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How Often Should You Clean Solar Panels?

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There’s nothing better than being able to reduce your energy bill by tapping into an abundant renewable energy source such as solar. 

But is any maintenance required to run these systems, such as ensuring that you have clean solar panels? 

The short answer is yes. Dirty solar panels will eventually affect your overall capacity to generate power. According to a study, a combination of dust and particulate air pollution reduces your solar energy production by up to 17% – 25%.

But let’s talk about why solar panels need to be cleaned. 

Why You Should Clean Your Solar Panels

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, solar radiation is light (or electromagnetic radiation) emitted by the sun. These rays can be used in two main types of solar energy technologies: concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) and photovoltaics (PV), or your solar panels.  

PVs absorb this solar radiation. It creates energy by creating an internal electric field in the cell, which is then diverted into a battery. 

Depending on the extreme weather conditions in your home region, a panel can last around 25 – 30 years due to new materials and tempered glass.

And with certain installers, you could receive a 25-year manufacturer warranty, like with blueravensolar.com

Now that we’ve outlined why you should clean your solar panels, let’s talk about how often you should clean your solar panels. 

How Often You Should Clean Your Solar Panels

Where you live will heavily dictate how often you should clean your solar panels. In areas where there are large seasonal downpours of rain, like in Washington state, you might be required to wash once a year. 

In areas like California, where there is a higher rate of particles in the air, you might want to wash your panels more frequently. States like Wyoming and North Dakota have extremely clean air

Other factors that might increase your need to wash your solar panels more are birds, leaves, and general dirt. Birds present an issue, as their droppings can cause chemical damage, so if they are nesting underneath, make sure to install a bird barrier. 

In environments with these issues, you will want to wash down your panels per quarter. But if you’re wondering, “How to clean solar panels?”, here are a few tips. 

How to Clean Solar Panels   

Cleaning solar panels is far less complicated than you may think. A simple garden hose will do to spray off excessive dirt and grim. While some will suggest using a pressure washer, exercise caution. 

Pressure washers can do damage if they are set to a very powerful setting. If you need to brush down your panels, use soft bristles or a squeegee. This will ensure no damage is caused to solar panels. 

And if you are using cleaning solutions, natural (like vinegar) or mild detergents are better. Harsh chemicals will ensure dirt is gone, but they can damage the glass. 

Tips on washing your solar panels include the following:

  • Make sure to turn off the system to prevent danger
  • Wait for a cooler time of day (cut down on evaporation) 
  • Remove easy debris
  • Spray down the panel to loosen stubborn debris 
  • Scrub in detergent
  • Wash down

If you are harvesting rain, you will need to ensure that they are closed off, as even vinegar can cause damage to plants. 

Time to Clean Solar Panels 

By following these tips you will be well on your way to harvesting clean energy for your home, by simply making sure that you clean solar panels.

And if you have any more solar questions, our site is brimming with the solutions you’re looking for, so check out more of our posts.

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