If you have a residential solar energy system, your panels are either on your roof or on a ground mount system. Either way, they're likely sparkling clean because you clean them regularly, right? OK, you clean them once a year, right? You've cleaned them once when they were new? Well, if you’re like most of us, you’ve never cleaned your solar panels. Shame, because dirty panels can reduce power output by 20% or more on average. We've seen an increase in power output as high as 37% on a 7kW system. That equates to a savings of about $400/year.
So, how do you clean your solar panels? It’s a simple process, just not that easy. You’ll need a few things; a ladder, a soft brush and squeegee, a telescoping pole, a cleaner like Simple Green, and a hose with nozzle.
As a consumer-friendly cleaner, Simple Green is environmentally safe, non-oxic, and biodegradable.
So, here’s what you do. Safety first. Anchor your ladder securely to the ground and roof. We recommend also wearing a safety harness. First, plan on cleaning your panels in the early morning, or late evening, avoiding the heat of midday. Hot glass does not like cold water. Neither do I, for that matter. Rinse off the loose dirt and debris from your solar panels. Don't use a high-pressure washer. They can cause damage. Just a garden hose with garden nozzle.
Spray about one squirt of Simple Green on each panel. I like to work on two panels at a time. Use the soft brush to scrub the entire panel, even if parts of it look clean already. The bottom edge will be the dirtiest area. Focus here.
Immediately rinse off the panel with clean water, and squeegee the panel dry to avoid water spotting. Continue with the rest of the panels in your system.
Done. Like I said, a simple process. But not so fast and easy. Make sure your ladder is securely anchored. We highly recommend you use a safety harness. This requires some set-up and skill in itself. Be cautious of slippery wet roof surfaces. And make sure you pull enough hose onto the roof so the weight of the hose does not pull it OFF the roof. Not fun watching the hose wiggle its way away from you, onto the ground.
If all of this sounds like too much work, just give Solarponics a call and let us do the cleaning for you. Solar panel cleaning starts at $79 for up to 15 panels on a single story comp roof.
Call (805) 466-5595 for a cleaning quote, or click here.