how to clean sunpower solar panels

How To Clean SunPower Solar Panels - The Cleaning Tips & Checklist

“How to clean SunPower solar panels? Or do solar panels require regular maintenance or cleaning? 

We are often asked this question. And fortunately, the quick answer is no. Nature does all the hard work for you, but quick cleaning of your SunPower solar panel once or twice a year can help keep your system running at full capacity.

Here are some tips on how to determine when and how to clean Sunpower solar panels, and when it’s time to seek professional help.

Why Do Sunpower Solar Panels Need to be Cleaned?

Panels that are covered in too much dirt or debris can produce less power.

In most cases, power losses are negligible – perhaps 1-4.7%. But one study found that prolonged accumulation of dirt can reduce a solar panel’s power output by 25%.

The good news is that the seasonal rains and melting snow usually wash away any dirt or animal feces that may have accumulated. But if your area gets very little rainfall and the weather is dusty and windy, your panels may need cleaning from time to time. Some homeowners are confident that they clean the panels themselves, others opt for professional cleaning.

How Do I Know When My SunPower Solar Panels Need Cleaning?

Perform a monthly visual inspection for noticeable accumulation of dust. In addition, you can monitor your electricity bill or check the solar system monitoring application for noticeable performance degradation. Only then should you worry about cleaning your SunPower solar panels. And even then, nature will likely clean them up for you.

What should I use to clean my SunPower solar panels?

Fortunately, cleaning solar panels is easy for ground systems and for some solar systems on the roof of a typical one-story house. People typically use a hose and brush with soft bristles and a long handle, such as those used to clean RVs or trucks. Water is usually sufficient, and fingerprints, smudges, or dirt on the glass can be removed with over-the-counter glass cleaners or a 3% soap solution.

If access to the panels is difficult, you can use a high-pressure hose nozzle with a nozzle that retains the cleaning solution. Find a safe place to stand, spray the panels with soapy water, then rinse thoroughly. It really is that simple.

Before deciding to clean the panels yourself, you should find out what your solar provider covers. With many rentals, cleaning is free, and if you are a landlord, you must ensure that you do not use cleaning tools or methods that will void your warranty.

When should a specialist be called?

Just like washing your car or cleaning your house, you can hire a professional to clean your SunPower solar panels.

If you have a rooftop system, it may be a good idea to hire a professional cleaning service. In addition to the convenience of not climbing on the roof yourself, professionals are properly equipped to keep the roof safe. Whenever you hire a professional, you must make sure they are licensed and connected. For floor units, this may not be worth the maintenance fee as you can safely clean your own panels with a simple dose of water and liquid soap.

How often should solar panels be cleaned?

Again, nature can take care of the cleaning routine for you. But you should keep eyes on your monthly electricity bill or monitoring app. If you notice a noticeable drop in performance, it might be time for a quick cleanup. As a general rule, cleaning the system about twice a year should be sufficient.

If you live in the western United States, where wildfires happen every year, be sure to check your solar panels for ash or soot after nearby fires are securely contained. Since they are different from typical dust or pet feces, you may want to consult a professional to find out the best way to despot them.

How much does a professional solar panel cleaning cost?

Thumbtack cited over a million professional solar panel cleaning jobs in 2020 and found the national average to be $130*. Many professionals charge per panel or per hour. Professional cleaning of an average 32-panel system typically takes up to 2 hours. 

However, prices and time required will vary depending on a number of factors such as your zip code, number of panels, roof pitch, and availability of your system. Check with your solar supplier to see if they can clean your panels or recommend a company that can do it for you.

How to Clean SunPower Solar Panels- The Best Way

Necessary materials:

  • A tube
  • Water
  • Glass cleaner or 3% soap and water solution (optional)
  • Soft-bristled brush or scraper (like those used for darts and motorhomes)

Time Commitment:

  • 30 minutes – 2 hours (depending on system size and availability)

Frequency:

  • 1-2 times a year (depending on weather conditions)

The cost of hiring a professional:

  • $133 (national average)*

So here are the basic steps for cleaning your SunPower solar panels:

  1. First, read the solar system and panel warranty to understand the terms and conditions, including any cleaning requirements. As stated above, if you rent your system, your solar supplier can do it for you as part of the warranty service. If you have any questions, please discuss them with your solar supplier prior to cleaning.
  2. 2.Stay on the ground or have a professional cleaner do it for you.
  3. Clean early in the morning or in the evening when the panels have cooled down. At high temperatures, water and soap can evaporate quickly, leaving streaks and streaks.
  4. To clean the module, simply rinse the glass surface with unheated softened, distilled, or deionized water. Normal water pressure is sufficient, but pressurized water up to 1500 psi may be used with caution.
  5. If you are using a high-pressure water hose, stay away from the signs. While they are extremely durable, you don’t want to risk possible damage.
  6. Stubborn fingerprints, smudges, or dirt on glass can be removed with over-the-counter glass cleaners or a 3% soap solution if needed.
  7. For smaller systems, dampen the module glass with the cleaning solution and let it sit for five minutes. Then wet them again and use a soft sponge or seamless cloth to wipe the glass surface in a circular motion.
  8. For larger systems, moisten the module glass with the cleaning solution and let it sit for five minutes. Then wash them with high-pressure water or with a soft scrubber.
  9. To be updated once or twice a year or as needed.
  10. It’s very simple. And if you’re still considering a solar system, check out our solar calculator to find out how much clean energy you’ll produce and how much money you’ll save with SunPower’s all-in-one solar home system.

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