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Keep Your Solar Panels Clean: 5 Tips for Cleaning Solar Panels

By Jamie Richardson | June 5, 2019

Neglected solar panels can cost you up to a 25% decrease in electricity produced. This electricity hits your wallet by requiring you to source the necessary electricity from a utility company.

Cleaning solar panels may not be the first task on your mind. Panels are outside, but that doesn't mean that rain will do all the heavy lifting when it comes to clearing debris. Maintenance of the panels with deep cleaning can free debris and build up that is causing a depletion in energy production.

1. Keep Proper Supplies on Hand for Solar Panel Cleaning

Avoid any abrasive sponges or wire cleaning pads when collecting cleaning supplies for your solar panels. A soft rag and distilled or deionized water will get the job done.

If snow or leaves obstruct panels a roof rake will easily clear the debris.

2. Cleaning Solar Panels is Best Done When the Sun Isn't Out

Plan to clean solar panels in the late evening, early morning, or on an overcast day. By avoiding hours when the sun is out the cleaning job will be more effective.

When the sun beats directly on a panel and you apply water, there will be smudging and dirt smearing from the quickly drying water. This will leave the panel less clean and keep it from performing at the rate a freshly cleaned panel should.

3. Clear Your Panels of Snow and Leaves for Optimal Performance

If you have tilted panels, such as the ones often found on rooftops, you will not have to worry about snow and leaves building up as much as someone with flat panels. In the case of flat panels, be sure to clear them of snow during the winter and leaves during the fall. 

Monitoring the state of your panels is the best way to keep tabs on any blockage. Take a peek at them weekly to ensure that they aren't rendered ineffective by a mass of snow or pile of leaves.

4. Professional Cleaners Can Assist With Hard-to-Reach Panels

If your solar panels are hard to reach, such as on the top of a multi-story home, it may be a good call to bring in professionals. Companies who specialize in solar panel cleaning or window cleaning will possess the necessary safety equipment to carry out the task efficiently and without injuries.

Often times the solar companies you purchase or rent your panels from will be able to assist you with locating or providing a professional solar panel cleaner.

5. Clean Solar Panels Once to Twice Yearly

In a study conducted by Google, it was found that cleaning solar panels that had been operational for 15 months was able to double electricity production. How long did that take? The results happened overnight. 

While daily cleaning is not required, clearing your solar panels of debris and build up twice a year can boast solid benefits.

Keep in mind, more frequent cleanings may be necessary if you reside in a region that receives little to no rainfall. Also consider cleaning your panels more than twice yearly if the panels are located near a high pollution zone, such as an airport.

Tend to Your Solar Panels or Risk the Consequences

Perhaps you've just now realized that cleaning solar panels has been an unrealized task until now. Maybe you've been putting off cleaning your rooftop panels because they are hard to reach. No matter your reason, review the solar panel cleaning best practices above and schedule an evening to get those panels freed of debris.

Jamie is a 5-year freelance writer who enjoys real estate. He is currently a Realty Biz News Contributor.
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