Keeping solar panels clean is always best because it ensures you are getting the most efficiency out of your solar panels. 

If you are new to researching solar panels, cleaning your solar panels might be a new concept to you but it is imperative that they stay clear and clean at all times. The main reason solar panels need to stay clean is so that there is no barrier between the sun’s rays and your solar panels. 

However, you might be thinking how do you clean solar panels on your roof? They’re all the way up there and I’m all the way down here.

Here is the best way to clean solar panels on your roof:

How to Clean Solar Panels

Fortunately, solar panels are self-sufficient for the most part. However, if your solar panels do need your attention by way of a cleaning, you might be losing between 15% and 20% of your energy efficiency. This is a lot, especially when the efficiency of even the best solar panels is around 22% of the total energy the sun is capable of producing. (So, you will still be running at 80% efficiency for what your solar panels are capable of, but that is still a big chunk of lost energy.) 

Here are the steps to cleaning the solar panels on your roof:

  • 1. Talk to the Company

    The first thing you are going to want to do is to talk to your solar panel company and read through your agreement. Some solar panel companies require you to hire a solar panel cleaning crew or you could risk voiding your warranty.

  • 2. Plan to Clean Your Solar Panels in the Spring

    The best time to clean your solar panels is in the Spring. This is because the winter is the worst season for accumulating dirt on your solar panels. Winter has a high rate of pollutants in the air being kicked up and swirled around by the inclement weather. So, if you clean your solar panels in Spring you are getting the worst of the dirt, debris, and pollen off before it has a chance to be caked-on.

  • 3. Wait for an Overcast Day

    In addition to waiting until spring, you are also going to want to wait for a day where it is overcast. Usually, overcast days are the nemesis of solar panels but cleaning them is the exception. It is also advised to clean your solar panels either in the morning or in the evening. That way, there isn’t enough sun to dry the panels too quickly and possibly leave streaks.

  • 4. Shut Your System Down

    Remember, even though it is solar energy you are still working with electricity. So, you are going to want to shut down the system completely. It doesn’t matter how dirty your panels are or if you are even using anything besides water, shutting your system down is imperative. The reason is that if something does get knocked loose or if there are any issues, your panels will dry so that water does not get into your system.

  • 5. Clean your Solar Panels from the Ground

    Whenever possible, clean your solar panels from the ground. This will give you the best leverage and it is the safest. However, if you do have to go on the roof or use a ladder remember that you are cleaning, so the solar panel system, along with the shingles (and your ladder) are likely going to be wet. This will make everything more hazardous and slippery. So, use precautions and make sure you have somebody spotting you.

  • 6. How to Clean Solar Panels on Your Roof

    When you clean solar panels on your roof, the best way to approach it is in steps:

    • Brush Off Your Panels: First, you want to try to brush off any dirt and debris before adding anything, even water, to your cleaning regimen. While this might not clean your solar panels completely, it will help to get any loose dirt, pollen, or branches off with one thorough sweep. This will help make the washing process easier.
    • Add Water: The best part about this step is that you can just use a hose and shoot water on the panels. Many times, just hosing your solar panels off will clean them perfectly. (By the way, you just need a regular old garden hose. Do not use a power washer or you will risk scratching the panels.)
    • Use Soap: If housing off your solar panels doesn’t clean them well enough, all you need to do is use a little bit of soap. Do not use anything abrasive, or it might scratch the panels or stick to it. Only use soap as a last resort and even then, only use it where it is needed.

In summation, solar panels usually only need to be cleaned once per year so this really shouldn’t be a big deal. If you are smart about what you are doing and use precaution to keep yourself (and your solar panel system) safe this should be an easy fix to a potentially expensive issue.