Giraffe Window Cleaning

5 Steps For Cleaning Your Solar Panels

Save time and money when it comes to cleaning your solar panels by learning the steps you need to take to clean them like a pro.

You may have heard that the rain is enough to clean the glass on your solar panels, until you take a look and realise that this is not the case. So here are my 5 steps to cleaning your solar panels like a pro.

Turning off the power from the solar panels is a good place to start before you decide to start cleaning them.  There is nothing worse than having an impromptu Michael Jackson break out when you get zapped by electricity.  These systems are pretty robust and the chances of electrocution are low, but if the system is damaged or compromised in anyway this can be dangerous.

So, where possible, turn off the power before you do anything else.

Accessing the Panels

Having both feet firmly on the ground will always be the safer option when it comes to carrying out any task in life.  Falling from heights is the leading cause of work fatalities. 122 fatalities from falls from heights make up 13% of all fatalities.  So, you don’t want to be another statistic.

Using a water fed extension pole works great for these instances where the panels are on a steep pitched roof.  Easily accessible and easy enough to see the work you are carrying out.

If your home has many angles to the roof or happens to be a flat roof.  Then you may have to venture onto the top of your home.  With the use of a good set of ladders, extend the ladders a few rungs past the edge off the roof.  This will give you something to hold onto when you get to the edge of the roof.  Remember to look up before you place or climb ladders resting against your roof. Stay away from any power lines. 

Use proper safety precautions.  If you are going to be walking on the roof make sure you have the appropriate safety measures in place.  This could be rope and harness or some other fall protection device.  Ensure you have non slip shoes on as well.

Pro Tip.  To stop the ladder from sliding away under you.  Let’s say you are on an angled driveway, or the flooring is slippery.  Grab a rubber mat from your local Bunnings or hardware store, place the ladders on top of the mat.  This provides the ladder with additional friction to the bottom of the feet which will prevent it from slipping away from you.

what Should I use to Clean Solar Panels?

What’s the best product to clean your solar panels with?

The first thing you should do is to consult the manufacturers guidelines, which should outline how you should go about maintaining your panels.  In my experience there are a number of different ways to clean them depending on your experience and accessibility to tools.

  1. You could use just your normal standard hose hooked up to the tap.  This will remove dust and dirt from the panels.  But for stubborn dirt and  grime, you are going to need something that is a little stronger to agitate that dirt or remove lichen.   Also remember that tap water contains a lot of minerals, so when it dries on the panel you may end up with hard water stains, which may affect the efficiency of the panel.
  2. You can use just a bucket of water with some washing up liquid and a cloth.  Dip the cloth in the bucket and scrub the dirt off the solar panels.  This may not be the best method if you have tank water as you don’t want the run off to get into your tank. 
  3. Use a bucket, mop and squeegee.  Just like window cleaners use to apply the soapy water to and from the panels, this will have the same effect. 
  4. Use the mop and squeegee and add an extension pole into the mix and this will save you time and save your back.  This will prevent you from leaning over the panels.
  5. Or you can use a water fed pole, which uses pure water to clean the solar panels thoroughly.  The benefits to using the water fed pole is that there are no chemicals involved.  So if you have a water tank attached to your gutters, any run off from the panels into the gutters will not affect the tank water.  Not everyone has a water-fed pole so get in touch with a professional who is sure to give you a quote for this option.lichen
Solar panel cleaning with water fed pole

Does Cleaning Solar Panels Really Make A Difference?

Having dirty panels will affect the amount of power you are able to harness from the sun’s rays.  You have installed this system to save money on power costs.  So making sure that the panels are working to their full capacity is going to extend the life of the panels and give you value for money.

You could increase the amount of power generated by as much as 25%.  Check out this video which shows you in real time the amount of energy created through cleaner panels.  

Keeping the panels clean will also help with the appearance.  Having panels covered in dirt,  grime, lichen and bird poop is not the best look and an even worst look for your neighbours.

Clean panels also remove the build up of pests on your panels, like spiders, ants and other creepy crawlies.  Let’s not invite them anywhere near your home.

Moss and lichen build up on your solar panels causes shading and can affect the performance of your system.

Generally clean panels just extend the working life of your system.  If you look after the panels they will look after you.  You only have to take a look at the older generation, with their perfect looking lawns and immaculate vintage cars.  They know the value of money and so they look after their property.  Prevention is always better than cure.

How Often Should I Clean My Solar Panels?

Solar panels should be cleaned regularly every 3-6 months.  

This greatly depends on where you live and the type of pollutants that your solar panel will come into contact with.  If you live near a park or forest you are more likely to get bird poop on your panels.  Whereas if you live near a busy freeway or building site you are more likely to come in contact with more dust and grime.

After cleaning your solar panels you can keep an eye on the amount of power it is generating as well as a visual of how dirty your panels are becoming.  This will give you an indication on when they are due for a clean.

If you are looking to have a professional carry out the work for you, feel free to contact us at GiraffeWindowCleaning.com.au/Contact


1 thought on “5 Steps For Cleaning Your Solar Panels”

  1. Thanks for sharing this interesting blog with us. I am also a solar panel cleaner and run a solar panel cleaning company in California called “Aqua Solar Cleaners”. Here we offer residential & commercial solar panel cleaning services with Semi-Annual, Quarterly, and monthly options. We have also mentioned some interesting strategies. Thanks!

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