How Do You Clean Solar Panels on a Roof?

Solar panels need regular maintenance, including cleaning. So what’s the best way to clean solar panels on a roof?

Most experts recommend simply using soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge to clean your solar panels – similar to how you would clean your car.

Find out everything you need to know about the best way to clean solar panels on a roof.

Things to Consider Before Cleaning Solar Panels on a Roof

Some of the things to consider before cleaning solar panels on a roof include the following:

Check your manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning solar panels. Solar panels are made from different materials with different specifications. 

Consider hiring a professional if solar panels are on a roof or in a hard-to-reach place. Cleaning solar panels on a roof could be dangerous.

If you plan to take the DIY route, buy a hard hat, a sturdy ladder, and a harness before getting on your roof. Cleaning solar panels on a roof can be significantly more dangerous than cleaning solar panels on the ground.

If your solar panels receive regular rain, they may not need cleaning. Rain washes away dirt and debris from solar panels, and extra cleaning could increase the risk of damage. 

Shut off your solar panels before washing them. Because solar panels are electrical equipment, it’s not a good idea to mix electrical current and water.  

Use Soapy Water and a Soft Brush to Clean Solar Panels

Most manufacturers recommend using soapy water and a soft brush or cloth to clean solar panels – similar to how you would clean a car.

Solar panels are delicate, and certain cleaning techniques can cause more harm than good. A scratch on your solar panels could cause a lifetime decrease in efficiency, for example. 

The best way to clean a solar panel is to use a brush to clear large debris from the panels, then use a garden hose to clean away dirt and grime.

If necessary, use soapy water (water mixed with dish soap) to clean the additional mess from your panels. Use soap sparingly to avoid impacting panel efficiency. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Solar Panels on a Roof

If you decide to clean your solar panels, consider the following steps:

Step 1) Remove Dirt, Dust, Leaves, and Other Large Debris Using a Soft Brush

Safely gain access to your roof using a ladder. Then, use a gentle brush to dislodge large debris from your solar panels. Avoid spraying your solar panels with water, as it could create mud and grime that’s more difficult to dislodge. 

Step 2) Spray Solar Panels with a Standard Garden Hose

Next, use an ordinary garden hose (without an attached nozzle) to spray the panels clean. Your garden hose has an appropriate amount of water pressure for gently removing dirt and debris from your solar panels. Using a pressure washer or high-pressure cleaner could crack your solar panels.

Step 3) Use a Soft Brush or Cloth to Clean Stubborn Areas

Some areas on your solar panels may be difficult to clean with the soft pressure of a hose. Take note of these areas, then tackle them with a soft brush, sponge, cloth, or squeegee. Dunk the brush into clean water, then gently scrub the panels to remove dirt and grime. 

Step 4) For Additional Dirt & Grim, Use a Basic Cleaning Solution

Some grimy areas of your solar panel may be extra difficult to remove. If you cannot remove dirt and grime with a soft brush and water, then use a simple cleaning solution to tackle stubborn areas. Mix dish soap with water, then apply it to your solar panels. For added cleaning power, consider mixing dish soap with a blend of 8 parts water and 1 part vinegar. Then, rinse your solar panels with clean water. Use soap sparingly overall. It can leave streaks on solar panels when rinsed and decrease their efficiency

That’s it! Reactivate your solar panels, then monitor your home’s energy production to ensure everything is normal. 

Other Tips for Cleaning Solar Panels on a Roof  

Cleaning solar panels on a roof can be challenging and dangerous. Here are some tips to make things easier:

Contact a Professional: You can find professional solar panel cleaners eager to clean your solar panels safely and efficiently with minimal risk of damage. Consider hiring professional solar panel cleaners for your job – especially if you’re uncomfortable getting on your roof or if the solar panels are in a difficult-to-reach location. Professional solar panel cleaners also know how to safely turn your solar panels off and on.

Avoid Touching the Underside of your Solar Panels When Cleaning: Although your solar panels should always be turned off when cleaning, you should nevertheless avoid touching the underside of your panels during cleaning.

Buy Extension Tools: If you’re uncomfortable climbing onto the roof, then consider using extension tools to clean solar panels on a roof. Extension tools can allow you to safely clean certain panels with a hose. However, you may need additional equipment (or longer extension tools) for panels on second and third-floor roofs.

Clean Solar Panels on a Cool Day: On a hot day, your solar panels could crack as the water dries. Choose a cooler day to reduce the risk of a cracked panel.

Avoid Using Heavy-Duty Cleaning Products: The best way to clean solar panels is with clean water. If you need stronger cleaning power, consider using dish soap mixed with vinegar and water. Avoid using heavy-duty cleaning solutions.

Avoid Abrasive Soaps, Cloths, Towels, or Squeegees: Some soaps are abrasive. They contain natural particles to dislodge built-up mess. You should avoid using abrasive soaps, cloths, towels, squeegees, or other items on your solar panels, as they could cause serious damage. 

Check your Cloth for Things that Could Scratch Your Panels Before You Clean: A small rock lodged in your cleaning cloth could wreak havoc on your solar panels, leading to scratches and cracks. Check your cloth, squeegee, or brush before you start cleaning to minimize the risk of solar panel damage. 

Final Word

If you need to clean solar panels on a roof, then the hardest part is getting onto your roof safely – and staying on your roof while cleaning.

If you’re uncomfortable accessing your roof or if your solar panels are in a hard-to-reach place, then consider hiring professionals.

However, if you’re comfortable reaching your panels, then cleaning the panels is straightforward: use a soft brush to dislodge large debris from your panels, then use a garden hose to remove dirt and grime gently. If necessary, use dish soap mixed with water and vinegar to target stubborn areas.

By following these tips, you can clean solar panels on a roof and ensure your solar panels stay at maximum efficiency.

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