Maybe you are the one who has solar panels in your house and you love enjoying the benefits of solar panels as your electricity bill gets minimized. You are so benefited from solar panels that you advise your friends to make an investment in them. You also tell, how it affects the environment positively. Any avid solar panel user is always curious to know do solar panels need to be cleaned is the most requested question. Let’s answer this question for you and your friends in this blog.
Do Solar Panels Need to be Cleaned?
A simple answer to do solar panels need to be cleaned is Yes but not too often. It should be noted that how regularly you clean your solar panels is dependent on which area you live in or the time of year. Living in an environment with minimum rainfall could make you clean your solar panels more regularly than someone who lives in an area with a maximum rainfall percentage. To maintain the proper function and efficiency of your solar panels you should make a habit of cleaning them regularly.
How Often Do Solar Panels Need To Be Cleaned?
You know the answer to do solar panels need to be cleaned. Now, you would wonder how often do solar panels need to be cleaned. It is generally advised to clean your solar panels about 2 to 4 times a year or at least in every 6 months to maintain the productivity and efficiency of your solar panels. However, the need for cleaning depends on the area you live and the level of dirt and pollution your solar panels are facing.
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Do Roof Mounted Solar Panels Need to be Cleaned?
Solar panels get a potential 30 percent energy loss per year if they are not cleaned properly. If your solar panels have a layer of dust, and pollution the output of your system decreases and it generally limits the efficiency of your solar panels. Rain act as a sufficient medium to clean your solar panels as long as you have not placed them entirely flat. So, the answer for do roof mounted solar panels need to be cleaned is yes.
You may have a thick layer of dirt, and dust covered on your solar system if your house containing solar panels is close to factories or busy highways, where the wind blows a high rate of dust on them. On the same hand, if your area of location is where rainfall is minimum then you must manually clean your panels as dirt accumulates more frequently. It is also advised to keep a check on your panels before and after the rain to make sure that they are clean or not.
How Much Does It Cost to Clean Solar Panels?
You now know the answer to do roof mounted solar panels need to be cleaned? Now, let us see how much does it cost to clean solar panels. The average cost of professionally cleaning solar panels is $150-$330. The price always varies based on the size of the solar panels, the amount of work required, the height of your roof, and the area/location. Per panel cleaning bill varies between $15-$35. You have to schedule cleanings at least twice a year and after any extreme weather conditions. For example, after a rare New England hurricane, to ensure efficient and safe solar panel usage.
Solar panel cleaning costs are relatively inexpensive but it can be a complex task to take on. Make sure to hire professionals who are careful to reference your particular panels’ cleaning and maintenance guide while working, so that your panels are safe. Professional cleaners are also required to take special care not to damage the delicate nature of home solar panels by using only clean water and a sponge to wash the panels gently in circular motions. Expert cleaners also take special care not to use harmful chemicals and cleaning solutions as they are harmful.
You may also wish to clean your home’s solar panels yourself, but it is strongly discouraged as you know how much does it cost to clean solar panels and it is not so expensive. Unless done by a trained professional, solar power cleaning tasks is complicated and even very dangerous, if mishandled. Solar panels are sensitive, and the slightest misstep can cause expensive damage. It is hurting your wallet and your energy investment. Professional solar panel experts also perform quick inspections while they clean and inform you of any potential damages for necessary repairs and replacements.
In case, If you decide to clean your solar panels on your own, it is very important to keep in mind that you never use soap, as it can leave a visible residue and can cause dirt to stick and build up on your panels.
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How to Clean Solar Panels on Roof Automatically?
Your solar panels can be cleaned automatically. So let us see how to clean solar panels on roof automatically. For automatic cleaning, an atmospheric water generator is provided which includes the steps of generating water by using the atmospheric water generator. The water can be stored for cleaning operations. The system monitors the efficiency of solar panels and if the efficiency of your solar panels drops below a certain level that indicates that your solar panels are dirty. In such cases, your system will automatically start a cleaning procedure and the pipes and nozzles are used to pump stored water into the solar panels to make it clean. The system uses a portion of the power generated to perform the cleaning and water generation procedure and these are a few ways through which now you know how to clean solar panels on roof automatically is done.
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How to Clean Solar Panels from the Ground?
You are already about how often do solar panels need to be cleaned and that is at least in 6 months. So, you should know how to clean solar panels from the ground and follow these steps:
Step 1: Switch Off the System
Make sure that your system is completely shut down according to the shutdown procedure outlined in the user handbook.
Step 2: Soft Brush Must be Used for Removing the Dust
Cleaning solar panels manually is the best way. The easiest way is to dust the solar panels with a premium quality soft brush. You can also use a squeegee which contains a plastic blade on one side, and a sponge covered with a cloth on the other side, with a long extension arm. You must take care of the bristles that are used to clean the panels. Always avoid anything that is not soft dust particles that accumulate as it might damage the plates. If you live far away from the factories or areas where there are not many dust particles in the air then dusting the panels with brush and without water will be sufficient.
Step 3: Spray Clean
Solar panels can be cleaned by using a water hose with optimum water pressure. A nozzle is used in the water hose to control the pressure of the water and while using the water to clean the panel, it is necessary to check the temperature as the difference between the temperature of solar panels and water should not be more. Excessive temperature differences might lead to the glass cracking of the solar panels. A water hose is a traditional way to clean solar panels as you can control the amount of water you want to use.
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Step 4: Scrub the Dirt Areas
It is advised to remove the dirt or dust by scrubbing the solar panel with a soft brush to ensure that it don not get damaged. If your solar panel is covered with only dust then you can clean the surface of the panel with a soft brush and water to further clean the area. However, dirt such as bird poop cannot be cleaned by just spraying water, so, you can use mild soap to remove it, but, it would be best if you avoid any shampoos as it contains chemicals because they might react negatively with the solar panels.
Step 5: Monitoring the Solar Output After Cleaning
After cleaning the solar panel you must measure the effectiveness as the cleaning procedure has not affected it. It is measured by checking its working and the amount of electricity produced. If it is working perfectly then your cleaning procedure has been successful.
However, if you do not clean your solar panels regularly or are not cleaning for many months, then dirt accumulated on the panels could not be removed quickly. For this, you should contact a professional if needed.
Step 6: Contact Professionals for Maintenance and Complex Cleaning
Solar panels are exposed to extreme pollution, different weather conditions, bird poop, snowfall, and sometimes, even insects get stuck inside the panels which makes them dirty. If all this dirt is not cleaned properly then the solar panels will lose their efficiency. Sometimes, it is not possible to clean it manually, so, in that case, it is necessary to take help from a professional.
A professional knows how to clean solar panels from the ground with all terms and conditions kept in mind so that your system would not face any damage. Moreover, the solar system needs regular checking and maintenance from to deliver electricity for a longer duration of time.
Also See: Why Do Solar Panels Degrade?
Do Solar Panels Need To Be Switched Off Before Cleaning?
Yes, solar panels need to turn off before cleaning as it is an electrical appliances. It is advised to switch it off to avoid the risk of electric shocks.
Is Rain Enough To Clean The Solar Panels?
Regular rainfall can wash away dust and keep solar panels producing around 95% of their maximum capacity. You might notice that solar panels in areas with frequent rainfall would require less manual cleaning and maintenance. Pollens, leaves, bird droppings, hazy film, and ash can form a thin layer in your panels which may or may not be washed away in the rain. In that case, rain is not sufficient for cleaning. Rain is only the right decision if you are living in an area with very frequent rainfall.
The combination of chilly water and heated glass might be the risk of cracking panels due to sudden fluctuations in temperature. On the other hand, if the panels are washed using soapy water exposed and are exposed to the scorching heat of the sun it will leave a residue on the panels that will reduce their effectiveness. The best time to clean solar panels is in the early morning or when it is cool as the dew that has collected on the solar panels overnight, softened the dirt which will require less water and energy to clean them. If you are unable to clean your solar panels early in the morning then you could also opt for a cold evening. So, yes, solar panels need to be cleaned at regular intervals.
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