
Second, clean up debris and dirt.
Your solar panels can become covered in dust, mud and debris, blocking their exposure to the sun and decreasing their efficiency by up to 30%. Using the soft bristle brush, remove dirt and debris. To avoid breaking or scratching, be careful when brushing the glass from the panels. Gentle scrubbing can help with stubborn stains and dirt.
The third step is to rinse the panels.
The solar panels should then be cleaned of all dirt and debris using water from a garden hose. It is best to use low water pressure when washing dirt off your panels, as strong jets of water could damage the delicate glass.
Fourth, scrub the tough dirt.
After the first cleaning and rinsing cycle, stubborn dirt and stains may still be present. Generally, it is effective to apply dish soap (or vinegar) to the panels and scrub stubborn stains with a soft brush and sponge. In order to get rid of the dirt and grime stuck in the small crevices of the solar panels, it is advisable to use a squeegee. Finally, use the garden hose again to rinse the panels of soap residue.
The last step is to test your system.
After cleaning, make sure the solar system is working properly. Reconnect the solar panels to the home’s electrical system and keep an eye on power production for a while. If after cleaning you notice any problems with your solar panels, it is a good idea to seek professional advice.
Still need to go solar?
You should consider a DIY project if you want to convert your home to solar power. By doing the installation yourself, you can save money on both the installation and your monthly electricity costs. Start your project today with DIY Solar Power or contact one of our experts with any questions and we can guide you to the best options for your home.