Solar panels from SunPower are guaranteed to work for 25 years. Yet, just as you have a hard time seeing light through a dirty window, photovoltaic cells covered in dirt, grime or debris cannot produce electricity to their maximum potential. SunPower states, “Long-term dirt buildup can reduce a solar panel’s electricity production by as much as 20 percent.” So how should homeowners maintain their solar panels?
Summertime Cleaning for California Solar
Rainfall keeps solar panels sufficiently clean during the late fall to early spring in California. Once the dry season sets in, natural showers are no longer available and the homeowner will likely need to help. If your tap water is low in mineral content, you can use it straight from the hose to wash your panels. If not, hard water filters are available that you can attach to your hose.
SunPower suggests using a long handled soft-bristle brush with a hose and soap attachment for single-story panel locations. A high-pressure nozzle with a soap attachment is fine for two-story installations. Always rinse the panels afterwards and never use high-pressure streams from short distances on your solar panels. Although they are designed as all-weather electrical devices, there are limits to the water resistance of solar panel components when exposed to high pressure.
The frequency with which you should clean your panels during the dry season depends on how dusty it is in your neighborhood. Some homeowners do fine with a single cleaning, others do it every month, or every two months, until fall begins. Speaking of fall, as leaves accumulate, make sure they are not piling up on your solar panels.
If you have more questions about maintaining your solar panels, ask Solaron at the time of installation or afterwards. We have lots of experience with Sacramento solar energy!