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How to clean solar panels?

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Sullivan Solar Power

Solar energy systems are a dream investment for many - there is low to no maintenance and your electric bill drops to nothing. However, for customers living in areas close to canyons or places where dust tends to build on the panels, it may be a good idea to explore cleaning the panels to ensure maximum production.

Why do you need to clean solar panels?

Solar panels work best with direct sun exposure. When particulates, such as dust, pollen, or even bird droppings accumulate on your panels, it limits the amount of direct sunlight the panels are exposed to. As mentioned below, rain water can rinse most of this away, but the problem is exacerbated especially in dry climates with little rain and higher amounts of dust (i.e. Southern California).

How to clean solar panels?

Here are a few options for cleaning your panels:

  • Rain - A good rain will do the trick. However, if we go through another notorious California drought, you may need to consult other options.
  • Hose water - Your standard hose should suffice to rinse off your panels of any debris or dust. We recommend doing this either early in the morning or at dusk, as cold water on a hot panel in the middle of the day is not a risk worth taking. Most solar panels are tempered glass, but to play it safe, it is best to do it while outside temperatures are still cool. If you cannot reach your panels with a hose or if you have to get on a ladder to reach them, you may want to seek professional help.
  • Hire a professional - There are companies out there that strictly deal in cleaning solar panels and for a reasonable price. This is a common choice if you have buildup, like bird droppings, that you want to remove and would require brushes. If you seek this option, we advise that you use an accredited company that will not use any abrasive chemicals or brushes. If you get your windows washed by a professional company, you can also ask that company to wash the panels.

Sullivan Solar Power recommends once a quarter if you live in a very dusty area, but our very own team members have gone years without cleaning, so use your discretion. We have not found any significant loss in production. As always, please do not put yourself in harm's way if you want to clean your panels - consult a professional if you have any doubts regarding the safety of yourself or of your panels.

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