Most solar panels tend to clean themselves, but if you’re in a really dry area or if your panels aren’t at much of an angle, then dust, grime, bird poo and other pollutants can build up. What’s more annoying is the fact that dirt doesn’t need to cover an entire panel to cut its productivity. So, every now and then you may well have to clean your panels.
If you do have to clean your panels, here’s how to do it properly
Make sure you power the panels off so that you don’t get a shock or damage them. You should also never attempt to climb up onto the roof unless you have the right experience and equipment. If you can clean them from the ground with a hose, that’s great. If you’re not confident about reaching them, get a professional in.
Choose an overcast day
On hot panels, water will evaporate in seconds, leaving dirt, smears and minerals behind to interfere with energy production. If you can do it early in the morning or in the evening, that’s even better. Early morning is ideal as any dew that’s settled will have started the cleaning process off for you.
If there’s accumulated leaves, dust, dirt, feathers or any other loose matter, brush it away first to make life easier.
Use soft objects and avoid detergents
Make sure your brush is very soft, with no metal components and avoid using detergents as these can leave streaks and may affect the surface of the panel. Certainly, you must never use abrasive cleaners. The high-quality of the glass used in solar panels won’t hold onto dirt and grime very strongly, so you don’t need to scrub.
Use soft water if possible
If your mains water has a lot of minerals dissolved in it (hard water), then either squeegee it away or use rainwater as a final rinse so there’s no dulling deposits left behind.
Cleaning oils away
If you live near to a busy road or under a flight path, then you may get some oily deposits on your panels. Don’t panic – and don’t use detergents – just use cleaning alcohol to dissolve the oils before rinsing the mixture away.
If it looks like rain, let it do its thing
If you’re somewhere that does get some rain every now and then, just wait for it to fall and clean the panels for you. You might find you never have to do it for yourself at all!