How to Clean Solar Panels: Maximising Your Energy Efficiency With Going Solar

Joe Brennan
Aug 2, 2023

Are you finding it challenging to keep your solar panels sparkling clean and efficient? By understanding how to clean solar panels, you can ensure your green energy system maintains peak performance, giving you the most value for your investment. You can benefit from our expert insights. 

Let's dive in!

Importance of Cleaning Solar Panels

Solar panels, like a car, a house, or any other valuable property, require regular maintenance to keep them in the best possible condition. While solar panels are designed to withstand outdoor conditions, their efficiency can degrade if dirt, dust, or other substances accumulate on their surface.

Understanding the Impact of Dirt on Solar Panels

The dirt on solar panels can create what experts call "solar shading." When sunlight is blocked, even by the smallest particles, your panels' energy production decreases. Over time, this can add up to a significant loss in solar power generation, leading to higher electricity bills.

The Problem with Ireland's Weather

In Ireland, the weather can play a significant role in the cleanliness of your solar panels. Rain, in particular, can leave a layer of dirt and dust behind once it evaporates, causing an increase in solar shading.

A Detailed Guide to Cleaning Your Solar Panels

Maintaining the cleanliness of your solar panels is a crucial aspect of ensuring they remain efficient and productive. While the cleaning process is straightforward, it should be performed carefully to prevent damage.

Gather the Necessary Equipment

Before you start cleaning, ensure you have all the necessary equipment. This includes:

  1. A Soft Brush or Sponge: You'll use this to remove the dust and grime from the panel surface gently. Ensure the brush is soft to prevent scratching the panels.
  2. A Squeegee with a Plastic Blade on One Side and a Cloth-Covered Sponge on the Other: This will be used to spread soapy water across the panels and to dry them afterwards.
  3. A Hose with a Suitable Nozzle: This is needed to rinse the panels before and after cleaning.
  4. Mild Detergent: A mild detergent mixed with water is usually sufficient for cleaning solar panels. Avoid abrasive or harsh chemicals, as they could damage the panels.

Check the Manufacturer's Instructions

Before proceeding, referring to the manufacturer's instructions is always a good idea. Some solar panels may require specific cleaning methods or materials, and not adhering to these could void your warranty.

Safety Measures

Safety should always be your top priority when cleaning solar panels, especially if they're located on a rooftop. Ensure you have sturdy footwear to prevent slips, and always use a harness if you're working at height. Hiring professionals is best if the panels are too high or the roof is too steep.

Cleaning Process of Solar Panels

Once you're prepared, follow these steps:

Step 1: Initial Rinse

Begin by rinsing the panels with water from your hose. This will help to loosen and remove any loose dust or debris. Aim for a gentle flow of water to avoid damaging the panels.

Step 2: Applying Soapy Water

Next, dip your soft brush or sponge in a bucket of warm soapy water and gently scrub the surface of the panels. Make sure to clean all areas, including the corners and edges. Be cautious not to apply too much pressure, which could scratch the panels.

Step 3: Rinse Again

Once you've cleaned the entire panel surface, use your hose to rinse off the soapy water thoroughly. Ensure all the soap has been removed, as the leftover detergent can leave streaks or spots, hindering the efficiency of your panels.

Step 4: Drying the Panels

After rinsing, use the squeegee to dry the panels, starting from the top and moving downward. This will help to prevent water spots from forming once the panels dry naturally.

Step 5: Check the Panels

Once you've dried the panels, do a final check to ensure they are completely clean. If you notice any spots or stains, repeat the process until the panels are spotless.

By correctly cleaning solar panels, you can ensure your system performs optimally, providing efficient and eco-friendly energy for your home. Remember, if your solar panels are hard to reach or you don't feel comfortable cleaning them yourself, you can always call on the professionals at 'Going Solar' to carry out the task safely and effectively.

When to Clean Your Solar Panels?

The frequency of solar panel cleaning largely depends on your location, weather conditions, and the tilt angle of your panels.

Seasonal Factors

Solar panels might require more frequent cleaning in the spring and autumn when pollen and leaves are likely to gather on their surface.

Monitoring Panel Efficiency

By monitoring your solar panel output, you can identify if and when dirt affects their performance. A sudden drop in power generation might indicate it's time for a clean.

Why Choose Going Solar for Your Solar Panel Needs?

At 'Going Solar', we understand the importance of maintaining peak solar panel performance. That's why, besides professional installation services, we also provide expert cleaning and maintenance to ensure your solar panels always perform at their best.

Comprehensive Solar Services

Our services are designed to cater to all your solar energy needs, from the initial consultation and installation to routine cleaning and maintenance.

Expert Knowledge and Advice

Our team of experts is always ready to provide advice on how to clean solar panels, ensuring you have all the information you need to maximise your energy efficiency.

Final Thoughts

Understanding how to clean solar panels is essential to owning a solar power system. Regular cleaning can ensure your panels maintain their efficiency, providing you with clean, green energy for years to come. 

Why not ensure their optimal performance by entrusting your solar needs to 'Going Solar', Ireland’s leading solar panel installation company? Contact us today, and let us care for your solar power system.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a pressure washer to clean my solar panels?

While it may seem quicker, it's not recommended to use a pressure washer, as it can cause damage to the panels. Using a soft brush or sponge with gentle water flow is best.

How often should I clean my solar panels?

The frequency of cleaning depends on various factors, like weather conditions and the amount of dust or pollen in your area. It's recommended to clean them at least once or twice a year.

Does rain clean solar panels?

Rain can wash away some dust and dirt, but it often leaves behind a layer of grime that can reduce the efficiency of your panels.

Can I clean my solar panels myself?

Yes, you can clean your solar panels yourself, provided they're easily accessible and safe for you. If they're high or difficult to reach, hiring professionals is best.

What services does 'Going Solar' provide?

'Going Solar' provides various services, including solar panel installation, cleaning, and maintenance. We also offer expert advice on maximising the efficiency of your solar power system.

Do dirty solar panels significantly reduce efficiency?

Yes, dirty solar panels can lead to a decrease in energy production. Dust, dirt, and other debris can cause solar shading, blocking sunlight and reducing the efficiency and output of your solar panels. Regular cleaning ensures they function optimally.

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*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.
Author Fahad Zahid
Founder @ Going Solar

Joe Brennan, the founder of Going Solar, is dedicated to making solar power mainstream in Ireland and meet SEAI objectives. With a focus on affordability and sustainability, he is bringing renewable energy solutions to homes, reducing costs & environmental impact.