Cleaning your solar panels regularly can help them work more efficiently. Compared to panels that are never cleaned, solar panels that are cleaned twice a year generate more than 5% more electricity. However, using an incorrect cleaning technique can damage your solar panels or even result in injury. Use these top tips to clean your solar panels without risking disaster.
1. Choose the Right Cleaning Tools
Solar panels need only a few basic cleaning tools. You can restore your panels to a sparkling finish using just a bucket of water, a long-handled sponge mop, and a long-handled squeegee. Don’t be tempted to use other tools, such as a pressure washer, as the intense power of water under high pressure can damage expensive solar equipment. Similarly, you should avoid using abrasive cleaners, which can spoil the glass finish of the panels. Finally, you should never, ever use a metal tool to scrape away bird droppings, as you’re likely to scratch the glass. Instead, apply plenty of water and leave it to soak into the bird droppings to soften them.
2. Clean at the Right Time of Day
When the sun is high in the sky, any water you apply to the dark solar panel surface quickly evaporates away. This can make it difficult to clean your panels. Beat the heat by cleaning your solar panels on a cloudy day, or clean early in the morning when the sun’s rays are weaker.
3. Don’t Use Hard Water
Cleaning your solar panels with hard water could do more harm than good. Hard water contains traces of calcium, which can remain on your solar panels after the water evaporates away. This can reduce the amount of light that falls on the panel, which means it doesn’t produce as much electricity. If you live in a region that has hard water, use water softener to soften your tap water before you use it to clean your solar panels. Alternatively, you can collect rainwater and use that instead.
4. Don’t Take Risks
Some solar panels are easy to access through a skylight or other access point. Alternatively, you may be able to use a long-handled sponge mop to clean your solar panels from the ground. If the only way to reach your solar panels is to balance precariously on a ladder, don’t do it. It’s much better to pay a professional to clean your solar panels than risk injury by trying to do it yourself if they are located on an inaccessible part of your property.