Spring has officially arrived, and many places are starting to thaw out after a long, cold winter. (Of course, in Kansas City, you never know what kind of weather the day is going to bring…) As you throw open your windows to let the fresh air and sunlight into your home, you may feel inspired to start some good old fashioned spring cleaning. But your drawers and closets aren’t the only thing that need attention — your solar panels may need to be cleaned as well.

Of course, cleaning your solar panels may not be the first thing on your mind. It might not even be something you’ve ever thought about before. With the installation, monitoring your solar energy production levels, and feeling great about the money you’re saving on your electric bill, cleaning may have never crossed your mind.

And while they don’t need a daily shower, they do need to be cleaned occasionally to keep them operating at the highest level. Unfortunately, cleaning them the wrong way can be detrimental.

Keep reading to learn more about safely cleaning solar panels.

The Importance of Cleaning Solar Panels

The simplest reason for needing to clean your solar panels is the fact that everything benefits from a good scrubbing now and then.

The primary culprit for dirty panels is often dust. But the consequences of this buildup can be more significant than you might realize. According to CleanTechnica, research from the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory suggests that dirty solar panels could result in a 30% decrease in energy production compared to clean ones.

While dry regions like the Southwest may face more pronounced dust and dirt issues, those of us in places like Kansas City understand the whims of Midwest weather. Although dirt might accumulate at a slower pace here, it remains a valid concern, particularly over time.

Yet, there are additional factors to consider beyond dust. Think about those moments when your front yard suddenly vanishes under a layer of autumn leaves or when your car becomes a target for bird droppings during the workday. Your solar panels face the same risk.

While leaves might be relatively easy to clear from your solar setup, bird droppings present a more troublesome challenge. Not only do they obstruct sunlight from reaching certain areas of your panels, but they can also cause lasting damage. If left unaddressed for too long, bird droppings may leave behind stubborn marks that resist removal, potentially causing permanent damage to your panels.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Cleaning Solar Panels With Soap

You don’t have to break out the cleaning supplies for your solar panels every single day to keep them in good shape. Typically, a gentle cleaning every six months to a year is plenty, and some solar monitoring systems even give you a heads-up when it’s time for a wash.

But how should you actually clean your solar panels?

First and foremost: steer clear of soap, detergents, or any other cleaning agents. Soap tends to leave a thin film wherever it’s used. Even though it may be invisible, it’s still there. Using soap on your solar panels can actually backfire, as this film can create shading issues similar to the dust or dirt you just removed. Plus, it might attract more dust, dirt, and leaves, making them stick to your panels more stubbornly.

Other cleaning agents and certain harsh chemicals could have a corrosive effect on your solar panels and cause them permanent damage.

How To Safely Clean Your Solar Panels

While it can be complicated, there are a few ways to make cleaning solar panels a safe experience for both your solar panels — and you.

Consider doing your solar panel cleaning in the early morning, late evening, or on an overcast day. This helps prevent the panels from overheating during the process. After you’ve brushed off any loose debris, like leaves, a simple mixture of clean water and a gentle scrub with a soft cloth or sponge is usually all your solar panels need to shine brightly.

However, this task might be more straightforward for those who have ground-mounted solar systems.

If your solar panels are on the roof of a single-story home, you might be able to reach them with a garden hose. This can effectively wash away the bulk of dust and dirt. But if reaching your panels with the hose isn’t feasible, we strongly advise against climbing onto your roof to clean them. The risk simply isn’t worth it.

In such situations, we recommend enlisting the services of a professional to clean roof-mounted systems. Not only does this ensure your safety, but it also guarantees the job is done correctly. By taking proper care of your solar system, you’re setting the stage for your panels to perform as intended for years to come.

KC Solar: Your Hometown Solar Team

If you are looking for a Kansas City solar panel installation company, look no further than KC Solar. They are your local Missouri and Kansas solar panel installation experts. Once you schedule a no-pressure site visit, our experts will help you understand what solar system specifications would be best for your home or business.

KC Solar is a local company made up of KC natives with KC pride — in our city, and in our work. Which means we’ll always give you the best of ourselves.

Get in touch with us today. We look forward to serving you!

And be sure to download our Free Solar Panel Buying Guide for more information.