When it comes to home maintenance, every homeowner is likely thinking about ways to maintain their exterior without spending a lot of money. For homeowners that have invested in a solar system, keeping them clean and free of anything that would impede them from producing energy is a top priority. Keep reading to learn more about cleaning solar panels as well as the details on how and who should do it.
Do They Need to be Cleaned?
There are some key questions to ask yourself when deciding on how to clean solar panels. The first question is simple: Do you actually need to? The answer may surprise you.
Solar panels weren’t designed to break down easily. As a matter of fact, a study conducted by The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (OEERE) revealed that most solar panels can withstand up to 140 mph winds. Those same centers also found that panels typically weren’t damaged, even after hail—the size of ping pong balls no less—were fired at them at 70 mph.
How does that relate to whether or not your solar panels need to be cleaned? It means that solar panels will likely withstand typical conditions and the need to maintain and clean them has more to do with their efficiency. If a panel is obscured by shade or a heavy layer of debris, for example, that will impact its performance worse than a hail storm.
When considering whether or not it’s time to clean your solar panels, think about this:
Does It Rain A Lot Where You Live?
If you live in an area that gets a healthy amount of rainfall, you may be able to rely on Mother Nature to keep your solar panels clean year-round. However, it’s also important to consider what your solar panels may be attracting—for example, if they’re just getting dusty, rain can keep them clean. But, if your home is susceptible to pollen buildup, bird droppings, foliage, and hazy film from smoke or smog, your solar panels may need to be cleaned.
What Does Your Roof Look Like?
When considering whether or not your solar panels need to be cleaned, it’s best to consider your roof’s makeup. If your panels lay flat or between zero and five degrees, they are more likely to accumulate dust and debris than a home with a more angular roof. Many roofs in the United States are angular, but the convenience, price point, and aesthetics of flat or nearly flat roofs have become popular over the years. This can sometimes pose a problem with keeping solar panels clean. This alone may require the solar panels for your home to be cleaned more frequently.
Should You Hire A Professional or Do-It-Yourself?
For those who need to keep solar panels clean of debris, the debate of doing it yourself or having them professionally cleaned can be tough. Even one-story homes with a flat roof can pose a danger to homeowners who don’t have access to stairs and railings, so we typically recommend leaving this DIY chore to the professionals.
If Professionals Aren’t an Option
For those who aren’t able to hire professionals, there are some things to be aware of while you clean your solar panels. Keep reading for our tips on cleaning your own solar panels.
- First and foremost, safety first. Make sure that your roof can support the added weight of your solar system as well as you and anyone helping. In addition to having someone else present, you’ll want to ensure that your shoes are appropriate and won’t slip on your roof material.
- Use purified water and the right equipment. This prevents chemicals and build up from getting on your panels after they are washed. Using proper equipment will prevent damage to your solar panels as well, so be sure that you choose a brush that isn’t abrasive and will fit an extension pole.
- Choose the right cleaner. As we mentioned above, solar panels are durable. But, they aren’t indestructible, and chemicals can sometimes be damaging. We recommend simple, mild soap or a solution of vinegar, mild soap and purified water to gently lift debris and dirt from your solar panels without causing damage.
Why Hire Us
We leverage the same process as we do during exterior window cleaning and use quality cleaners as well as our purified water system to clean solar panels. To loosen the dirt and debris, we use a soft bristle brush and follow that up with a purified water rinse to clean. This is the best method because we aren’t using high pressure or any harsh chemicals that could damage your panels.
Additionally, our staff are trained to safely climb and clean without putting themselves, or you or your property, in danger. We’re also fully insured and a professional home cleaning service who can ensure that the exterior of your home, from the top of the roof to the foundation, is pristine.
A solar system is an expensive investment that typically has a great return. For business owners and homeowners, keeping solar panels clean and in good working order is a priority. We go over those in the article above, and have answered some of the most popular questions about cleaning your solar panels below!
What is the best thing to clean solar panels with?
When doing it yourself, it’s best to clean solar panels with a gentle solution of vinegar, mild soap, and purified water. Because these ingredients lack the abrasiveness of many harsher chemicals, it’s less likely that they will damage the surface or frame of a solar array.
Can I clean solar panels myself?
You can, but we typically don’t recommend it. Dangerous falls can happen from one-story homes just as easily as they can from higher roofs. It’s best to leave this task, and any task involving your roof, to professionals.
Does cleaning your solar panels make a difference?
This depends largely on where you are at. Areas that don’t experience a lot of falling debris or build-up likely won’t need solar panel cleaning. Areas with significant build-up, however, such as the warm, humid southeastern United States, may require cleaning to boost solar panel efficiency and energy output.
Can you use Windex on solar panels?
We don’t typically recommend it. Commercial over-the-counter cleaners have abrasive chemicals that may impact the surface integrity of different glasses. While solar panels are quite durable, we recommend avoiding cleaning solutions that have proven to damage glass in the past.