Do you need to clean dust off solar panels?

However, the accumulation of dust on solar panels or mirrors is already a major problem: it can reduce the production of photovoltaic panels by up to 30 percent in just one month, so regular cleaning is essential for this type of installation. Maintaining panels is critical, but you don't need to clean them as often as most people think. You may need to remove the occasional buildup of leaves, bird droppings, and other debris to maximize the amount of sunlight exposure the panels receive. The usual wind and rain usually sweep away most of the dirt, so it's best to let nature take its course and do only thorough cleaning each year to maximize energy production.

The answer lies somewhere in between. There's no need to clean solar panels, but you'll sacrifice some of the efficiency by not cleaning them. And while it is true that rain will remove certain substances that accumulate in the panels, it will not be as effective as manual cleaning. In fact, some solar panel manufacturers require you to clean them every six months for the warranty to remain valid.

Professional cleaning companies provide a washing service and also check for any damage caused by birds and the environment. Remember that if your roof is low enough to spray from the ground, but high enough to need a pressure washer or nozzle to concentrate hose pressure, don't destroy the solar panels directly with pulses of high-pressure water. The scratches will create small shadows on the photovoltaic cells located under the tempered glass layer, which will permanently exhaust the energy production of the solar panels. These water leaks can cause corrosion of thin cables, causing the solar panel and its photovoltaic cells to fail.

As some solar installers only focus on new installations, not all of them offer services such as solar panel cleaning. In addition to simply reducing solar energy generation, the water layer can leave behind a muddy residue after evaporation, making it necessary to clean it more often. If you've decided to clean your panels yourself, what matters is that you follow these cleaning tips to keep you and the solar system safe. However, the more sticky the build-up, the more likely you'll have to hire professionals or buy specific cleaning tools and supplies to clean the panels.

Others say that solar panels should only be rinsed once in a while if you see remarkably low solar production. Meanwhile, regular rain can remove dust and cause solar panels to continue to produce around 95% of their maximum capacity. If you were to rinse the panels with soap and water while they are hot, the water would evaporate instantly and create a film that would require additional cleaning measures to remove it. However, snow from solar panels usually melts quickly, thanks to the heat created by solar panels and their slippery surface.

Bird droppings and other dirt agents can affect the performance of solar panels, especially if the panels are completely horizontal on the roof. If you bought them directly from a solar panel company, check the manufacturer's website to see if there are suppliers in your area that can repair them. Whether you have a rigid rooftop installation or a series of portable solar panels, it's best to keep cleaning to a minimum. This is where washing the panels becomes important, although in many cases it doesn't have to be a thorough or routine cleaning.