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Do solar panels have to be turned off before cleaning?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 July 2013 at 10:40 am

A reader asked whether solar panels needed to be turned off for cleaning. The following answers to this question were crowd-sourced from Twitter:

@YouGenUK Even if you switch off the DC isolator next to the inverter the modules are still live. Do it at night if you are worried! said Stuart Houghton ‏of @Abacusrenewable1h

@YouGenUK In my experience no need to 'turn off' before cleaning (you can't really if it's not night!), but be careful of electrical hazards, said @EarthOrgUK1h

Then our reader came back with the following comment: I would find it difficult to clean at night, so how much does temperature of panels on a cloudy but warm day, and cleaning water temp need to be considered, ie half bucket of rain water left standing, on just warm to touch panels, just to get rid of a half dozen bird spots on 3 panel.

Which StarfishPV ‏answered:

@YouGenUK @Abacusrenewable @EarthOrgUK and not in direct sunlight. Heat + cool water can shatter glass etc  (@StarfishPV12m)

Do you clean your solar PV panels? If so, how often, and how? And have you measured the difference it makes? We'd love to hear your stories in the comment section below (or email them to us).

Information about cleaning solar panels on YouGen

How to keep your solar panels clean

How should I deal with snow on my PV modules?

Why don't PV panels work so well in the heat?

YouGen guide to solar PV

Photo credit: visdia


If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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3 comments - read them below or add one

Jack Frost

Jack FrostComment left on: 11 March 2014 at 6:34 am

I have not enough knowledge about the cleaning process of solar panels because I have started to use it from recently, but as I asked some relevant Q&A from the expert (from whom I installed my solar panel), I can say that there is no problem if we clean it without switching it off. But we need to remember the safety and security of both (ourselves and solar panels as well.).

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utility-exchangeComment left on: 10 July 2013 at 1:42 pm

Really good question! I don't have solar panels but isn't cleaning something that should be discussed when they are first installed?

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 9 July 2013 at 3:42 pm

@leedssolar: 1 of 2 @YouGenUK The DC isolator should be switched off before cleaning on TL inverters as capacitance causes slight shocks from frames

@leedssolar: 2 of 2 @YouGenUK if there's an earth path through body eg if holding metal ladder or scaffolding. Danger is falling not from shock itself

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