Is your home’s roof outfitted with solar panels? If so, do you also happen to live in an area with a lot of trees or birds? If you answered yes to both of these questions, there’s a good chance that you’ve woken up to a couple white spots on your otherwise spotless solar panels. We get it– being able to watch birds and other wildlife explore your garden from the comfort of your home can be rewarding, but at the same time you definitely don’t want those filthy animals squatting all over your solar panels! So for those of you who have problem with bird poop on your solar panels, we’ve got a few tips and tricks on how to keep your panels clean and at their most efficient.
Why Bird Poop is Bad for Solar Panels
Right now you might be thinking to yourself, “I thought solar panels were self-cleaning?” and for the most part, you’re right. If your panels are installed on a sloped roof, then they shouldn’t collect much debris. Whatever dust that does build up, will eventually be washed away by the next rainfall– but what do you do during the warm seasons? And to be honest, a few light showers usually won’t be enough to wash away bird droppings, especially if your solar panels see a lot of avian traffic.
Bird scat poses several problems for your solar panels:
- It blocks sun from reaching certain spots on you’re panels.
Your solar panels work to cut down energy costs only when they are gathering sunlight. So, as you might expect, any kind of dirt or debris on the panels will prevent them from being as efficient as possible. It’s good practice to clean your solar panels regularly, every six months or so, especially during the summer and fall months.
- It causes permanent damage to the panels.
Bird poop will cause permanent damage to your solar panels. Much like what happens if you let bird droppings sit on car paint for too long, bird droppings on solar panels will leave what is known as an “etching.” Just like it sounds, this means that the bird poop leaves a permanent outline that is etched, or imprinted, on the surface of your panels. Is this detrimental to the panels’ performance? Most likely not, but only time will tell.
- It looks gross.
Last but not least, bird poop looks disgusting– especially when it’s defacing an otherwise smooth and glossy surface (AKA your solar panels). I think we can all agree that having grimy rooftop panels as the first thing your visitors see when coming to your home is the last thing anyone would want.
Tips for Cleaning Poop Off Solar Panels
Tools you’ll need:
- A hose
Alright, so now that you know to watch out for bird poop, the next thing you want to do is to clean it off of your solar panels ASAP. But wait, how exactly do you clean solar panels?
Luckily, removing bird poop is as simple as taking a garden hose and spraying down your rooftop. Note, however, that the longer the poop is stuck to the panels, the harder it will be to remove. You should stay on the ground, and spray your panels with a hose. If that doesn’t do the job, the next step is to take a squeegee, or a sponge attached to an extension pole if you don’t have one, and dip it into some soapy water. Try your best to wipe down the panels as thoroughly as possible, and be sure to stay on the ground instead of climbing up onto your roof (for safety reasons). When you’re done with that, spray the panels down one last time and that’s it– you’re finished.
For particularly stubborn bird poop, we recommend finding a professional solar panel installers in your area. The experts will know just what materials to use to clean the bird poop off, and they can likely perform system maintenance while they’re up there, too. Of course, you can also ask your solar contractor about the best way to keep your specific panels clean.