How Important is it to Wash My Solar Panels?

When Should I Wash My Solar Panels?

For most residential solar systems, in which the panels are installed on sloped roofs with a tilt of 15 degrees or more, you do not need to wash your solar panels as rain will do the work for you.

However, for many commercial and some residential solar systems in which the roof is flatter and the panels are tilted 10 degrees or less, we recommend that you wash the panels once or twice a year. If you don’t, the dust, pollen, dirt, and bird droppings that accumulate over time can lead to a significant decrease in your system’s energy output.

How Should I Clean My Solar Panels?

                        Microfiber Cloth

You could always hire a crew to clean them for you, but you could also do it yourself easily. All you need is water and a microfiber cloth. It is important that you use a microfiber cloth (can be purchased at your local hardware store) so you don’t damage your panels. Microfiber is known to have superior scrubbing power and can even clean without the need for soap. It is better to use distilled water over regular water, but if you don’t have distilled water, regular water works too. Soap is not necessary to clean your panels.

To wash the panels, simply wet the panels with the water, but make sure that if you are using a hose, the pressure of the water is not too high to ensure you don’t damage the panels. Next, wipe the panels using the microfiber cloth until the dirt is gone and the panels are dry.

If you clean your panels in this manner, you do not need to turn off the solar panel system in order to safely clean them. However, if you are using any sort of metal object in the cleaning process, then you MUST turn off the solar panels completely or you run the risk of electrocution.

Follow these steps and your energy output will be maximized, your panels will continue to provide you with maximum energy and save you tons of money for years to come!

Case Study: An Aikyum Solar Customer

An Aikyum Solar customer had us install rooftop solar panels for his new home in Southern California. However, after the installation, the customer had stucco cement work done which left excessive dirt and cement all over the solar panels. Aikyum Solar washed the panels and the production bumped up by 25%. This is a rare case where there was excessive construction done post solar installation and it did not rain interim.  Below you will see two charts, the first showing the customer’s solar energy production before washing the panels and the second showing the production after.  The difference is quite substantial.

Power Output (kW) Before (left) and After (right) Washing the Solar Panels vs. Time of Day