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Water vs. cleaning products: what is the best solution to clean your solar panel?

Cleaning solar panels is one of the key issues when talking about energy efficiency. Before we get to the main point of this article, we want to show you how important it is to clean your panels, either with water or with appropriate cleaning products.

There are numerous studies that prove the loss of efficiency associated with poor cleaning (or lack of cleaning) of our solar panels. A recent research has shown that a heavily dirty solar panel can lose up to 50% of its efficiency compared to a clean solar panel. In addition, a power loss of 10 to 15% can be seen with regular dirty panels. Another study has also estimated the cost of PV project soiling may increase from €3-5 billion last year to €4-7 billion by 2023 due to more extensive deployment in high insolation and soiling-affected regions.

Therefore, there are no arguments to justify the lack of cleaning care with our PV systems. The question is: what do we use to clean them?

If we think of what may seem cheaper for a quick cleaning of our solar panels, we will quickly come to the conclusion that water is the most convenient method. However, water alone will not be enough for a proper cleaning of your system.

As we always say, rain, snow or wind alone cannot wash solar panels because wind carries particles, snow blocks the sunlight and rainwater is mildly acidic that when it dries it leaves stains that quickly attract grime again making the solar system less efficient. The result of letting the climate deal with it will almost always lead to higher costs in energy bills.

Moreover, deposits of particles will appear, probably left by the content of mineral water. The exercise is simple: imagine your car’s windshield left unclean for a long time. A few days later, even if it rains in the meantime, you will see the accumulated grime. The situation will occur in exactly the same way in your PV system.

What if I add some soap? You may ask. We do not advise you to do so. Most of the time, we deal with solar panels with extremely hot temperatures and by applying soapy water, the product can quickly evaporate leaving residues on the panels, subsequently reducing their effectiveness.

If possible for you, we always recommend professional guidance as well as the use of pH neutral professional products, tested by international laboratories and approved by the panel manufacturers. Solar Wash Protect, for example, will reduce water spotting and slower the adhesion and accumulation of dirt on the solar panel.

What kind of dirt will I have to deal with? What are the best tools to help me clean and maintain my panels? Keep following us to learn more about these topics!

Do you have any suggestions or topics about the solar universe you would like to read here? Reach us by email (and go solar)!