Cleaning

A man is emptying the solar powered pool cleaner

Solar Powered Pool Cleaners

Solar Powered Pool Cleaners

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

Enjoying the sun, barbecue, drinks, and family at the swimming pool is the perfect Sunday experience. However, to have the most pleasant experience, the pool needs to be clean. The problem is that it’s a tedious process to manually remove debris from the water. No one wants to do that.

There is a simpler, eco-friendly, and effective solution that will save you time and money. We are talking about the best solar-powered pool cleaners of 2022. These pool cleaners are designed to operate automatically. They detect the presence of debris and remove it from your pool, leaving clean and clear water behind.

There are two main types of solar pool cleaners: solar pool skimmers and ionizers. Both of them are designed to clean your pool but they are intended for two different purposes. We will examine them in this short review. Let’s take a look.

Solar Robot Pool Skimmers

1. Instapark Betta Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Instapark Betta Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner is a valuable option to remove up to 90-95% of leaves, dust, pollen, plastic, dirt, and even bacteria from your pool. By simply activating the Breeze NX2 and placing it on the water, the robot will automatically detect the presence of debris and use its integrated paddles to store undesired elements in your pool inside an onboard chlorine tray.

Once all debris has been removed from the water, the robot will detect when the pool is clean through its integrated sensors. It will then turn itself off. Afterward, all you’ll need to do is to remove the collection chamber from the Breeze NX2 and dispose of waste.

Using the integrated solar panels in the upper side of its case, the robot can convert sunlight into electricity to power the electronic circuitry needed to keep the Breeze NX2 running. Once completely charged, the robot will be able to keep running for 23.5 hours.

Moreover, this solar-powered robotic pool cleaner filters water as well through an ultra-fine nylon mesh that also cleans your water.

Key Features:

  • Ultra-fine nylon mesh that filters water
  • Reduces pool pump run time up to 2/3 times
  • Automatic function detects the absence of debris

Key Specifications:

Running time up to 23.5 hours
Removes up to 90-95% of debris
Weight: 12.35 pounds (5.6kg)

2. Instapark Betta Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner

Among solar-powered pool skimmers, the Instapark Betta Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner is one of those that stands out from the rest thanks to its elegant design and performance.

This product features four infrared sensors that allow the robot to detect the presence of obstacles and debris. This avoids any chance of the SolaSkimmer from getting stuck on any corner or wall of the pool, essential for its automatic functionality. Moreover, this robot also features a wire guard that blocks cords and hoses from passing through the paddles of the SolaSkimmer. As the robot filters the water, the collected debris, leaves, or algae is stored inside a removable tray. By doing this, the pool cleaner can reduce pump circulation times. This reduces electricity consumption and energy costs.

The SolaSkimmer works with water jets in its backside that are powered by a set of solar cells located on the top side of the case and can run continuously over 8 hours cleaning the pool using a single full charge.

Key Features:

  • Four integrated infrared sensors
  • Two charging options: 110V outlet/solar energy
  • Requires at least 4 hours

Key Specifications:

Dimensions: 23.8 x 23.8 x 11 inches
Weight: 22.2 pounds (10 kg)
Operation time: 8 hours

Solar Pool Ionizers

1. Remington Solar Powered Pool Cleaner

side facing floatron solar powered pool cleaner

The Remington Solar Powered Pool Cleaner are electronic devices designed to automatically clean your pool or pond water from algae by using natural minerals. This is done by energizing a specially alloyed mineral electrode that is powered by a small solar cell that is located on the top side of the cleaner which allows for solar ionization. The device is battery-based, but it does not require battery replacement during its lifetime.

The electrode releases mineral ions that convert your pool water into ionized-water that regulates the presence of microorganisms inside your pool. It is important to know that the electrode will require replacement after 1-3 seasons.

Solar ionization is a process that takes about a week to be completed and that transforms your water into a biologically healthy and also algae resistant mineral water. Due to this fact, it is recommended to maintain a normal sanitizer level during this initialization period.

This pool sanitizer is an economical alternative to the chemical chlorine option that will avoid red eyes and the side-effects that come with chlorine pools. The Floatron pool cleaner works perfectly in pools up to 40,000 gallons.

Key Features:

  • Electrode requires replacement after 1-3 seasons
  • Highly portable
  • Includes 24-month warranty

Key Specifications:

Works in pools up to 40,000 gallons
Reduces chemical expenses up to 80%
Weight: 1 pound (0.4 kg)

2. Remington Solar Swimming Pool Ionizer

up facing remington solar swimming pool ionizer

The Remington Solar Swimming Pool Ionizer Sun Shock ionizer has received multiple positive solar pool cleaner reviews thanks to its 20-year proven technology that easily removes microbes and algae from the water of your swimming pool. By using a set of solar cells, the Remington device generates a low-wattage electrical current that is linked to a copper tube which creates copper and silver ions in the water that eliminate bacteria and algae from your swimming pool.

All you need to do is drop the device in the water and it will start working automatically. A small amount of chlorine will still be needed for sanitizing purposes (2 to 3 parts per million) but the amount of chemicals needed will be reduced up to 80%, reducing costs for pool maintenance as well. Suitable for both above ground and in-ground pools.

The Remington solar pool ionizer can handle pools up to 25,000 gallons representing a valuable alternative to the typical chlorine option. If your pool has a bigger capacity, all you need to do is to add another Sun Shock to perform a thorough cleaning process.

Key Features:

  • Reduces filter wear and tear
  • Easy to clean with the included brush
  • 90-day warranty

Key Specifications:

Works in pools up to 25,000 gallons
Reduces chemical expenses up to 80%
Weight: 3.75 pounds (1.67 kg)

3. CopperFlo Solar Pool Ionizer

side facing copperflo solar pool ionizer

Finally, the last option on our list is the CopperFlo Solar Pool Ionizer. This is designed with the highest quality solar panel intended to last for years.

Solar-powered pool cleaners like this one can prevent the presence of algae while reducing the need for chlorine and chemicals up to 85%. The ionizer only needs a small amount of chlorine to work properly. Tests performed with this device show that the pH is stable across the operation of this ionizer. Just like other pool ionizers, this model works by releasing copper and silver ions into the water that drastically reduce the growth of algae.

The device can clean pools with a water capacity of up to 45,000 gallons without damaging the finish of the swimming pool. It is important to notice that the copper bar will probably need replacement after two years of operation.

Key Features:

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Copper anode requires replacement after two years
  • Includes a Buddy Band for protection against scratches

Key Specifications:

Works for pools up to 45,000 gallons
Reduces chemical expenses up to 85%
Weight: 3.62 pounds

3 Things to Think About When Buying a Solar Powered Pool Skimmer

Running times

Solar pool skimmers work by using photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electricity to charge an integrated DC battery that powers a small dynamo which in turn makes the paddles spin to filter the water.

The integrated battery will have a maximum capacity that can be reached. On sunny days, the skimmer should be able to get recharged as it spends electricity. During the cloudy days, the skimmer might have to run using its battery.

This is why, having a longer running time (on a full charge) is always preferable, as no matter the meteorological conditions, your pool skimmer would always be able to clean your pool, no matter how big it is.

Another running time that you should look at is the reduction in the pump running time. Solar pool cleaners are intended to reduce the operation of the pump which translates into less electricity consumption. Each manufacturer establishes an estimate of the reduction in the pump operation that is worth considering.

Debris Removal

Solar pool skimmers are intended to remove all debris sizes. This means leaves, dust, plastic items, dirt, pollen, bugs, and even algae. Each manufacturer can guarantee through testing the amount of debris that can be removed by using its device on a percentage scale. Using this percentage as a reference can give you an idea of the performance of such a cleaner. Moreover, keep in mind that the amount of debris that falls into your pool can be reduced by installing solar pool covers. Pool covers will not only prevent dirt from falling into the pool – they will also will keep your pool water warm.

Miscellaneous

Among other factors that you can put into the balance, you might want to consider the weight and the type of pool. Not all solar pool cleaners are designed to work for every type of pool (above-ground and in-ground pools). Therefore, you need to verify with the manufacturer if the device will be suitable for your type of pool. Finally, the weight is another factor, a lighter pool cleaner will always be easier to carry and to store than a heavy one.

Moreover, do not forget that the solar cells need to be clean every once in a while. A lighter device will allow you to use the cleaning equipment for solar panels more easily and comfortably.

3 Things to Think About When Buying a Solar Pool Ionizer

Size of the Pool

Solar pool skimmers can remove the algae as well, however, they only remove what can be seen at simple sight. Moreover, if the algae are visible, then just removing the bacteria from the top of the pool is not enough.

Under this scenario, there are two options: chemicals or ionization. It is well-known that algae do not flourish on copper ionized water. Therefore, if you use a copper electrode through which an electrical current flows, then the electrode will be able to release copper and silver ions that will inhibit algae from growing in your swimming pool.

However, to become effective, the number of ions must be proportional to the size of the pool. Thus, the amount of gallons that the ionizer can handle is a crucial factor to consider.

Copper Bar Replacement

Another element that is worth evaluating is the copper bar replacement period. As the copper bar is lightly to deteriorate over time, then it will require replacement after some time. Each manufacturer will provide the replacement period that will be needed. The longer it is, the better.

Reduction of Chemicals

Manufacturers of solar pool ionizers must develop multiple field tests on pools to be approved and to be released into the market. While performing these tests the ionizers should show a drastic reduction in the use of chlorine chemicals to keep algae from growing inside the pool.

A good reference is the Floatron device, which test was carried out in a 17,000-gallon pool that required nearly 6 parts per million of chlorine (about 10 gallons of chemicals per week during summer). After introducing the ionizer and waiting a range of 10 days, no algae or bacteria growth was observed and no other presence of such microorganisms was detected during the test period. As days went by, chlorine levels in the water started to drop sharply. Copper ions began to increase and remained steady at 0.2 parts per million (as can be seen in the figure below). This represented a reduction between 75-85% of chlorine levels.

Just like this, other manufacturers also perform their corresponding tests and provide a chemical reduction percentage that can be a reference for the user.

Floatron image

Fig.1 Floatron Device Test. Source: Floatron.

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man cleaning his solar panels with a squeegee

Solar Panel Cleaning Equipment and Tools

Solar Panel Cleaning Equipment and Tools

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

One of the factors that reduces the performance of your solar panels is the presence of dust on the glass of the modules.

Performance reduction can be as low as 2% annually and as high as 30% annually in the worst cases. Therefore, keeping constant solar panel maintenance and cleaning is essential to guarantee optimum energy yields across the year.

Despite that water and cloth may be simply used for PV system cleaning, other solar panel cleaning products may offer a simpler, faster and better approach for this maintenance. Solar cleaning equipment as brushes, extensions, squeegees, robots, and solutions are perfect for this purpose. Here you will find some of the top options for your PV system.

Solar Panel Cleaning Kits

Among solar panel cleaning products, the most common is a cleaning kit. These kits include multiple extension poles, carrying bags, brushes, cloths, hose interconnections, and more. You will find all the tools that you need to perform the appropriate cleaning.

1. Mr. Long Arm 1005 Solar Panel Cleaning Kit

front facing mr. long arm 1005 window/solar panel cleaning kit

This two-in-one kit has the perfect tools needed to clean your solar panels faster, easier and safer. It features a long extension pole that has a tool handle that can simply rotate smoothly and has a curved slider tube to reach areas that are harder to reach with straight poles. The hydrasolar product can be attached to a standard garden hose and includes a squeegee, deluxe wash sleeve, canvas carrying case and a soft flow-thru brush.

Key Features:

  • Canvas carrying case included
  • Tool handle rotates
  • Curved slider tube

Key Specifications:

5′-12′ ProCurve extension
4′-8 hydrasolar flow through the extension
14-inch deluxe wash sleeve.

2. Mr. LongArm 1009 Pro Curve Solar Panel Cleaning System Kit

front facing mr. longArm 1009 pro curve solar panel cleaning system kit

The Mr. Long Arm 1009 solar panel cleaning kit has been designed to improve and facilitate solar panel cleaning through a 5-12 feet ProCurve extension pole. The 4-8 feet HydraSolar internal system makes water flow through a hose directly into the solar panel with a single tool. Two ProCurve tool handles are included along with one 12 feet and one 18 feet Sorbo Channel with squeegee rubber.

Key Features:

  • One 15″ x 15″ Microfiber Cleaning Cloth included
  • Flow-thru angle adaptor
  • High-quality acrylic microfiber wash sleeves do not scratch

Key Specifications:

5-12 feet ProCurve Extension Pole
4-8 feet HydraSolar flow-thru extension pole
One 15″ x 15″ Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

Solar Panel Cleaning Brushes

The essential solar panel cleaning tools are brushes intended for modules. Many times solar panels are located in hard access points on the roof and are complicated to perform regular cleaning. A solar panel cleaning brush features extension poles that allow you to effectively clean the modules from a safe distance either on the ground or on the roof with soft brush bristles.

1. EquipMaxx 24 ft Water Fed Solar Cleaning Pole With Brush and Squeegee

side facing equipMaxx 24 ft water fed solar cleaning pole with brush and squeegee

AquaSpray Superlite offers this solar panel cleaning equipment that features a double gooseneck that allows you to use a brush and a squeegee with the same tool. The product can be connected to a garden hose using an adapter. The solar panel cleaner weighs 6 lbs. and is made from lightweight aluminum.

Key Features:

  • Double gooseneck with brush and squeegee.
  • Foam grip handle
  • Connection with any garden hose.

Key Specifications:

Weighs 6 lbs.
Hose length from base 24feet
Collapsed length 6 foot 6 inches extends to 24 feet.

2. Z-GJRE Water Fed Pole Kit

side facing qwe ater fed solar cleaning pole kit

The solar panel cleaning pole with brush from Z-GJRE can be easily adjusted using the gooseneck attachment with the angle adapters. A brass connector can be used to couple with any garden hose. These solar panel cleaning tools are made of strong and lightweight aluminum.

Key Features:

  • Multiple hose adapters
  • Steel buckle fixed
  • Strong and lightweight aluminum

Key Specifications:

8-meter hose connection
9-meter solar cleaning hose
300 mm brush

Solar Panel Cleaning Supplies and Solutions

To clean solar panels you may only use water, however, on some occasions when dust and dirt are stick to the modules, water may not be enough as to remove it. Using regular detergents and soaps may cause delamination and damage your modules. By using solar panel cleaning solutions you can rest assured knowing that you will be able to remove dust and dirt without damaging your modules.

1. One Shot 1S-Spchec Solar Panel Cleaner

The top solar panel cleaning solution is the One Shot 1S-SPCHEC Solar Panel Cleaner. This product can be used for pressure washers and hose sprayers to clean solar panels. The recommendation is to dilute the solution 1:25. Polywater SPW-128 solar cleaning supplies are the best option as they clean without abrasion on aluminum rails.

Key Features:

  • Adjustable water hose pressure
  • Chorine and phosphate-free
  • No oxidation or abrasion
    in aluminum rails

Key Specifications:

Dilute 1:25
Non-flammable
Biodegradable

2. Winsol Solar Brite Solar Panel Cleaning Soap

front facing winsol solar brite solar panel cleaning soap

The perfect combination with a solar panel cleaning brush is the Winsol Solar Brite solution. This is a biodegradable, pH neutral, chlorine and phenol-free solution intended for cleaning modules. Quickly removes oil, grease, dirt, and grime.

Key Features:

  • pH neutral
  • Chlorine and phenol-free
  • Concentrated solution

Key Specifications:

Biodegradable anionic detergent
Carcinogen free
Low VOCs

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person cleaning solar panels

When to Clean Solar Panels

When to Clean Solar Panels

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

Solar panels should be cleaned during early mornings or late afternoon at least once during spring, autumn, and summer seasons unless unusual events occur. However, during the winter season, solar panels should be cleaned at least once every month due to the difference in the weather during this period.

Despite that this can be taken as a reference, there are other facts that may give you an idea of when it is the right time to clean your solar panels, facts that we will discuss in this article. There are many factors that can reduce the power yields of a solar PV system: shadings, PID, LID, ohmic, thermal, and mismatch losses among others. Soiling is another parameter to consider, and maintenance is the only solution to avoid it. That is why it is deeply important to know when to clean your solar panels.

What Are Soiling Losses on a Solar Panel?

Soiling losses are attributed to the reduction in solar irradiance to the solar panel due to the presence of a layer of dirt, mud, leaves, dust, snow, or bird droppings that might obstruct a section of the solar panel. These things do not allow the conversion of light into electricity to be carried out effectively. This can radically reduce the power output and energy yields of solar panels in very extreme cases.

multiple dirty solar panels covered in mud

(Source – Maintenance and Operation Guide of Photovoltaic Systems)

Soiling losses will depend on multiple factors such as location, relative humidity, industrial and mining activities in nearby areas, snow, the absence of cleaning, the presence of dust, sandstorms, or even volcanic ashes from distant volcanos.

Regions across the world such as the Middle East need a constant maintenance in order to compensate the losses attributed to soiling and sandstorms that can radically reduce the performance of a solar array.

As odd as it may sound, the US is not exempt from the presence of dust storms. Actually, in July 2018, Arizona experienced a tremendous sandstorm. Other States such as Nevada, California, Utah, Oklahoma, and Colorado have also experienced sandstorms, unpleasant for both the population and PV systems.

Quantifying soiling losses can be hard, as several factors need to be considered. However, soiling patterns across the world can be classified according to dust intensities in the research performed by M.R Maghami, called Power Loss Due To Soiling On a Solar Panel.

As soiling concentrates on the solar panel, the losses attributed to this factor increase on a monthly basis and could lead up to 30 % annual losses (and even more in extreme cases). Therefore, it is necessary to develop a maintenance routine in order to maximize energy yields of solar panels and to keep soiling losses around 2% – 5% annually.

map of the world chart showing the power loss due to soiling on solar panels

(Source – Power loss due to soiling on a solar panel – M.R Maghami.)

Signs That Indicate It is the Right Time to Clean Your Solar Panels

After you install your solar PV system you should take a look at the energy yields of the first month period. Depending on your location and the season that you installed the PV system, the energy yields can vary. However, once you have the first complete annual performance of the PV system it is likely to be similar in the next 5 years (solar panels degrade over time, so the performance of year 1 is not the same as year 15).

Keep those numbers for your records and try to check the generation of the solar system on your inverter display at least once every 3 months. If reductions in that period are too different from previous seasons, then it is possible that something is affecting the performance of your PV system. Probably the reason will be either shading of a nearby object or that your solar panels are getting dirty.

Moreover, whenever there are unusual construction sites nearby related to your neighbors’ house upgrades, or to local government projects, it is likely that your solar panels will catch some particles of dust. If the construction takes several days, then it is probable that dust will accumulate further. Most solar panels are a dark blue color so you will notice fairly easily when too much dust has gathered on parts of the solar panel.

Winter is an annoying season for solar panels because snowfalls can continuously leave snow on your roof or within your solar roof shingles. If the few hours of Sun that are available will be completely blocked by snow, then the performance of your solar panels during the winter season will reduce. This doesn’t mean that you have to go out there to the roof every day to clean your PV array, because solar panels also get hot and can melt down the snow by themselves. Nevertheless, whenever you see a strong snowfall outside, keep in mind that your solar panels may need a little help. During the winter season, it is ideal to check on your modules at least once every month.

solar panels outside of a home during winter

Winter Solar Panel Performance and Maintenance (Source – SunPower)

Rain is a favorable meteorological condition for solar panels. Ideally, your solar provider should have considered in the design to minimize maintenance of the PV system. In order to do so, the solar installer should at least place the solar panels with a 15° tilt angle that will allow rainwater to do the dirty work and clean your solar panels.  This shouldn’t be a problem in the US because all locations have latitudes above that angle, but keep it in mind.

Based on the importance of rain, if rain in your area have been scarce or the region is passing through a drought period, it might be a good idea to take a look at the PV system. Moreover, if there has been a long period where you haven’t cleaned your solar panels, and the rain finally appears, a couple of days later might be good to take a look as well at the PV array.

The reason is that dust can be transformed into dirt when mixed with water, and despite the fact that the rain will clean most of the surface of the solar panel, the remaining dirt could accumulate on the borders and corners of the frames. If they do not incorporate a drainage system (or are frameless) then it will be a spot for the accumulation of moisture and humidity that can lead to other problems such a leakage currents or delamination of the PV cell.

When Should I Normally Clean My Solar Panels?

Establishing maintenance routines is the best idea to keep a record and control of the PV system. As mentioned before, it is recommended to clean solar panels at least once during spring and summer seasons unless unusual events occur. Regarding the autumn season, cleaning should be made once or twice due to falling leaves that may obstruct the solar panel. And during the winter season, at least once every month (if the solar panels do not melt the snow by themselves). It is also recommended to clean them once it goes dark outside due to how solar panels work at night.

Moreover, when you decide to clean your solar panels, keep in mind to do it preferably during early hours (6:00 am – 7:00 am) or during late afternoon (5:00 pm-6:00 pm).

There are two reasons for this. First, you will not obstruct or affect the performance of the solar panels during a productive time, therefore the cleaning procedure shall not represent energy losses. And second, solar panels get hot due to energy conversion and due to the ambient temperature. Performing cleaning during midday on hot solar panels under the scorching sun might not be the most pleasant experience.

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man showing you how to clean solar panels

How to Clean Solar Panels

How to Clean Solar Panels

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

Using a soft brush with distilled water and dish soap is sufficient to clean your solar panels. However, there are different ways to clean them and various tips that should be used during the process. In this article you will learn some valuable tips that will make the cleaning process even easier for you.

Soiling on solar panels related to debris, dust, bird droppings, or dirt can accumulate on the surface of the module and lead up to 30 % annual losses in worst cases.

Typical annual losses attributed to this factor are located between 2% and 5% regularly, however, by accumulating soiling on the PV system, losses can increase over time. That is why it is important to know how often or when to clean your solar panels.

Tips Before Cleaning

Turn Off the PV System

The first step that you need to think of before cleaning your solar panels is to turn off the DC switch located in the combiner box. This is essential to guarantee your safety and to make sure that the solar panels won’t get damaged by water inside the junction box, exposed wires, or broken seals while DC electricity is flowing through the system.

New PV systems in the US according to NEC 2017 are now required to have a rapid shutdown system, that will instantly reduce the voltage of the PV array to zero from an easy access location inside the house or business. This will guarantee security in any case for the homeowners and firefighters as well.

Always remember to push that red button in the rapid shutdown box before going to clean your solar panels.

Use a Soft Brush or a Sponge

When cleaning solar panels it is essential to use the right cleaning equipment. The glass is strong but using abrasive materials can scratch the surface of the glass, reducing its performance or even damaging the module.

If your solar panels are installed on the ground, then you can opt to use a simple sponge to clean them up or a soft brush as well. However, if they are located on the roof, then you must use a soft brush coupled with a long extension to make the work easier and safer from the ground.

soft brush for cleaning solar panels

Avoid Using Water with High Mineral Content

Module manufacturers recommend the use of distilled or de-ionized water to clean solar panels. Mineral-rich water may leave deposits of particles over time and its chemistry is not recommended for the glass of modules.

If you do not have access to de-ionized or distilled water, you can use a water-softening hose attachment to filter those minerals.

Do Not Use High Pressure

Using high pressure to clean the solar panels can force water to enter into the junction box or plugs that are not 100% sealed. As a general approach, it is recommended that when using a hose, pressure stays below 40bar.

It is also recommended that the water jet cleaning creates a sheet of water spray at the nozzle in order to reduce the pressure received by the glass.

low pressure water cleaning solar panels

Solar Panel Wash Video (Source – Polywater)

Use Water With a Similar Temperature

Solar panel manufacturers do not recommend the use of cold or hot water to clean the panels. The reason behind this is that sudden and drastic differences in temperature could crack the surface of the glass.

It is best to clean your solar panels using ambient temperature water during early mornings (6-7 am), when the modules’ temperatures will be low after cooling down overnight and when the solar generation has not started.

Never Use an Abrasive Material to Clean the Solar Panels

Sometimes, homeowners or salespersons may advise you to use detergents to clean the modules. However, all that you truly need is the dish washing soap and water to clean them.

Using laundry detergents designed for other purposes is not recommended because they can create moisture or delamination at solar cell level which will void the warranty of the panels and will inevitably damage them.

Read Your Solar Panel Manufacturer Instructions

No one gives advice on how to properly clean and treat your solar panels like the manufacturer. Installation manuals of modules are generally available on the internet and many come included with your panels. Take a look at them and learn more about your modules.

Do Not Ever Walk Over the Modules

Solar panels are designed to withstand specific distributed snow and wind loads. If your concentrated weight is above the designed loads then you could cause micro-cracking, declining the performance of the module over time. Besides, the solar panels’ surface can be slippery, and if you are adding soap and water to the mix, the probabilities of falling are quite high. As long as you are careful, the chances of solar panels being dangerous are low.

image showing how not to stand on the solar panels when cleaning them

(Source – JinkoSolar Installation Manual)

The Simple Process

Gathering all of these tips let’s take a look at a review of the steps you need to follow:

  1. Start early in the morning.
  2. Disconnect your PV array from the inverter by pushing the rapid shutdown button or pulling down the DC disconnect switch in your combiner box.
  3. Gather some distilled water and mix it with a little dish soap (just a little).
  4. Look for a soft brush and start cleaning your modules with the water mix.
  5. After all modules are soaped, remove the soap with a low-pressure hose.
  6. Leave the modules to dry over 30-45 minutes and turn back on the DC disconnect switch.

Other interesting solutions mainly designed for roof-mounted systems are the solar panel cleaning products like Polywater. They use specially designed chemicals for module cleaning that allow you to perform the maintenance from a safe distance on the ground or using stairs. Moreover, these products are designed with a specific water pressure that does not harm the surface of the glass. Polywater also uses a hose attachment bottle with the mix of water and soap with the option to rinse (using the mix) or to wash (only using water).

As you can see it is a simple process that, when carried out with a routine schedule, can maximize your solar energy outputs over the year.

Never forget that maintenance procedure is a two person job and that also involves checking your wires, possible signs of degradations, delamination, damages, or burns behind the solar panels (if possible).

Solar panel manufacturers never recommend to go up to the roof to clean your modules without special protection (harnesses), but with these tips, you can do it yourself while being on the ground or using movable stairs.

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