Do Solar Panels Need to Be Cleaned?

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One of the questions we often get from homeowners is, “Do solar panels need to be cleaned?” It’s understandable as no one wants to climb onto their roof for regular maintenance.
It’s true that solar panels work most effectively when they are clean. Those that are covered in dirt and debris are not as effective at converting sunlight to electricity. However, in most cases, the loss of power from minor dirt buildup is small – from 1 to 5 percent, but long-term buildup of dirt can have a greater impact on energy generation.

Maintenance of Solar Panels

While the greater Phoenix area doesn’t get as much rain as other locales, it does get enough to wash away much of the dirt that accumulates on rooftop solar panels. However, during monsoon season, which runs from the beginning of July through September, dust storms can cause enough buildup to warrant the need for professional cleaning.

DIY Cleaning

If you want to tackle the job of cleaning your home’s solar panels, you’ll want to use a soft-bristle brush with an extended handle, such as one that you would use to clean a recreational vehicle. Use an eco-friendly soap and soft water to wash away dirt. For areas of panels that are hard to access, you can also use a high-pressure hose nozzle with an attachment that holds soap.

Other tips for do-it-yourselfers include:

  • Don’t go on your roof without a sturdy, secure ladder and fall-protection equipment.
  • Turn off your system before you begin cleaning panels. Not sure how to do that? Call Cool Blew Solar for guidance.
  • Don’t use hard water which can lead to mineral deposit buildup on panels.
  • Don’t use abrasive brushes or cleansers which can cause scratching of panel surfaces.
  • Clean panels in the morning before they heat up.
  • Do a monthly visual inspection of your panels to gauge the amount of dirt buildup.
  • Check your utility bill for any measurable drops in efficiency potentially caused by dirt accumulation.
  • Don’t take chances. If you’re not sure if you can safely clean your solar panels, don’t do it! Call in the professionals.

Have more questions about solar panels for your home? Call the experts at Cool Blew Solar.