How to Clean Solar Panels on the Roof?
Do you have solar panels installed on your roof? Are you thinking about cleaning them but don’t know how to do it? Then this article is for you.
I have just installed solar panels on the roof of my house as well. I was inquisitive about how to clean them properly getting up on the roof without hiring an expert. I did a little digging to know all about it like how to do it safely without harming the panels.
Here I have tried to provide every detail as per my research. You will find it really handy while cleaning your panels yourself.
How Do the Solar Panels Get Dirty?
Before cleaning the panels, you need to know what types of dirt are you dealing with. The number one enemy of solar panels is bird droppings. They are harder to clean and can get easily stuck.
Firstly, identify which inverter your solar panel has. String inverters or micro inverters? Whenever your solar panel has microinverters, the droppings will be easily visible as it has an inverter joined with each panel.
It can also get dirty by dust, leaves, or water. Hence, the location of your house is really important here. Suppose you have a lot of trees beside your home, your panels will easily get covered by the leaves.
A little dust might not affect the sunlight to pass through, but it will be an issue if your house is adjacent to the main road.
Accordingly, angled solar panels are comparatively easier to clean because when the rain falls, it gets cleaned automatically. On the other hand, the flat panels are going to need more cleaning as the rainwater also gets somewhat stuck because of the flat surface.
Things that You Will Need
The things you will need is a garden hose pipe, a mop or a sponge or a soft cloth, a kind of cleaner that is readily available for you and a pair of gloves. I have seen many good reviews about a panel cleaner named ‘Windex.’
Avoid using any harsh cleaner. A mild detergent will also work. I prefer using a mop as it allows you to stand in one place. By this way, you will not need to move with a piece of cloth which is a bit dangerous.
Steps of Cleaning Your Panel
Cleaning a solar panel standing on the roof can be a pretty risky and tricky task. Therefore, you need to plan everything out before jumping into it. Let us have a look at the steps of cleaning panels safely.
Step 1: Checking for Special Instructions
You must check the manufacturer’s guide for cleaning your panel. Look for any special precaution for that particular brand. If there is no fixed way explained, you can easily follow my instructions. You will be shocked knowing how simple it is!
Step 2: Climbing Up on the Roof Safely
As you are cleaning your panel by yourself, you must be cautious while getting on the roof. You can use a harness while climbing through the ladder and cleaning the roof so that you do not fall and get hurt.
Choose a cooler day to clean your panels since they can get really hot. In that sense, early morning is the best time to do it.
Step 3: Washing the Panels
For starter, you will have to run water on the panels through the pipe. The water flow should not create any pressure on your panels. Then pour an adequate amount of cleaner on it.
Accordingly, use your mop or cloth to spread the soap perfectly and brush through the panels with your mop. Be as gentle as possible. Thus, you should be able to clean your panel thoroughly. Then start the water flow again to clean the soap off.
Step 4: Rechecking
You should wait on the roof until the panels get dry. After it does, check if there is any stain that remained from the soap. Furthermore, check whether any oily residue is still visible or not.
In case you find something, you will have to clean that particular area again. Isopropyl alcohol is a really good oil removing cleaner for spot cleaning.
Cautions that You Need to Maintain
Since you are not a professional, it is imperative for you to be a hundred percent confident that you will be able to manage your balance on the roof.
Now that I have mentioned before, never even think of getting on the roof without a harness. The roof might get slippery while cleaning the panels. In addition, it is not worthy of risking your life for cleaning solar panels.
You must not use any harsh product to clean like metal objects because they will cause harm to your panels. Besides, you will not need to be harsh.
Do You Need to Involve a Professional?
Do you have height phobia? If yes, I think cleaning the panels on the roof by yourself will not be a good idea. Only in this situation, you can hire a professional. Otherwise, you don’t need to involve any experienced person to do this job.
That is because I do not find any difference between cleaning a window and a panel. The basic work is the same, you just need to be a bit more cautious. Moreover, it doesn’t really get dirty often. You need to keep checking from time to time.
You can also check for cracks or bird nests inside your panels or any other injury to your panels by yourself. A solar panel can last you twenty-five to forty years depending on how you take care of it. Alternatively, it can lose its efficiency up to twenty-five percent if not cleaned or maintained properly.
Lastly, cleaning your panels should not be a tough risky job for you if you follow my instructions. Clean the panel as gently as possible. Do not use a hose pipe with high pressure.
For the sake of avoiding climbing up to the roof by ladder to check the panels, you can install CCTV camera. Thus, you will be able to know whether your panels need cleaning or not from your home.