How Often Should Solar Panels Be Cleaned?

Posted 10 months ago by Manual Thomas

Solar panels are solar energy collectors, which means they have a large surface area and can trap dust. 

This buildup on solar panels will lead to a decline in efficiency and a shorter lifespan of the solar power system. As a result, you must consider how often should solar panels be cleaned?

Solar panel cleaning is an important part of solar panel maintenance, so you must know how often your solar panels should be cleaned. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the best practices for solar panel cleaning and what frequency to use when managing your solar power system.

Why Do Solar Panels Need to be Cleaned?

Solar panels are mostly silicon-based, which means that they can be easily affected by the presence of dirt and dust in the environment. 

Various kinds of dust particles especially those found in urban areas contain elements like carbon, nitrates, sulfates, etc. 

Besides being composed of quartz that will eventually cause your solar panels to produce less energy. 

When exposed to the sun, these dirt particles absorb their heat and result in a reduction of power.

Related Article: What Affects The Output Of A Solar Panel?

How Often To Clean Panels Be Cleaned?

For solar panels that are installed in areas where there is a lot of dust and dirt, it might be necessary to clean them at least once a month. 

In other cases, solar panel cleaning may not be needed for up to six months or even longer. 

Solar power systems owners need to consider the location of their solar energy system too when thinking about how often solar panels should be cleaned. 

It is also important to consider whether you are using solar power for your home or business, as well as the kind of solar panel cleaning solution that you will use.

Related Article: How To Increase Solar Panel Output?

What Is the Best Way To Clean Solar Panels?

Three main methods are most popular among homeowners and tenants alike. 

We will further discuss them individually in hopes of providing a solution that is just right for you.​

Cleaning Solar Panels With a Power Washer

One of the most popular methods for cleaning solar panels is using a power washer. 

The reason why this technique works well is that it removes all debris in one easy step, which makes the process much more efficient. 

This method also means spending less time outside, which can help reduce the risk of exposure to the sun.

The biggest benefit of using a power washer is that it can make your solar panels significantly cleaner than with any other method in just one step. 

When you consider all of the benefits and drawbacks, most people agree that this is their go-to solution for cleaning solar panels. 

We suggest using a 2000 psi pressure washer when cleaning your solar panels.

There are some downsides to using this technique, however. 

For example, many people worry that power washing can damage the microfibers that create electricity in solar panels. 

The truth is that they are designed to withstand high amounts of water pressure so you shouldn’t have any problems when using a pressure washer on your panels.

Related Article: Can An Electrician Install Solar Panels?

Cleaning Solar Panels With a Squeegee​

The most popular method for cleaning solar panels is using a squeegee. 

Many people believe that this technique is the best way to clean solar panels because it can be done without using any water at all. 

This makes it much more eco-friendly and cost-effective than the power washer method.

One of the biggest benefits of using this technique is that you can clean them much faster than with a power washer. 

It’s also great for those that are extremely eco-conscious because it doesn’t require any water use at all, which can save you money on your utility bills over time. 

One of the issues that people can run into when attempting this method is that you might not be able to reach every inch of each panel. 

Also, if there are any stains or discolorations on your panels, you will have a difficult time removing them with this method. 

This is why some people use it as a first step before using the power washer technique.

Related Article: Are Solar Panels Waterproof?

Cleaning Solar Panels With Soap and Water

Although this is probably the least effective way of cleaning your panels, it can still get the job done. 

The biggest benefit is that it allows you to use your water pressure to your advantage. 

This is because the added force will help push any dirt or debris off of your panels and allow them to drain properly. 

You also won’t have to worry about damaging the surface of the panels while using this technique.

Another benefit can be that this method is very cheap and easy. 

You will only need a bucket of water and some soap that you can pour on the panels. 

Another benefit can be that it’s safe for those solar panels with microfibers because the pressure used should not damage them.

One of its biggest drawbacks is that it requires you to use a lot more time and effort while using relatively low pressure for cleaning. 

Another drawback can be that, if there are stains or discolorations on your panels, they might not come off with this technique. 

Related Article: How Solar Panels Work In The Rainy Seasons?

Would It Be Better To Clean Solar Panels At Night?

There are solar energy systems owners who decide to clean solar panels during the night when there is no sunlight. 

This will protect their solar power system from being damaged by exposure to direct sunlight or rain. 

However, it would take longer for your solar panel cleaning job to be done since you have limited time under the night sky.

Is Rain Enough To Wash Away Dirt From Your Solar Panels??

Some solar power system owners believe that rain can wash away dirt and dust from their solar panels or it would at least lessen the need for solar panel cleaning. 

This is not true since, depending on where your solar energy system is located, drops of rain may contain acids which could damage your solar energy collection panels significantly.

Related Article: Snow vs Solar: How Does Snow Affect Solar Panels?

Is It Possible For Me To Clean The Solar Panel By Myself?

Yes, solar panel cleaning is one of the tasks that solar energy owners can easily do.

If you are not very comfortable doing it manually through scrubbing or washing them down with water, hire a solar power system maintenance service to complete your solar panel cleaning job for you.

What Are The Advantages Of Hiring A Professional To Clean Your Solar Panels?

As with any cleaning job, hiring a professional to clean your solar panels is the only way to ensure it gets done right. 

Cleaning your solar panels can put you at risk of accidentally damaging them. 

Another advantage of hiring a professional to clean your solar panels is that it can be very time-consuming. 

It is a lot of work, and it is impossible to complete the job without taking multiple days out of your schedule. 

A professional will have all the necessary equipment to properly clean your panels which will save you a lot of time and effort compared to doing it yourself.

 Professionals are also capable of completing the job faster because they have more equipment and resources at their disposal. 

This ensures that you get your solar panels back sooner rather than later. 

Note: In choosing a professional, be sure to do some research on companies in your area and read reviews from past customers before making a decision.

Related Article: Can You Get Electrocuted From Solar Panels?

How Much Does Cleaning Solar Panels Usually Cost?

It can vary greatly depending on where you live. 

If you live in a rural area then you may be considered to be a “remote” solar installation and this could bring your price down because of the mileage that the cleaning company has to travel.

Some companies may offer a fixed price per panel, others will look at the number of panels and then give you an indicative cost based on that. 

You could try contacting nearby solar PV professional cleaning companies to get them to quote for the work.

How Regular Cleaning Can Improve Your Solar Panels’ Performance?

Regular cleaning will not only make your solar panels look new again but also increase their energy output by at least 5-15%. 

It is estimated that dirty solar panels can lose about 20% of their efficiency. 

The bottom line is if you want to maximize your solar panels’ performance, then cleaning them regularly with the proper tools and procedure is a must.

Last Words

Solar panel cleaning is an important solar power system maintenance that every solar energy owner should do once in a while to ensure the efficiency and lifespan of your solar panels. 

Solar energy systems owners need to consider their location, choice of solar panel cleaner as well as how often they would like to clean solar panels before deciding on how frequently solar panel cleaning should be done.

Do you have any questions?

If so, please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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Manual Thomas