Happy Spring! It’s that time of year in Northwest Florida where we start to see pollen on everything: cars, driveways, windows, and just about every surface you can imagine.
That also means your solar PV system might be looking a little dusty these days. But should you be cleaning your solar panels?
Is cleaning my solar panels necessary?
The short answer is no. Here in Northwest Florida, we’re lucky to enjoy clean air that’s generally free of pollution. Solar panel cleaning is recommended in more populous areas that have a high amount of particulates in the air. Our area doesn’t see levels of pollution that could make a difference in system production. In addition, we receive enough consistent rainfall to take care of any built-up grime.
How to clean your solar panels
While cleaning your panels may not be necessary for your system to function properly, we know that aesthetics are important. If you decide to clean your panels, keep in mind that scratching or damaging the glass will reduce the panel’s energy production and reliability.
The bottom line: be cautions. Think about cleaning your solar panels the same way you might approach cleaning your vehicle.
The best method for cleaning your panels is to use a small amount of dish soap and warm water. Use a soft sponge, cloth or brush to avoid scratching or damaging the glass. A common household glass cleaner like Windex is also appropriate, but avoid other strong cleaning fluids that may leave streaks. In most circumstances, spraying your panels with a low-pressure hose will do the trick.
To rinse your panels, use a bucket of fresh water or a low pressure garden hose. You can also use a squeegee to remove excess water. Keep in mind that it is never safe to use a pressure washer on solar panels.
If you live nearby a busy highway or airport, you might see oily stains appear on your panels. If you notice stubborn grime that won’t come loose, use isopropyl alcohol and a rag.
Cleaning Your Panels 101
- Soft sponge, brush, or cloth
- Dish soap
- Warm fresh water
- Low-pressure hose
- Windex or other household glass cleaner
- Isopropyl alcohol (for stubborn grime)
Use a small amount of dish soap, warm water, and a soft brush, cloth or rag to clear your panels of debris.
Rinse your panels with a low-pressure hose or bucket of water. Optional: use a squeegee to remove any excess water
Scrub any additional stubborn areas with isopropyl alcohol and a brush or rag.
Important Tips & Tricks
- Avoid damaging or scratching panel glass
- Don’t use harsh cleaning fluids
- Never pressure wash your system
Should I hire someone to clean my panels?
Hiring professional cleaners is certainly an option. However, keep in mind that cleaning isn’t always necessary in our region. SunFarm Energy generally advises against professional cleaning services because they are expensive and won’t necessarily do a better job than you can. For example, EnergySage notes that depending on the company, cleaning panels could cost between $150-$300 per session, or $15-$30 per panel.
However, if you have an array on a roof plane that’s higher than you’re willing to go, hiring a professional may be practical for safety reasons. Companies are equipped to safely clean rooftop units that may be beyond the reach of a typical household ladder.
What’s the overall answer? Leave your panels alone and let mother nature take care of the rest!
Source / Read More: Solar Panel Cleaning: What You Need to Know – EnergySage