Wondering how to best spring clean your solar panels? Though solar panels need limited solar maintenance, it makes good sense to clean them now before summer arrives. Here are some tips about cleaning your panels to help keep solar energy production high.
Solar Panels naturally get dirty over time from dust and other pollutants floating around in the Valley of the Sun air. If you live near construction sites or industrial areas, panels will collect even more dust, dirt, and debris. And let’s not forget bird poop! It can contribute to reduced solar production and can cause hot spots on panels.
Depending on how dirty your panels are, spring cleaning them can increase energy production by 5% to 10%. In some instances, you can review your systems monitoring data from microinverters and power optimizers to see if the system is producing less energy or pinpoint specific panels with issues.
Tips Before Cleaning
Whether your panels are installed on a slant or flat, the first thing to do is see if the solar panel manufacturing company has specific recommendations on how to best clean panels.
Turn off the power switch before you clean your panels to make sure the solar panels won’t be damaged by water inside the junction box, any exposed wiring, or broken panel seals. New PVC systems have a red button you can push inside the rapid shutdown box.
- Panels get extremely hot during the day. Consider cleaning panels very early in the morning, early evening, or on an overcast day.
- Rinsing off solar panels from the ground using a garden hose is the safest way. You may need to spray panels two to three times to remove grime and bird droppings.
- Don’t stand on solar modules as they will break or cause microcracks. Staying on the ground and avoiding climbing ladders or stepping onto the roof dramatically lessens the risk of falling.
- Use a sponge on a long handle or a soft brush specifically designed to scrub solar panels. Abrasive materials can scratch glass surfaces reducing performance.
- Avoid using water with a high mineral content as mineral deposits may build-up over time on the panels. Don’t use hot or cold water to clean panels as the temperature difference may result in surface cracks.
If you want to potentially avoid damage to your solar system and don’t feel comfortable cleaning solar panels on your home’s roof, contacting a professional solar installer may be your best bet. They’ll make certain the job is professionally done giving you peace of mind.