3 Easy Steps to Clean Solar Panels

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    Cleaning Solar Panels

    While having zero moving parts, solar panel cleaning is one aspect of solar panel maintenance that should not be forgotten. Dust, dirt, pollen, bird droppings, and (if you live on the West Coast) forest fire ash can reduce the amount of solar power you can create. This is called ‘soiling.’ In the article, you will learn the proper techniques to fight soiling and to get your solar production back to normal.

    3 Easy Steps

    Solar panel cleaning is like washing your car or window, minus the soap. Solar panels are a very durable product, however, doing these 3 things will ensure your safety and a clean solar panel system. If cleaning solar panels requires you to climb up on your roof, consider hiring a professional solar panel cleaning service. 

    Please remember to check with your manufacturer’s warranty BEFORE you begin cleaning to protect yourself from accidentally voiding your warranties.

    1) Pick A Cool Time Of Day

    Solar panels get extremely hot during the day. Pick a relatively cool day or choose to do your cleaning in the morning or late evening.

    2) Rinse With Garden Hose

    Because dust and dirt will come off easily, first try if your garden hose is enough for the task. If anything is remaining you might need to clean more thoroughly.

    3) More Thorough Cleaning

    Fill a spray bottle or bucket with warm water and begin to clean the solar panel glass with a soft sponge or auto squeegee. There is no need to use soap or other chemicals. If there is a need, just use one drop of low-concentrated cleaner, such as Dawn with the animal on it.

    Solar Panel Cleaning FAQs

    Here are a few questions we get asked the most. 

    Why Should I Clean My Solar Panels?

    Anything getting in between the sun and the solar cells will impact the output of solar energy. Rain will rinse the larger debris off, however, we found that the #1 way to maximize the solar energy produced is by cleaning the panels.

    Sunbridge Solar’s system has a low tilt (10 degrees) and its overall power reduction due to the 2017 Eagle Creek forest fire ash resulted in a -53% reduction. And with this latest, an even larger and wider area affected, by 2020 wildfire we can expect around the same if not a further reduction with so much ash on solar panels.

    How Often Should I Clean My Solar Panels?

    Cleaning frequency will vary depending on where you are located. For example, someone living closer to the road will accumulate more fine dust and debris, therefore, requiring more frequent cleaning. Furthermore, if your panels are angled at a low-tilt we recommend adding cleaning your solar panels to your yearly spring cleaning to-do list.

    For high-angled tilt panels, you may let the Pacific Northwest rain take care of most of the cleaning or hire a professional.

    Is There Anything Special To Do To Remove Forest Fire Ash?

    While there is nothing special to remove ash, we highly recommend cleaning off the ash ASAP. Ash is a thicker particulate and will severely reduce solar energy output. To do this, simply wash the ash off with air or water. If fires continue, you might want to do a few more cleanings.

    cleaning solar panels with water squeegee



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    Adam Walters

    Adam Walters is a writer and solar industry expert with over a decade of experience. He has written extensively on topics related to renewable energy, sustainability, and climate change, and is a passionate advocate for the transition to clean energy sources.

    Email Adam

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