- Make sure it’s nice, cool weather
While cleaning solar panels in the hot sun isn’t pleasant, there’s an important reason for this step. If you’ve ever cleaned your car on a scorching hot day, you’ll know why! Because your solar panels are made of glass they get hot easily, expanding slightly with the heat. Once you splash cold water over the top your solar panels will cool rapidly, and if the difference in temperature is too great they’re likely to crack! This same thing happens with car windows and other glass and is especially common in Australia. The best days to clean your solar panels are days with overcast, cloudy weather, or in the cooler summer evenings.
- Shut down your solar power system
While your solar panels can handle a bit of water, it’s better to be safe. Completely shutting down your solar panel system will ensure there’s no risk of electrocution and will let you clean your panels without worrying. Your solar panels should shut down from the main switch near your inverter. If you can’t find the shutdown switch, check your manual or contact your installer.
- Make sure your roof is safe to walk on
If you plan on getting up on your roof to clean your panels, you need to make sure it’s safe. Water can make roof tiles or panels incredibly slippery and turn an otherwise sturdy roof into a hazard. Before cleaning, make sure your roof is safe to work on and you have appropriate safety equipment to stop you from falling. If possible, your best option is to clean your solar panels from the ground using a scrubbing pole or by spraying water on them.
- Only Clean the Front of Your Solar Panels
Sure, your solar panels are exposed to the elements 24/7, but that doesn’t mean they’re built to handle water everywhere. Cleaning only the top of your panels (the solar cells) will ensure you don’t accidentally get water in places it’s not supposed to be!
- Scrub With a Cloth and Soap
If there’s still stubborn grime on your panels you can use a cloth and some soap to scrub it off. You don’t need anything special, just remember not to push too hard as it can damage the panels. Following up your soap scrubbing with a rinse and squeegee will leave them sparkling clean! Whatever you do, don’t use a pressure cleaner as this can damage your solar panels. Only in extreme cases of caked-on dirt, mould and moss should you pressure clean, and even then there are better options.
- Still Dirty? Call a Professional!
If you’ve tried and still can’t get all the dirt off, it might be time to call in the professionals! Professional solar panel cleaners carry a range of tools designed to clean solar panels effectively and safely. If you’re not confident cleaning your panels or don’t have the tools or the time, a professional solar panel cleaner can make the job easy.
Why Clean Your Solar Panels?
Over time your solar panels will collect dust and dirt as it flies through the air and settles on them. While rain will clear off a lot of the dust, some will stick and you will eventually need to clean your solar panels. Cleaning your solar panels will make them look a lot better and can even increase their efficiency in some cases. If your solar panels haven’t been cleaned in a long time, cleaning the dirt off them can increase their efficiency by up to 30%!
How Often Should You Clean Your Solar Panels?
As professionals, we usually recommend cleaning your solar panels once every 6 months. However, this will depend on where you live, the amount of dust in the air, and what angle your panels are installed at. For areas with a lot of air pollution, you may need to clean your panels more often to maintain peak efficiency. If you’re out in the countryside you may only need to clean your panels once a year or so. And if your panels are installed flat they may pick up more dirt than angled panels and will need cleaning more often.