Because your solar panels are likely sitting at an angle on your rooftop, they won’t need a lot of care, maintenance, or cleaning. Researchers at The University of California, San Diego, found that angled solar panels tend to stay much cleaner than flat solar panels.
Even so, it’s important to take care of solar panels and be aware of what services or cleaning they may need to continue performing at maximum capacity.
The best way to know if your solar panels need cleaning or attention is by monitoring the energy output. If there’s a sudden drop or steady decrease over time, it might be a good idea to check on them. According to the Maryland Energy Administration, dirt buildup could lower solar panel output by 5% or more. If you live close to a freeway or airport, dust and smog could decrease output further, up to 20%.
Dirt, dust and pollen are the most common things that need occasional attention. Rain often will take care of washing off light build-up. Although some cleaning chemicals may be safe for solar panels, using water is the cheapest and most effective way to clean your panels in most cases. Many find using their garden hose works best to quickly clean off dirt or pollen.
Like with dirt or dust, debris from branches or pine needles will most likely slide off the panels. Wind or rain often take care of the problem, too. If you still face a problem, leaf blowers can quickly clean off loose debris from the solar panels.
Snow typically slides off solar panels or blows away before becoming an issue. If snow piles up, blocking the majority surface area of your solar panels, it should be cleaned off regularly to maintain maximum sunlight access. Places like Amazon and Walmart carry extendable snow brushes or squeegees that work for most people in removing their rooftop snow without damaging the panels.
Like mentioned earlier, water is the safest way to clean solar panels. NEVER use rock salt, car wax or RainX for any reason on solar panels. It will damage the solar panels and lower their efficiency in harvesting energy. Spraying hot water on cold panels will also cause damage.
Care and maintenance of solar panels does not need to be hard or difficult. Follow these tips to keep your panels going.