Solar Panel Cleaning Equipment (the Right Way)

Solar panel cleaning equipment is essential to keeping your solar panels in tip-top shape. Dirty solar panels tend to produce less energy than clean ones, so proper cleaning is a must to maintain or increase their solar panel’s efficiency. 

Several solar panel cleaning equipment types include brushes, sprayers, and extender poles. These tools help keep the solar cells (the reflective surface of a solar panel) clean and free of light-blocking debris. It’s crucial to clean your solar panels every three to six months.

Many types of solar panel cleaning equipment are affordable and easy to use. This guide will explore:

  • The equipment you need to clean solar panels
  • Solar panel cleaning tools
  • DIY solar panel cleaning equipment
  • The proper way to clean solar panels
  • How often to clean solar panels

Solar panels produce the most power when their solar cells are clean and debris-free. keep reading to discover how to keep your solar panels clean and working efficiently!

What Equipment Do You Need To Clean Solar Panels?

The equipment you’ll need to clean solar panels varies depending on the location and the number of panels. The number of panels also influences the type of equipment you’ll need. If you’re attempting to clean a few dozen panels, you can get the job done with the help of a leaf blower, garden hose, and scrub brush.

If you’re looking to clean several hundred solar panels, it’s probably best to hire a team of cleaners to help. Doing so will reduce the time you spend cleaning, as a team can tackle more panels at once.

Solar Panel Cleaning Tools

You can use this information to select cleaning equipment well-suited to your solar panel system, personal preferences, and budget.

The most common and effective solar panel cleaning tools include:

  • A cleaning brush and pole
  • A water-fed pole
  • A garden water hose

There’s a good chance that you already own a garden water hose. For this reason, we’ll be discussing the other types of solar panel cleaning tools, as you may not currently own them.

See also: Clean Solar Panels (When, Where, How)

Solar Panel Cleaning Brush and Pole

A solar panel cleaning brush and pole allow you to scrub away hardened bits of dirt or debris from a distance. This tool is a must-have for anyone with solar panels, particularly those with rooftop panels.

The Eversprout Scrub Brush is a fantastic example. It features soft bristles that won’t damage a solar panel’s sensitive surface. 

Thanks to its extendable pole handle, it can reach panels up to 19ft away from you, making rooftop cleaning far easier. You can flip the brush to its other side to squeegee away any remaining water or suds after rinsing your solar panels!

Solar Panel Cleaning Water-Fed Pole

Handling a scrub brush and a hose while working on a ladder can be dangerous. For that reason, many homeowners looking to clean their rooftop solar panels choose to invest in a water-fed pole.

This device connects to a water source and sprays a gentle stream of water from its top. This feature allows you to scrub away dirt while simultaneously rinsing the surface of your solar panels. 

The EquipMaxx Water-Fed Pole Kit is a top-notch example. It comes equipped with an extendable pole that can reach an astounding 30ft!

The pole’s lightweight aluminum body makes it easy to handle, even when standing on a ladder. It also comes with a hose connector, making it easy to attach to your standard garden hose. 

If you’re looking to make short work of your solar panel cleaning, you may want to choose a water-fed pole like this one.

Best Solar Panel Cleaning Equipment

The best solar panel cleaning equipment varies depending on your needs. For example, if you’re a homeowner looking to clean rooftop solar panels, the best equipment will likely be an affordable soft-bristled brush and a standard garden hose.

Solar Panel Cleaning Equipment Price

You can purchase all the solar panel cleaning equipment for about $100. But you could also spend several hundred dollars on these cleaning tools. 

The amount of money you spend on solar panel cleaning supplies varies depending on:

  • What equipment do you already own
  • The type of equipment you’d like to own
  • Whether you’d prefer residential or commercial cleaning equipment

For example, if you already own an extension ladder and a garden hose, you might spend less than $100, as you’ll only need a cleaning brush and extendable pole. 

However, if you don’t own a ladder and a hose, you’ll likely spend more than $100 on solar panel cleaning equipment. If you prefer to use a water-fed pole, you can expect to pay more than $200 for one, not to mention other items you may need.

Additionally, it’s crucial to remember that commercial-grade equipment is far more expensive, with a single item often costing several hundred dollars.

If you’re looking to maintain commercial solar panels, hiring a team of cleaners might be best rather than investing in pricey equipment.

Professional Solar Panel Cleaning Equipment

Professional solar panel cleaning equipment is similar to residential equipment, though it’s often more complex (and expensive). 

For example, the IPC Eagle Hydro Station is a water system with multiple hoses, allowing cleaning teams to rinse several panels simultaneously. This way, it’s an upgraded version of your standard garden hose.

Another fantastic example of professional solar panel cleaning equipment is the Unger HydroPower Ultra. 

This device filters water to remove dissolved solids, resulting in a spray that leaves zero residues. It can also produce a stream that reaches several stories, eliminating the need for ladders (in some cases but not all). 

DIY Solar Panel Cleaning Equipment

While plenty of solar panel cleaning tools are available for purchase, you might prefer to use items you already own to clean your solar panels. DIY solar panel cleaning equipment isn’t challenging to make or use and could help you save a little money.

For example, you can use your garden hose to rinse dirt off the surface of your home’s solar panels. You can also use a soft-bristled broom (preferably a push broom) to remove hardened bits of grime.

Dish soap is an ideal cleaning fluid for most solar panels, as it’s tough enough to remove dirt but gentle enough to leave the solar cell’s outer surface unaffected. 

If you own an extension ladder (and all of the above equipment), you might not need to invest in store-bought solar panel cleaning equipment!

Solar Panel Cleaning Equipment Manufacturers

Quite a few companies manufacture and sell solar panel cleaning equipment. For example, the top companies that produce residential solar panel cleaning products include:

  • EquipMaxx
  • Eversprout
  • DocaPole

The top commercial solar panel cleaning equipment brands vary, as each cleaning company has a preferred brand. Still, some of the leading commercial brands for solar cleaning equipment include:

  • Unger Global
  • Kärcher
  • IPC Eagle

If you’re curious to know the brands your local solar panel cleaning company prefers, you’ll want to contact them and ask!

Commercial Solar Panel Cleaning

Commercial solar panel applications can be far more challenging than residential ones. Most commercial solar panel systems are extensive, featuring hundreds (if not thousands) of individual panels.

Fortunately, solar panel cleaning companies are often happy to schedule cleanings for commercial solar panel systems. It’s crucial to set up a cleaning schedule, as doing so allows cleaning companies to prepare for the task.

Cleaning brush on a solar panel

What Is the Best Solar Panel Cleaner?

Solar panel cells are sensitive to cleaning chemicals. For that reason, the best solar panel cleaner is dye-free dish soap. This type of cleaner is gentle on most surfaces, including solar panels, making it a safer option than harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia.

Untreated water may also be enough to get your solar panels looking and performing their best. 

Still, if it’s been several months since you’ve cleaned your solar panels (or you live in an area with high air pollution), you may need to gently scrub the panel surfaces with soapy water, then rinse them clean.

Cleaning Solar Panels With Brush and Squeegee

What Is the Proper Way To Clean Solar Panels?

The proper way to clean solar panels is to shut off power to the panels, remove physical debris (like twigs and leaves), rinse off loose dirt, then use a soft-bristled brush to scrub away any stubborn grime. You’ll want to give the panels a final rinse to remove the last few dirt particles.

You’ll likely need a pair of protective gloves (preferably insulated to reduce electrocution risks), a leaf blower, and an extendable pole handle brush to get the job done. You’ll also need access to flowing water, so a garden hose is necessary. 

Essentially, you can break down the cleaning process into # straightforward steps:

  1. Shut off the power to your solar panel system
  2. Put on your protective gloves
  3. Use an extension ladder to reach their panels if your panels are located on a rooftop.
  4. If there are loose leaves or twigs on the panels, use a leaf blower to remove them.
  5. Gently spray the surface of the solar panels with a garden hose
  6. If dirt remains, use a soft-bristled brush and soapy water to scrub away this grime
  7. Rinse the suds from the solar panels

If you have a nozzle attached to the tip of the hose, be sure to adjust it to a gentle spray before getting started. A targeted, high-pressure jet of water can damage solar panels.

It’s also important to consider safety. For example, if your solar panels are on a slanted rooftop, it’s best to hire a professional solar panel cleaner to get the job done. Doing so will significantly reduce the personal safety risks of cleaning solar panels.

Can You Use a Pressure Washer To Clean Solar Panels?

Using a pressure washer to clean solar panels is never a good idea. Pressure washers generate powerful streams of water that can easily damage solar cells and their underlying components.

Consider this: a pressure washer typically generates about 8,000 psi of pressure. The average solar panel is designed to withstand high winds, with most surviving winds up to 140mph. This equates to about 0.35 psi of pressure. 

Using a pressure washer on your solar panels can damage them, resulting in expensive repairs and replacements.

Can I Clean Solar Panels Myself?

If you have solar panels located near the ground (or you feel comfortable working on the roof of your property), you can clean solar panels without professional assistance. But hiring experienced cleaning technicians may be the safer and more convenient option.

To clean solar panels yourself, you’ll need:

  • A solar panel scrub brush
  • Insulated protective gloves
  • A plastic scraper
  • A garden water hose
  • An extendable pole 

Unless your property’s roof is entirely flat, you’ll likely want to hire a team of professionals to help you clean your rooftop solar panels.

Clean Solar Panel Caravan Roof

How Often Should Solar Panels Be Cleaned?

You should clean your solar panels at least once every six months. That said, inspecting your solar panels for debris or dirt every week is an excellent idea. Doing so can ensure that your solar panels remain efficient and effective.

You might also need to clean your solar panels more regularly. Areas with high levels of air pollution can leave solar panels looking grimy after only a few weeks. 

Solar panels installed in sandy or dusty environments may require monthly cleaning. Panels near trees might also need more regular cleanings, as they can become obscured by fallen leaves, twigs, or sap. 

Perform weekly or monthly cleanings during the springtime, as pollen can adhere to the surface of your solar panels and block light from entering the solar cells.

Do You Have To Turn Off Solar Panels To Clean?

Turning off your solar energy system before cleaning solar panels is crucial. Forgetting to shut the power off can result in accidental electrocution, as you’ll likely be working with water when cleaning the panel surfaces. 

Because water conducts electricity, it’s dangerous to wash live solar panels. If you’re unsure how to shut down your solar panel system, refer to the operation manual that came with your panels. 

You can also call the solar panel installation company that installed the system for more information about safely shutting off the power to the solar panels.

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Elliot has 20+ years of experience in renewable technology, from conservation to efficient living. His passion is to help others achieve independent off-grid living.

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