The world is facing an energy crisis in 2022 towards 2023, and solar panels are a welcomed valuable investment. However, to keep them producing energy optimally, you need solar panel cleaning equipment to remove dirt, debris, and ice that could reduce their efficiency.
If you have new solar panels on your roof or the ground, you could ask yourself:
- Why should I keep my solar panels clean?
- What solar panel cleaning equipment and cleaning solutions do I need?
- How are these tools used?
- How often should I clean my solar panels?
This article answers these questions and more. So, stay with me, and let’s learn about the solar panel cleaning process and equipment.
If you are considering installing solar panels, I wrote a whole article about the Average Cost of Solar Panel Installation.
Why Is Solar Panel Cleaning Important?
Solar panels are exposed to convert sunlight into energy. The exposure means they are exposed to dirt, dust, leaves, debris, and bird droppings.
How do you think dirt will affect your solar panel’s ability to absorb heat from the sun?
They could reduce your solar panel’s efficiency by up to 25% (Source: popularmechanics.com). Cleaning your solar panels with the right equipment will enhance their productivity. Your monthly electricity bill will significantly reduce, especially if you have net metering.
Although cleaning your solar panels do not guarantee 100% energy production, using mild cleaning solutions, clean water, and solar panel cleaning equipment can keep efficiency levels high.
Routinely cleaning your solar panels will save you thousands of dollars in repairs and installation costs.
Furthermore, most solar panels are part of your roof or compound, and cleaning them makes your home presentable, which will also increase your home value.
According to a study by Zillow, homes with cleaned solar panels sell for about 4.1 percent higher than homes without solar energy.
So, you have every reason to know what to use for cleaning and how to do it.
Solar Panel Cleaning Equipment And Tools
You will need some equipment and tools to keep your solar panels clean. Some of these solar panel cleaning tools could be in your home or office, but some you may need to buy from the nearest store or online.
Here is some essential cleaning equipment you should have:
1- Solar Panel Cleaning Brush With a Pole
Rainwater is not sufficient to keep your solar panels dirt-free. Plus, it is not always raining, so you will need regular cleaning to keep energy production high.
And a solar panel cleaning brush with a pole enables you to gently scrub away dirt and debris while standing from a distance.
A solar panel cleaning brush is an important tool whether you have rooftop or ground solar panels. Ensure you choose a brush with soft bristles that will not scratch and damage your solar panel’s surface. It would be self-defeating if you damage the solar panels while cleaning, so choose the right brush.
The extendable pole handle allows you to clean dirt 19ft away from you. How cool is that!
You can clean your rooftop solar panels easily. Furthermore, the brush often has two sides. After the final rinsing, you can flip the other side to wipe off any remaining suds or water.
2- Ladder or Harness
Of course, you need a ladder or a harness system to climb up to the roof safely; otherwise, you could break your back or legs in case of an accident.
Even if you have ground-mounted solar panels, you may need a sturdy step ladder to clean the far edges of the panel.
While some can make a ladder at home, others prefer to buy from reputable sellers to enhance their safety.
3- Water-Fed Pole
Imagine holding a solar panel cleaning brush and a hose while stepping on a ladder! Anything can happen, and you could lose concentration or tire out and fall.
You will agree that it is dangerous. But you can invest in a better option- a water-fed pole.
How does it work? A water-fed pole connects to the water source, and as you brush the panels, it gently sprays water from its top. This means you can scrub away dirt while rinsing the solar panels.
Some water-fed pole kits come with an extendable pole up to 30ft long, allowing you to clean far edges. However, look for those with lightweight poles for easy handling, even if you stand on a ladder.
4- PPE And Safety Equipment
Cleaning your solar panels is risky and could result in serious injuries. Therefore, ensure you wear appropriate safety devices and PPEs to prevent these damages.
So, what are some safety gears you will need?
Ensure the environment is safe and free from anything that could trip you when cleaning.
5- Non-Abrasive Solar Panel Cleaner
Sometimes you may need soap or non-abrasive chemicals to clean any remaining residue or dirt from your panels. However, ensure you use small amounts of chemical products because they can harm your solar panels.
Use only water without chemicals because some are aggressive and could generate acids.
Technology has made cleaning solar panels even easier. Let’s consider some waterless solar panel cleaning equipment you can use.
6- Solar Panel Cleaning Robot
These robots are remotely controlled and can clean your solar panels on the roof without you climbing a ladder to monitor them.
Solar panel cleaning robots are fitted with special cleaners and brushes that reach everywhere on the panels, thus offering thorough cleaning of your roof without you doing any work.
Since they are new in the market, you may find them expensive. But if you have many panels or live in an area where debris and dust are the order of the day, you can save time and resources by investing in solar panel cleaning robots.
7- Waterless Solar Panel Vibration Cleaner
As the drought engulfs most parts of the world, you may not have the luxury of splashing water on your solar panels. But since you also need to produce maximum energy, investing in waterless vibration cleaning seems an excellent idea.
This special equipment generates vibrations to loosen debris and dirt on your roof or ground panels. Once the debris is loosened, you can sweep it with a soft brush.
How To Use Solar Panel Cleaning Equipment
This section gives you a step-by-step procedure to clean your solar panels.
Step#1: Choose The Appropriate Time To Clean Your Solar
The best time to clean your panels is in the morning when they have not become too hot. If you clean your solar during a hit day, the soap solution will likely dry on the panel and form streaks.
You want to leave your panels clean and efficient; dried cleaning solutions will not support this goal. The mornings are also good for your health and skin. No one enjoys working in the scorching heat.
Step #2: Turn Off The Solar Panels
If you are using water to clean the solar panels, it is important that you turn off the solar panel unless you want to get electrocuted.
The manufacturer’s inverter operating manual includes instructions on shutting down the DC system, so ensure you follow the procedure.
You should also shut down the AC systems through the solar supply main switch.
Step #3: Remove The Debris, Dust, And Leaves Using a Soft Brush
The first solar panel cleaning equipment you will use is a soft dry brush to sweep the first layer of dust.
Ensure you don’t scrub the panels too hard; water will help remove what seems to have stuck. Otherwise, you may scratch the surface and damage the panels.
Step #4: Spray The Solar Panels With a Garden Hose
It is time to spray clean water on the panels via a garden hose at low pressure. The water will wash away the debris you have dislodged so you can start cleaning.
Step #5: Add Soap And Scrub With Water And a Soft Brush
Soap will help to remove stubborn dirt on the panels when scrubbed with a soft brush. Use a soft cloth or sponge with warm water and vinegar.
Gently wipe the solar panels’ surface to remove lingering dust or debris. Using a water-fed pole with a brush makes it easier to pour water and clean simultaneously.
Step #6: Rinse And Dry The Panels
Rinsing is easy. A low-pressure garden hose can remove soap residue if you clean it with soap products.
Can you use high-pressure water to clean the solar panels? That is a big no! it can cause damage to sensitive solar surfaces.
You might also enjoy reading: What are the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy?
How Often Should You Wash Your Solar Panels?
The general rule is that you can clean your solar panels after every 6 months or a year to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity of the panels. Nevertheless, you may take an even shorter duration depending on the level of dirt and pollution in the places where you have installed them.
For instance, a solar panel system installed near a high-traffic area or industrial region with lots of dust and fumes may require frequent cleaning.
Solar panels are a great source of clean energy and could help you reduce your monthly electricity bill. However, you need to regularly clean it, removing dust and debris to increase their efficiency and productivity.
Before cleaning, ensure you have proper solar panel cleaning equipment and cleaners. This article outlined the needed equipment and how to clean your solar panels.
You can also hire professional solar panel cleaning services for your investment.
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