How to Clean Portable Solar Panels?

Dust accumulation on the surface can hinder solar output, affecting the panel’s efficiency and reducing the energy output produced when exposed to sunlight. Regularly cleaning the solar panels ensures 

Furthermore, grime buildup could cause hotspots and damage to the overall panel, affecting its performance and lifespan.

Cleaning the panels regularly helps prevent these issues and ensures the best energy production from your panel.

With usage of portable solar panels on the rise, proper maintenance will prolong their lifespan and maintain optimal performance. 

So, let’s break down exactly how to clean portable solar panels, but before starting, you need to gather all the necessary tools and materials.

Getting Started: What You’ll Need

In this section, I’ll overview the necessary tools and cleaning materials and how to choose the right cleaning solution.

Necessary Tools

For a start, let’s mention the essential tools that are needed to clean portable solar panels:

  • Ladder: To safely reach the solar panels, especially if installed on your RV’s roof.
  • Multimeter: A handy tool for checking the panel efficiency before and after cleaning.
  • Harness or safety gear: If the solar panel setup is on your RV’s roof, wearing appropriate safety gear is obvious.

Cleaning Materials

Next, it’s important to have the right cleaning materials to maintain the panels in optimal condition:

  • Soft brush: A non-abrasive brush will remove loose dirt and debris without causing damage to the panels.
  • Garden hose or water hose: Solar panels can get wet, so using a hose can help in rinsing away dirt and grime.
  • Squeegee: To remove excess water after washing, preventing water spots or stains.
  • Sponge or soft cloth: An essential tool for gentle scrubbing if required.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Solution

Lastly, let’s discuss the appropriate cleaning solution to use for portable solar panels:

  • Distilled water: Even gentle cleaning agents should be avoided. Distilled water should suffice for most cleaning tasks.
  • Garden sprayer or spray bottle: For applying the water evenly across the solar panel surface.

Following this guide, I am confident that you’ll keep your portable solar panels in top shape.

The Cleaning Process

Step 1: Safety and Preparations

Before cleaning my portable solar panels, I always make sure to prioritize safety. Check the manufacturer’s manual for any specific guidance on cleaning and maintenance. 

Following the manual to avoid any damage, electrical hazards, or voiding the warranty. It is cost-effective to clean solar panels myself but to protect the panels from scratches and maintain their performance, I only use a soft bristle brush and avoid high-pressure washers.

Step 2: Removing Surface Debris

First, I focus on removing dust, pollen, bird crap, leaves, snow, and other surface debris that might have accumulated on the panels. 

Clearing these away helps prevent any scratches during the cleaning process and ensures that the cleaning solution can penetrate any stains and films on the panel more effectively. 

Then, I gently brush off the debris, taking care not to scratch the surface or dislodge any electrical connections.

Step 3: Applying Cleaning Solution

Next, I prepare and apply a distilled water solution to effectively remove grease, stains, and other build-ups without damaging the panels. 

When applying the solution, I use a spray bottle or a gentle hose nozzle, ensuring the panels are fully covered and the solution can work its magic.

Step 4: Scrubbing and Rinsing

Gently scrub the solar panels using a soft bristle brush to remove dirt and grime. Pay close attention to areas with stubborn stains or areas where moisture is more likely to have led to a build-up of residue. 

Once I have thoroughly scrubbed the panels, I rinse them with clean water, again using a gentle hose nozzle or a large container to pour water over the panels, helping to prevent water spots.

Step 5: Post-Cleaning Inspection

Finally, after I have cleaned my portable solar panels, I inspect them to ensure the cleaning process has been effective and there are no remaining stains, deposits, or damage. 

I also check any electrical connections and panel attachments to ensure everything works properly. 

Maintaining Your Portable Solar Panel

Professional Cleaning vs DIY

Proper maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity and efficiency of your panels. To learn more about the lifespan of portable solar panels, you can check out this article on how long portable solar panels last.

I find it crucial to keep track of the seasonal changes, as the level of dust and debris on the panels can vary depending on the time of year. Now, you must decide whether to opt for professional cleaning services or take the DIY route.

When it comes to solar panel maintenance, I prefer the DIY approach, as it’s far more cost-effective and allows me to ensure that the cleaning is done according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

During the cleaning process, I use a non-abrasive sponge or soft brush to avoid causing scratches on the glass surface. 

Regardless of the panel type, it’s crucial to use gentle cleaning methods. I also take safety precautions, like working on a flat surface and wearing gloves for added protection.

🎓 Pro Tip: You’ll want to use distilled water, as excessive soap can cause streaks or residue to build up on the panels after rinsing. 

Follow these steps, and you can rest assured that your panels will continue to perform optimally and efficiently throughout their lifespan.

Mathew, our founder and chief editor at BloomCentre, combines his passion for renewable energy, commitment to sustainable living, and his rich experience in the solar industry to provide reliable and insightful advice.