Clean Solar Panels with Pressure Washer: Should You or Not?

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Solar panels are a great device that absorbs sun rays and offers electricity to many households and businesses. There is a myth regarding solar panel cleaning, as people assume that rainwater will self-clean the solar panels. But do you really believe that it turns out to be the best?

Many people also choose pressure washing to clean this device, but that is not worth it. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through whether high-pressure cleaning is safe for washing delicate panels. So, let’s dive in and shed some light on best practices for maintaining your solar power system.

Why Is Solar Panel Cleaning Important in the First Place?

In the realm of solar panel maintenance, clean solar panels mean longer lifespans and more energy-efficient homes. Over time, dirt, dust, bird droppings, and other residues can significantly block sun rays from reaching the photovoltaic cells of the solar panels. As such, regular cleaning is essential. 

However, when it comes to the method of cleaning, there is an ongoing debate over cleaning solar panels with high-pressure cleaning. For this reason, let’s first understand what high-pressure cleaning is.

Understanding High-Pressure Cleaning

High-pressure cleaning involves the use of high-velocity water to remove dirt, grime, and other deposits from surfaces. This method is widely used for cleaning buildings, vehicles, and outdoor structures due to its efficiency in removing stubborn stains and dirt. When it comes to solar panels, the idea is to apply the same technique to achieve a thorough cleaning. 

However, solar panels are not just any surface; they are delicate, expensive, and crucial for the production of clean energy. Hence, the question arises: Is high-pressure cleaning a safe option for them?

High-Pressure Cleaning Risks

The idea of pressure washing solar panels is dangerous in many aspects. Below are some reasons why high-pressure solar panel cleaning is not advisable.

  • Potential Damage to Solar Panels

Solar panels are designed to withstand the elements, including rain, wind, and hail. However, the intensity of water in the high-pressure cleaners can exceed what solar panels are engineered to endure. 

When you pressure wash the panels with high-pressure cleaning, you are gradually damaging the solar panel’s surface, including the anti-reflective coating, which can significantly reduce its lifespan. Such damage can affect the panel’s ability to absorb sunlight efficiently, thereby reducing its performance.

  • Water Ingress

Another concern with high-pressure cleaning is the possibility of water ingress. Solar panels are sealed to protect against moisture, but high-pressure water can find its way through even the smallest of openings. Once inside, water can damage the electrical parts and connections, leading to potential short circuits and a reduction in the panel’s operational life.

  • Warranty Concerns

Using high-pressure cleaning on solar panels can void their warranty. Most manufacturers specify acceptable cleaning methods and conditions in their warranty terms. High-pressure washing is often excluded due to the risks it poses. Therefore, opting for this cleaning method might leave you without coverage if damage occurs.

Alternative Cleaning Methods

Given the risks that you are now familiar with high-pressure cleaning, it’s prudent to consider safer alternatives. These methods ensure effective cleaning without compromising the integrity of your solar panels.

  • Use Low-pressure Sprayers to Apply Cleaning Solution

Before using any cleaning solution, professionals turn off the solar panel and inspect it thoroughly for any damage that may require special attention during cleaning.

Next, with the help of a low-pressure sprayer, professionals apply an eco-friendly cleaning solution to break down dirt and other build-up off the panel surface. After allowing a few minutes to settle down the cleaning solution, professionals start with the rinsing process.

  • Soft Brush and Soapy Water

Using a soft brush and soapy water is a gentle yet effective way to rinse solar panels. This method allows for the removal of dirt and grime without the risk of damaging the panels. It’s important to use soap that’s not abrasive and to rinse the panels thoroughly with clean water to avoid leaving soap residues.

  • Automated Cleaning Systems

For larger solar installations, automated cleaning systems can be a worthwhile investment. These systems typically use robotic cleaners that gently remove dirt from the surface of the panels without the need for high pressure cleaning solutions. This method is not only safe but also efficient, especially for installations in hard-to-reach areas.

Professional Cleaning Services

Hiring professional solar panel cleaning services is another safe option. Professionals are equipped with the right tools and knowledge to clean solar panels effectively without causing damage. They can assess the condition of your panels and determine the most appropriate cleaning method.

Final Words

While high-pressure is an efficient cleaning method for many applications, it may not be suitable for solar panel cleaning due to the questionable risks involved in this process. The delicate nature of solar panels demands a gentle approach to prevent damage and ensure their longevity. 

Alternative cleaning methods, such as using a soft brush and soapy water, automated cleaning systems, or professional cleaning services, offer safer and equally effective solutions. It’s crucial to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations and warranty terms when cleaning solar panels to maintain their efficiency and protect your investment. 

By opting for safer alternatives to high-pressure cleaning, you can ensure that your solar panels remain efficient and functional for years to come. Remember, the goal is not only to keep the panels clean but to do so in a manner that ensures their ongoing performance and durability.

Ready to maximise the return on investment on solar panels? Contact Exterior Clean Melbourne, a pressure washing company, today to schedule a solar panel cleaning service.

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