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Cleaning Solar Panels: What Homeowners Need To Know

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Cleaning Solar Panels: What Homeowners Need To Know

While one of the benefits of solar panels is how low maintenance they are for homeowners, they still need occasional upkeep. But what do homeowners need to know about cleaning solar panels? We explain why, how often, and how to best clean your home’s solar panel system below.

Do I Need To Clean My Solar Panels?

Simply put, most homeowners need to clean their solar panels regularly. While manufacturers build solar panels to withstand the rigors of weather and the elements, they can accumulate dirt, dust, pollen, leaves, and even bird droppings over time.

All these contaminants are more than just an eyesore—they could be why your solar panels aren’t producing enough energy. The more dirt and contaminants on the panels, the less solar energy they can harvest. Keeping them clean is in every homeowner’s best interest.

How Often Should I Clean My Solar Panels?

How often an owner should clean their panels depends on many factors, like the system’s design, location, local weather, and other factors. Sloped panels allow rain and contaminants to slide off their surface, so they generally require less maintenance than flat or low-slope options.

Also, if you live in an area with a lot of dirt or dust in the air, like the American Southwest, there will naturally be more dirt accumulation and a greater need for regular cleanings. Typically, solar panel manufacturers and installers recommend cleanings every six months. But, if you ever notice a bird relieved itself on your panels, you should clean them immediately.

How Do I Clean My Home’s Solar Panels?

Now that homeowners know the necessity and frequency of cleaning solar panels, let’s discuss the how on cleaning the panels.

What You’ll Need

Thankfully for homeowners, cleaning solar panels is relatively easy and only requires basic cleaning supplies like a garden hose, a bucket of water, dish soap, a soft rag, and a squeegee. Avoid using cold water in the summer, as cold water on the panel’s hot surface can cause cracking. Also, avoid using hard brushes with stiff bristles—they could scratch the panel’s surface.

The Best Time To Clean Solar Panels

If you’re cleaning your panels in the middle of summer, you’ll want to do so either in the evening or early morning. Otherwise, the panels can get quite hot, and splashing cold water on them will increase crack risks. The soap can also dry before you wipe it away and leave a residue.

How To Clean Solar Panels

Once you gather your supplies and plan the ideal cleaning time, cleaning the panels is straightforward. Simply splash them with lukewarm water, apply your dish soap, and use a rag. Rinse and squeegee the excess water off. Repeat until you remove all the dirt, dust, and contaminants.

As you can see, cleaning a home’s solar panels regularly is important, but luckily for the owners, it doesn’t take much effort. With some basic supplies and a few minutes of your time, your solar panels can harvest solar energy just like the day you installed them.

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