Why would you clean your solar panels?
You want them to look clean (aesthetics).
Maintain the productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of the panels.
Mold has developed, significantly reducing productivity of the solar system
For example: Flat, non tilted solar panels near a dusty road, may need cleaning to maximize production, where tilted panels in cleaner conditions may not. The only way to really tell if soiling is affecting the performance of your solar panels is to test and monitor system performance before and after they are clean. We will go deeper into this in future articles.
How do I clean my solar panels?
Although it is always a good idea to check online to see what your specific solar panel brand recommends, there are some general suggestions on how to clean most solar panels and they are listed below.
External Wash in Oviedo, FL. cleans solar panels with professional equipment and by manufacture recommendations! www.ExternalWash.com 407-504-7115
Here are some general rules to cleaning solar panels in our area of Florida:
Cold water on a hot panel is not a good idea. Rinse and clean when solar panels are cool, like in the early morning. If the panels are hot, damage can occur when being sprayed by water.
With a hose, simulate rain on top of your panel. This can sometimes be all you need to do.
The pros use de-ionized water when cleaning.
Why de-ionized water? De-ionized water is water that has had the mineral ions and salts removed. De-ionized water from a professional water fed pole system is the recommended suggestion. External Wash has this expensive set up and will only utilize di-ionized water on all cleaning jobs.
Whatever you use, don’t scratch the surface and don’t pressure wash.
High water pressure can do damage to the panels and get water where you don’t want it.
Does rainwater clean my panels?
Rain does not clean solar panels. Just like your car and car windows, a routine cleaning is necessary to keep your solar panel productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of the panels at peak performance.
If you feel you need to do more and you can safety reach the panels here are some guidelines and ideas:
Use a soft sponge, microfiber cloth or a soft and nonabrasive brush and lightly wipe over face of the solar panel. This may be mounted on an extension pole for an extended reach. Rinse before doing this. DO NOT scratch or damage the solar panel glass.
Or if you need to go even further, Isopropyl Alcohol with a concentration of less than 10% may be be used as well. This mixture was suggested by a panel manufacturer, and may not be correct for your particular panel, again check with the manufacturer’s handbook online before trying any added soap or solution.
If using a cleaning mixture, the panel must be immediately rinsed with plenty of water afterwards. Rinsing from the top, down.
Some last bits of advice:
Do not, scratch the panels!
Do not, clean when panels are hot.
Do not, clean with Acid or Alkali detergent.
Do not spray under the panels as you could damage electronics and connections underneath.
Be SAFE if you are choosing to clean your own panels. Ladders and roofs can be dangerous.
For fun… Check your solar production before you clean your panels, then check them after. With some calculations you can determine if the effort given to cleaning the panels equals the amount of money you saved by having cleaner panels. Over time you may see positive effects and results varied depending on soiling and tilt.
Does this sound like too much work?
If all of this sounds like too much, we recommend you call a professional solar panel cleaner like External Wash Solar Cleaning Services (External Wash LLC). The beauty of using a pro like External Wash is that they are skilled in this profession have have on-the-roof experience. They use an eco-safe, 4 stage pure water system which gently removes soiling from solar panels. Call Jake at (407) 504-7115.
Stay tuned for another article on solar panel cleaning, where we will show before and after pictures of the dirty then cleaned panels as well as how effective each cleaning was in terms of gained solar production.