Solar panels are designed to require very little maintenance and repairs. However, in order to achieve maximum efficiency and output, it is important to keep solar panels clean and free from dust. Dust accumulation can reduce the output efficiency of solar panels by up to 6.5%, and in some regions such as the Middle East, this reduction can be as much as 40%. Many people ask us how to clean solar panels in the UK. In this blog, we will discuss several methods for cleaning solar panels at home, including using clear water, detergent, a high-quality soft brush, or soapy water. So, let’s take a closer look at each of the cleaning methods.
The question that often passes through our minds is, “Do solar panels need cleaning?” Before we discuss methods for cleaning solar panels, we need to answer this question properly.
Do Solar Panels Need Cleaning?
The answer is yes! You do need to clean your solar panels in order to achieve their maximum efficiency and output for the maximum number of years. While solar panels require very little maintenance, repair and regular cleaning. Dust is a major obstacle in producing maximum electricity, and clean, dust-free panels generate the most power. As mentioned in the introduction, dust on solar panels can reduce production by up to 6.5% in some regions and up to 40% in certain areas of the Middle East. Therefore, according to the statistics, solar panels must be regularly cleaned, and you can do it at home.
How to Clean Solar Panels in the UK?
Cleaning your solar panels at home may seem like a daunting task, but with proper care and concentration, anyone can do it. In the UK, the environment is not as dusty as some other regions of the world, such as the Middle East and South Asian regions. This means that solar panels in the UK generally accumulate less dirt and dust and require less frequent cleaning. In this article, we will discuss different methods that you can use to clean solar panels by yourself. These methods are not only easy but also cost-effective and time-saving. Let’s take a closer look at them.
5 Methods on How to Clean Solar Panels
Using a Garden Hose and a Soft Brush
This is one of the simplest and most affordable ways to clean solar panels at home. All you need is a garden hose and a soft-bristled brush. First, spray the panels with water to remove any loose debris. Then, gently scrub the surface with the brush to remove any stubborn dirt or grime. Rinse with water and let them dry.
A Gentle Soap Solution and a Soft Cloth or Sponge
If your solar panels are particularly dirty or covered in bird droppings, a gentle soap solution may be necessary. Mix a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water and use a soft cloth or sponge to clean the panels. Avoid using abrasive materials, such as steel wool, which can scratch the surface of the panels.
A long-handled Soft Bristle Brush or Squeegee with an Extension Pole
If your solar panels are mounted in hard-to-reach areas, such as on a rooftop, a long-handled soft bristle brush or squeegee with an extension pole can make cleaning easier. Use the brush or squeegee to gently scrub the surface of the panels and remove any dirt or grime.
Automatic Solar Panel Cleaning Systems
If you don’t want to clean your solar panels manually, you can consider installing an automatic solar panel cleaning system. These systems use a series of brushes and sprayers to clean the panels without any manual effort. While these systems can be expensive, they can be a great option if you have a large solar panel array and want to ensure that your panels are always clean and efficient.
A Solar Panel Cleaning Kit
For a more thorough cleaning, you can purchase a solar panel cleaning kit, which usually includes a specialized cleaning solution, a brush or squeegee, and a wiper. These kits are designed specifically for cleaning solar panels and can be a great option if you want to ensure that your panels are properly maintained.
Do I Need to Turn Off Solar Panels to Clean?
No, you do not need to turn off your solar panels to clean them. They are designed to operate safely in all weather conditions, including while being cleaned. However, it’s essential to prioritize safety when cleaning your panels and to avoid using abrasive cleaning products or tools that could damage the surface of the panels.
How Often Should Solar Panels be Cleaned?
The frequency of cleaning your solar panels depends on factors like your location, the amount of dust and dirt in the environment, and the angle of the panels. As a general rule, cleaning your panels once every 3 to 6 months should be sufficient. However, it’s a good idea to monitor your solar panel output and clean them more frequently if you notice a significant drop in efficiency.
What is the best thing to clean solar panels with?
For most solar panels, using a mild, non-abrasive, biodegradable soap mixed with water should be sufficient to remove dirt and grime. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the surface of the panels. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning products and methods.
Does Cleaning your Solar Panels Make Difference?
Yes, cleaning your solar panels can increase the efficiency of your solar system, as clean solar panels are not hindered by the obstruction of maximum sun energy by dust and debris. A clean solar panel can produce nearly 7% more output than a dirtier one.
Is it OK to Clean Solar Panels with Water?
Cleaning solar panels with water and a non-abrasive soap is generally safe. However, if you live in an area with hard water, use distilled water or rinse thoroughly with clean water to prevent mineral buildup. Avoid using high-pressure water jets or hoses, as they can damage the panels.
Do you Use Soap to Clean Solar Panels?
A regular soap can be used effectively to clean solar panels, ensuring their cleanliness and efficiency. However, it’s important to avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that could potentially harm the panels.
What Equipment do you Need to Clean Solar Panels?
To clean solar panels, you’ll need a soft brush or sponge with an extendable handle, a bucket, non-abrasive soap, and clean water. A squeegee or microfiber cloth can help remove excess water and prevent streaks.
Can you Use Vinegar to Clean Solar Panels?
While vinegar is often used as a cleaning agent for various surfaces, it’s generally not recommended to use vinegar to clean solar panels. Vinegar is acidic, and it can potentially damage the anti-reflective coating on the surface of the panels, reducing their efficiency.
What is the Best Way to Remove the Snow Without Damaging the Panels?
When removing snow from solar panels, use a soft brush or a snow rake with a rubber or foam edge to gently remove the snow. Avoid using metal tools or shovels, as they can scratch and damage the panels. It’s also important to work carefully and gradually, removing the snow layer by layer to prevent any sudden weight shifts that could cause damage.
When is the Best Time of Day to Clean My Solar Panels to Avoid Any Potential Damage from the Sun’s Heat?
The best time to clean solar panels is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun’s intensity is lower. Cleaning during these times reduces the risk of thermal stress caused by rapid temperature changes, which can potentially damage the panels. Additionally, cleaning during cooler times of the day makes the process more comfortable and safer for you.
Keeping solar panels clean is essential to maintain their optimum efficiency and output. It’s no wonder that people in the UK are conscious about cleaning their panels to keep them in good health. Thankfully, there are several methods to clean solar panels at home, including using a garden hose and soft brush, a gentle soap solution and soft cloth, or a long-handled soft bristle brush or squeegee with an extension pole. For those with larger arrays of panels, automatic solar panel cleaning systems are also available. If you’re unsure about cleaning your solar panels yourself, don’t hesitate to call in professional solar panel cleaners to get the job done.