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Blog Hero: How to Clean Solar Panels

How to Clean Solar Panels

Rhythm Energy on Thursday, June 23, 2022

You decided to reduce your carbon footprint and now have solar panels supplying renewable energy to your Texas home. One of the perks that likely convinced you to move forward with the process is that solar panels are low maintenance. However, low maintenance doesn't mean no solar panel maintenance at all.

Solar panels require minimal maintenance because they have no moving parts. However, one element of solar panel maintenance that you shouldn't ignore is ensuring they are kept free of dirt and debris. Cleaning solar panels isn't a difficult task, but you must do it correctly.

What's that? Have you never learned how to clean solar panels? Not to worry, because you'll know everything you need to know about cleaning solar panels by the end of this article.

Why Cleaning Solar Panels Is Important

The efficiency of your solar panels is affected by anything that is blocking them from absorbing sunlight. Problematic substances include dust, dirt, pollen, leaves, bird droppings, and any other debris that makes its way onto your panels.

Regularly cleaning your solar panels will:

  • Improve efficiency

  • Reduces the chance of shadowing

  • Prevent cracking and hot spots from layers of debris

  • Keep your warranty valid

  • Prevent wear and tear from dirt, sand, or dust particles

  • Make your home more aesthetically pleasing

  • Prevents the panels from overheating

  • Lower your electricity bill

  • Improve your return on investment

  • Allow you to inspect them for other issues

Many homeowners leave it to the rain to clean their solar panels. However, the rain alone is not enough to maintain optimal efficiency. Solar panel cleaning doesn't take much time and is a low-cost way to care for your investment.

Interested in learning more about solar panels? Check out our blogs:

How Often Should You Clean Solar Panels?

You likely visit a mechanic every few months for an oil change to maintain the efficiency of your car. Solar panel maintenance should be done at regular intervals, too. That doesn't mean you need a stringent daily cleaning routine, but consistency is the key.

Complete Weekly Checks

It's easy to see dirt and other debris collecting when you have ground-mounted solar panels. However, rooftop systems are more challenging to see and quickly forgotten about when they aren't visible daily. The wind may remove some of the leaves for you, but it won't blow away everything.

Completing a simple, weekly check will allow you to remove any built-up debris before it causes any issues with your solar panel system. Be cautious when moving any materials away from the panel's surface to avoid accidentally scratching the panel.

Washing Your Solar Panels

Most solar experts recommend thoroughly cleaning solar panels at least once a year. An annual cleaning can improve their energy output by approximately 12% compared to panels that rely on the rain for a cleaning. You'll notice even better efficiency if you have time for solar panel cleaning every six months.

Annual or bi-annual cleaning is typically enough for most solar panel systems. However, some situations require additional attention, and living in Texas is one. In areas with minimal rainfall, dirt may accumulate at a quicker pace. You may need to clean your solar panels once a month to keep them operating at peak performance.

The Best Time Clean Solar Panels

The best time for solar panel cleaning is during the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is at a lower point in the sky. The sun in Texas shines brightly and gets hot. Solar panels heat up quickly at its peak, making it more challenging to clean them, especially if you choose to clean them during the summer months.

Cleaning your solar panels when the sun is lower keeps you from obstructing the solar panel's performance. You'll lose less energy this way.

How to Clean Solar Panels

It's important to note that not all solar panel maintenance is the same. Each manufacturer has its recommendations, so it's crucial to refer to their instructions before cleaning solar panels. After you've confirmed the best way to care for them, start by using the garden hose. It should supply enough pressure to remove small amounts of dirt and debris.

If a more thorough cleaning is necessary, fill a bucket or spray bottle with water and soap. There are commercially available cleaning solutions designed specifically for solar panels, but most experts have found that mild soap and water get the job done. Use a glass-friendly cloth or sponge, and you'll have your solar panels shining in no time!

Commercial Cleaning Kits

You likely have adequate supplies in your home already. But you can also purchase a kit designed specifically for cleaning the glass panels. The typical kit includes extension poles, carrying bags, brushes, clothes, and hose connectors.

Safety Tips to Consider Before You Begin

If your solar panels are ground-mounted, there's not too much to worry about. Roof-mounted panels require you to prioritize safety to prevent the risk of falling. Consider these additional safety tips before cleaning your solar panels:

  • Always turn solar panels off before beginning your cleaning project

  • Don't go on the roof without a safety harness

  • Avoid walking on the panels

  • Brush away loose debris

  • Use the right amount of water pressure

  • Avoid high pressure because it can force water into plugs that aren't sealed

  • Don't use abrasive detergents or metal objects

  • You might need an extendable brush to get hard-to-reach areas

  • Towel dry if you're using tap water to prevent mineral buildup on the surface

It's good to remove any jewelry while cleaning your solar panels. This removal will prevent any accidental scratching.

Finding a Solar Panel Cleaning Company

When you have rooftop solar panels, you might not want to risk walking on the steep surface of your roof. You also might not want to void your warranty by accidentally damaging the panel during the cleaning process.

In this situation, you can trust a professional company providing solar panel maintenance that includes cleaning services. This approach is the safest and most effective way of cleaning rooftop solar panels.

How do you find a company that performs solar panel cleaning services? Below are a few things to consider before selecting a company and make it easier to find the best one for you.

Contact the Manufacturer

One of the best ways to find a solar panel cleaning company is to contact your solar panel manufacturer or read the owner's manual. You'll have a better idea of what materials are safe for your solar panels or if they require unique cleaning supplies.

The manufacturer will give you the best advice for cleaning your solar panels and may have a recommendation for a cleaning company in your area.

Internet Search

You rely on the internet for many things. Why not use it to find a solar panel maintenance company? You can read reviews on sites like Thumbtack, Yelp, or Angie's List to gather information from previous customers. Create a list of questions, select a few reputable companies, and begin making phone calls.

Request a Quote

Most companies will provide you with a free custom quote upon request. They will send a representative to your home to assess the condition of your solar panels. From there, they can create an accurate price depending on the location and size of your solar energy system.

Gather Referrals

Ask your potential service provider for referrals from previous customers. This information will help you learn more about their customer service. You'll be able to narrow down your choices and select a reliable, experienced solar cleaning company.

Keeping Solar Panels Clean Is Worth It

There's not much difference between cleaning solar panels and cleaning a standard window. It doesn't take much time, and the return on your effort could increase the performance of your system.

A better-performing solar energy system leads to more savings on your electric bills. Failing to keep your solar panels clean, whether by doing it yourself or hiring a professional, could be costing you hundreds of dollars each year!

Save Even More with Rhythm Energy!

In Texas, you have choices for cleaning your solar panels. You can spend money to hire solar panel cleaners or save a little money and do it yourself. But did you know you have options for your energy provider? It's true, and Rhythm Energy wants to be your number one choice.

Yes, clean panels create a more efficient system, but there are other ways to save. We started the Rooftop Solar Buyback Plan to help you save money on your energy bills.

Your sparkling clean solar panels might produce more energy than you need. The excess power will be sent back to the grid, and you'll earn a monthly credit on your electricity bill. There aren't any tricks or catches, just more savings for you!

If you've heard enough and are ready to become a customer, give us a call. One of our friendly customer service representatives is prepared to take your call. Oh, and we're available 24/7, so you never have to worry about getting your questions answered. Contact us today to make the switch and start growing your savings!

Categories: Solar Energy
Tagged: rhythm-marketing, how to clean solar panels, cleaning solar panels, maintaining solar panels

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