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Cleaning solar panels and increasing their efficiency

Dust, pollen, or bird droppings can build up on solar panels, reducing their efficiency.

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Clean solar panels efficiently

Solar panels are an excellent way to get clean, renewable energy from the sun. But over time, they can get dirty due to dust, pollen, bird droppings, and other things that reduce their performance and efficiency. For this reason, you will need to clean it every now and then.

Why should solar panels be cleaned?

Cleaning solar panels can help them produce more electricity and save money. According to one study, dirt buildup on solar panels can reduce electricity production by up to 25%. Another study found that cleaning baseboards in the middle of the summer can save about 20$ per year.

How often should solar panels be cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning solar panels depends on several factors, such as location, climate, tilt angle, type of panels, etc. In general, solar panels installed in areas with little rainfall and high dust levels may need more frequent cleaning than those in areas with high rainfall and low levels of dust and pollution. Likewise, tilted solar panels may need less cleaning than horizontal ones, because the tilt angle causes dust and dirt to slide off. In addition, some types of solar panels come with a coating that prevents dust and dirt buildup, reducing the need for manual cleaning.

To determine when your solar panels need cleaning, you should perform a monthly visual inspection of them. Look for any noticeable accumulation of dust or stains. You can also check its performance. If you notice any decrease in the amount of electricity it produces, you may need to clean it.

The best time to clean solar panels

The best time to clean solar panels is early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun is not too bright and the panels are not too hot. Cleaning solar panels during the day when they are exposed to direct sunlight can cause thermal shock, which is a sudden change in temperature that can damage them.

You should avoid cleaning solar panels during extreme weather conditions such as strong winds, heavy rain, or snow, as these conditions may pose a safety risk. So, wait for a clear day to clean the panels.

The best ways to clean solar panels

There are different ways to clean solar panels depending on your preferences, budget, and accessibility. 

The most popular techniques:

  • Water hose and soft cloth or sponge: This is the simplest and most cost-effective method. Use a water hose and a soft cloth or sponge dampened with soapy water and gently wipe any dirt from the surface of the boards. No abrasive chemicals should be used. Rinse the panels well with water.
  • Use a soft brush: If you find stains on the panels that are difficult to remove, such as bird droppings, use a soft brush to remove them. When doing this, be careful not to scratch or put pressure on the surface of the panels.
  • Use a wiping stick: If you don't have access to the solar panels, you can use a wiping stick to clean them. It is recommended to purchase a mop wand to which a hose can be attached to spray water while cleaning.
  • Request a professional cleaning service: If you are not confident in your ability to clean solar panels, you can request the service of a solar panel installation technician to do it for you. This person has the proper equipment, training, and experience to clean solar panels safely and adequately. But you need to make sure that he knows this well and understands the instructions of the panel manufacturer.

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Important tips - cleaning solar panels

When cleaning solar panels, you should follow these tips to ensure you don't hurt yourself or the panels:

  • Check the manufacturer's recommended cleaning instructions.
  • Before cleaning, turn off the solar power system.
  • Wear appropriate protective equipment such as gloves and appropriate shoes.
  • Do not go up to the roof unless you have appropriate safety equipment.
  • Make sure the surface can support your weight before boarding.
  • Do not clean solar panels during peak solar hours because they are hot. This can cause thermal shock and damage it.
  • Use moderate-temperature water, and do not spray cold water on hot panels or hot water on hard panels. This can cause thermal shock.
  • Do not use any abrasive materials or tools as they may scratch the surface of the panels. This includes hard metal sponges, bleach, ammonia, vinegar, etc.

By following these tips and tricks, you can keep your solar panels clean and efficient and enjoy the benefits of solar energy for years to come.