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Why Wash My Solar Panels?

Solar panel cleaning new

While we have been harnessing solar panels for energy for at least the past half-century, home solar panel arrays have only been taking off in popularity for the past decade or so. That means that many homeowners are still learning the ropes regarding their home solar panel arrays, leading to many questions and debates about proper maintenance for them.

One question that many new solar panel users have is: "Is solar panel cleaning actually worth it?" We personally think that the benefits of solar panel cleaning outweigh any potential downsides. Let's break down exactly why.

Will My Solar Panels Stop Working If I Don't Clean Them?

The short answer is- no. However, you could be sacrificing a lot of energy efficiency if you don't clean them.

PV panels are built to withstand the elements, and short of a particularly brutal hailstorm or a large tree branch crashing down on them from a storm, they shouldn't just randomly go out on you from being a bit dirty. However, if enough dirt and grime build up on their surface, at a certain point not all of the sunlight will be able to get through to the PV cells- they will literally have less solar energy to work with.

Some argue that solar panel cleaning is unnecessary, as rain will wash away anything on them. This is somewhat true when it comes to light, non-sticky particles like dust. The problem is that stickier substances like bird poop, pollen, or algae growth will not be totally washed away by the rain- in fact, humidity from the rain can actually promote algae growth.

Hypothetically, if you were to live in an arid environment without a lot of smog or dust, you could probably get away with skipping an annual solar panel cleaning. However, here in this part of Georgia, we have:

  • Sufficient rainfall and humidity to promote significant algae growth
  • Lots of pollen produced in the spring

With all of these and other pollutants, grime and debris can build up quickly on locals' solar panel arrays.

How Much Does It Actually Improve Efficiency?

Now to get down to brass tacks: how much does cleaning actually help? Many studies have been done on the effects of solar panel cleaning on PV panel efficiency, and the numbers vary a lot depending on the climate in the study's location and the frequency of cleaning. However, we'd say, accounting for several different factors, that most solar panel arrays see efficiency improvements of between 10-30% from just a single solar panel cleaning each year.

Check Your Warranty

Aside from the practical benefits of solar panel cleaning, be sure to check your warranty. Depending on your manufacturer, solar panel cleaning may be a condition of your warranty. We want you to get your money's worth from your solar panels, so it's important to not accidentally void your warranty in case something ever fails or your panels become damaged.

Cleaning Your Solar Panels The Right Way

You don't need to overdo it when it comes to your solar panels- a single yearly cleaning is sufficient for most solar set-ups. However, it's important to be safe about how you go about cleaning them. Pressure washing solar panels is not advised as the high-PSI spray can cause hairline fractures to form in the glass. Soft washing is a much safer alternative, and should ideally be done by a technician trained to work with solar panels.

BW Exterior Wash Services offers both pressure washing and soft washing services, and we're one of the leading providers of solar panel cleaning in the area. If you need our professional help washing your home solar panel array, call us at 912-800-1517.



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