Solar Panel Cleaning Tips Guide

Investing in solar panels is always a smart move. Not only can they save you a small fortune on the cost of your energy bills, but you’re also doing something good for the environment by producing your own clean, sustainable energy.

However, solar panels do require some occasional upkeep to ensure they stay in good condition and continue to operate as efficiently as possible.

If you want to know how to keep your solar panels clean and free of dust and debris, this solar panel cleaning guide will fill you in on everything you need to know.

Why solar panels need regular cleaning?

While rainfall should help to keep your panels relatively clean throughout the year, over time, substances such as dust, dirt, debris and bird droppings can build up on the surface of your solar panels and adversely affect their performance. This can be particularly problematic if you live in a coastal or high-pollution location where the panels are frequently exposed to various contaminants.

Regularly cleaning your solar panels will prevent unnecessary energy loss and ensure your system is able to operate optimally and generate as much electricity as possible.

Even where the impact on performance may only seem minimal, the cost of lost productivity can add up over time and prevent you from getting the most out of your investment.

solar panels on a roof

How to tell if your solar panels need cleaning?

There are a few simple ways to check if your solar panels need cleaning.

They’re noticeably dirty

Conduct a quick visual inspection of your solar panels to see if you can spot any dust, debris, mineral build-up, leaves or bird droppings, as these can all have an impact on their performance.
You’ve noticed a drop in performance
Most of today’s solar energy systems come with valuable energy production tracking tools which show you exactly how much energy your system is producing each day. If you’ve noticed a gradual or sudden drop in performance, it could be due to dirty panels.
It’s been more than 12 months since their last clean
We generally recommend our customers give their solar panels a good clean at least once every 12 months to ensure they are operating efficiently, but you can do it more frequently if you think they need it.

Cleaning you solar panels

When cleaning your solar panels, there are some things you can do yourself and some things where it’s best to call in an expert.
What you can do yourself

If you’ve done a quick inspection of your solar panels and think they look dirty, you can give them a basic clean by spraying them with a leaf blower and a hose from the ground to remove the majority of dust and debris from the surface of the panels. Just make sure you avoid spraying the back of the panels, as excessive exposure to water could damage them.

If the panels still look dirty and you can reach them safely from the ground, you can try using a cloth, sponge or non-abrasive brush with water and a very mild soap or detergent to gently wipe over the panel surface to remove more stubborn substances. Then you can give them a quick once-over with a squeegee to remove any water droplets and ensure a residue-free finish.

solar panels installed
When to bring in an expert

If you can’t reach your solar panels from the ground and don’t have the appropriate scaffolding, safety harness and hard hat, it’s always best to call in a professional.

Any type of work performed on the roof of your home can be dangerous, however, the risk is even more significant when cleaning solar panels as the water can make the rooftop extremely slippery.

Many homeowners also choose to have their solar panels cleaned professionally when they have their regular solar panel system maintenance check to save time and money on call-out fees.

Our top solar panel cleaning tips

Before attempting to clean your solar panels, there are a few things you need to be aware of. Here are a few of our helpful solar panel cleaning tips:
  • Check the manufacturer’s manual – While most solar panels can be cleaned the same way, it’s best to check if the manual includes any specific instructions you need to be aware of.
  • Remember to switch the system off – Check the manufacturer’s manual to find out how to shut the system off completely before starting.
  • Avoid cleaning your panels during hot conditions – The glass on the solar panels can crack if exposed to sudden temperature changes from the cold water. It’s generally best to clean your panels during the early morning, in the evening or on an overcast day.
  • Disconnect any rainwater collection gutters – This will prevent any water run-off from getting into your rainwater collection tank if you have one.
  • Don’t use a pressure cleaner – While it’s fine to use a standard garden hose connected to a household tap, using a high-pressure cleaner could damage the panels.
  • If in doubt, call in a professional – If you’re unsure about anything, it’s not worth risking your investment. Just call a professional.

The trusted name in solar panels in cairns

At Easy Cool Air, we provide professional services to both residential and commercial customers in Cairns and the surrounding areas.

Locally owned and operated with over 10 years of experience under our belt, our team of specialist technicians can conduct a routine system maintenance check to ensure your panels are in good condition and operating efficiently.

Find out more about our solar panel maintenance services or contact us to request a free quote for your home or business.