Solar Panel Cleaning 101
How Often Should you Clean Your Solar Panels?
Fortunately, high-efficiency solar panels don’t require constant cleaning. The amount of sunlight lost from dirty panels is not high enough to make a difference.
However, there are times when cleaning your solar panels makes sense.
- If you live on or near a unpaved road as the amount of dirt is higher-than-normal.
- If you live in an area with a high frequency of birds (due to their droppings)
- If you live in a drought prone area, such as eastern San Diego or Murrieta, due to the prevalence of dust.
Do these environmental factors hinder the effectiveness of the solar panels?
The short answer is yes, but as mentioned above, the amount of energy lost is negligible. The dirt, debris, and bird droppings can impact how much sunlight gets through, which is needed to convert the light to energy, though efficiency is only really lowered by 5% or less. So it is a matter of weighing effort to energy loss.
How to Clean Solar Panels?
Most people choose to hire a professional to clean their solar panels, but if you feel up to the challenge, here are the instructions to guide you through the process:
- Fill a bucket with soapy water. Ensure you’re using a cleanser that is gentle (such as dish washing detergent). However, plain water works as well.
- Gently wet down the solar panels. (don’t use a high pressure water attachment).
- With your non-abrasive sponge and soapy water wash down each panel.
- Finish with a good rinse.
Another thing to note is to keep the weather in mind. Solar panels get very hot, so picking a late afternoon or cloudy day would be the best time to clean your solar panels.