As long as your solar panels are mounted in an angle and not simply laid flat on their back you will not need to hire a solar panel cleaning company, in fact you will not have to clean them at all. Several studies and homeowner testify that the performance gain of manual cleaning is simply not worth the cost or the time. The exception to this is of course if you have a large flock of pigeons living on your roof that insist on shitting on them. In that case I recommend you bring out your sponges and a gun.

Solar panel cleaning companies will boast about 20%-40% performance gain after a cleaning. What they don’t tell you is that these numbers are coming from power conversion of flatly laid panels and thus won’t apply to your steeply angled ones.

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So for the most of us cleaning of the solar system results in a mere visual gratification and the sense of accomplishment one usually gets from polishing stuff squeaky clean.  Cleaning the solar panels does not have to be more complicated then rolling out the garden house and simply spraying them clean. For those of you that feel insecure on the water squirting and sponge rubbing part here is a guide how to >>. But one thing is for sure you definitely don’t need to hire someone to do it for you and here is why:

We don’t need solar panel cleaning in rainy climates

Manny professional solar panel cleaners argue that the rain will wash dirt away from your solar panels as little as it will wash the dirt of your car. But the thing is, I wash my car to make it look good and so that people won’t be doodling artistic creations, or write “CLEAN ME” in the dust. But just as the thin layer of filth on your car won’t make it run any slower it won’t significantly decrease the performance of your solar panels either. A parallel with dirty windows can be drawn as well. Even if your windows are cover with pollen, dust, exhausts and so on you will still be able to see when standing inside the room the windows mounted in, wont you. You will even be able too look through the window and look outside pretty clearly, even though the window is dirty. This means that almost the same amount of light passes through the window with or without dirt. Studies have shown that as long as your panels are mounted in a nice slope they hardly don’t need any cleaning at all.

We don’t need solar panel cleaning in dry climates

dry climate sun power

Photo: Public Domain Karen Arnold

But what if there is no rain in my neighborhood to wash my panels, don’t I need to hire a solar panel cleaning company then? A solar array that goes without being rained upon loses as little as 0,05% of its electricity production ability per 24hours. This would mean that in the summer drought that in some states could be as long as five months the energy loss would only amount to 7,5% before the panels got cleaned by mother nature again. Let’s say one had a 5kW solar system on the roof, the cleaning of the solar panels halfway through the summer drought would amount to the “spectacular” saving of $20 in electricity output. I am sorry to say I don’t think that any cleaning company will climb your roof for less than $100 dollars.

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But wont non filtered water damage my solar panes? NO it won’t!

solar panel cleaning with water

Photo: Public Domain George Hodan

Then there is the bullshit about that you can not clean your solar panels with ordinary water because it will leave evil residues and corrode your aluminum frames. So because of that you simply need to use the cleaning firm’s special super filtered water. OMG its water we are talking about not nuclear acid. This is the same water that periodically rains on your, car, bicycle, windows, roof and of course your solar panels as well. Your solar panels are made to withstand the extreme forces of nature for 25-40 years. Covered by tempered or flat plate glass and treated with anti oxidizing agents they will stand fast and give you power even when scoured by wind, water snow, hail, dust, humidity, salt and whatnot. An occasional extra spraying of simple H2O from your garden hose won’t hurt them a bit.

What the solar panel cleaning companies reefer to as nasty residues is simple limescale, an unsightly occurrence but hardly damaging. This is the white stuff that you can find in the bottom of the shower or as little spots on the water tap.  It is true that after a car wash, the vehicle is sprayed with low osmosis water. This is done to remove those ugly white spots and allowing the refinish to shine at its full potential. Thou it is but a cosmetical feature and the flashy effect will be washed away with the next rainfall.  The same thing applies to solar panels as well.


And then there is the fear of soap

solar panel cleaning with soap

Photo: Public Domain George Hodan

If you decide to wash your solar panels, which you shouldn’t need to do in the first place, solar panel cleaning companies claim that you absolutely can not use soap since it will pollute nature and kill everything in its path. This is an exaggeration, as long as you use a reasonable amount of biodeganrable “ordinary” soap Mother Nature will be fine. Soap will decompose in under a week and is only hazardous to aquatic life if let out in large quantities. Your annual spring cleaning does not count as large quantities. If following what the cleaners say you wouldn’t be able to wash neither your windows nor your car.


Final thoughts

So to conclude this article I say this: Don’t wash your solar panels for performance gain wash them to make them sparkle and your neighbors jealous. And in the case that you do wash them, don’t let the solar panel cleaning firms trick you into believing that you can not do it your self, you certainly can!


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3 Responses to Solar panel cleaning – Why you don’t need to hire a solar panel cleaning company

  1. Solar Panel upkeep says:

    its imperative that you do regular observation, and subsequent solar panel cleaning to get the most from your own solar panels and hawe them working at their best

    • Solar Panels Photovoltaic says:

      well if you actually bothered to read the post you would see that, no its not. Solar panel cleaning is mostly a redundant chore.

  2. Lou says:

    Its a shame that solar panel manufacturers do not agree with you at all. A little bit of research into their manuals shows that many suggest regular (1+ times a year) cleaning using soft water and soft cloths, sponges or brushes. Many also suggest not using detergents or chemicals. You don’t seem to reference your claims so neither will I. A simply search will find plenty of panel manufacturers manuals where people can check for themselves.

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