Solar energy is exponentially increasing in popularity. Not only is solar energy cost-effective, it is also decreasing carbon footprint left by other methods used to create electricity. If maintained properly, your solar panels can continue to save money without hurting the environment for years to come.
The job of maintaining your solar panels and keeping them at their peak efficiency will include scrubbing them. Did you know that a dirty solar panel can lose 15-25% efficiency? This means that if your panels are dirty, a good cleaning can literally make them 25% more efficient! The cleaner your solar panels are, the more efficient they will be.
There are, however, plenty of options available when you are looking for cleaning supplies to get your solar panels looking sparkly. In this list, we will discuss our top five choices for solar panel cleaning tools. Hopefully, this list will help you to pick the best solar panel cleaning tools with its listed pros and cons and the FAQ segment. Let’s take a look so that you can get to scrubbing!
Best Solar Panel Cleaning Tools: Top Picks
The Camco 41960 is a simple brush with an aluminum handle that has a button to regulate the water that flows through the handle. The brush is designed to clean cars, boats, RVs, and other items, but works great for cleaning solar panels. The aluminum handle is sturdy and can telescope to reach closer or further, depending upon the application. The brush is 10 inches wide and has firm and soft bristles for scrubbing dirt that is caked on and brushing it away.
- Adjustable handle length
- Wide brush head with versatile application
- Flow through handle with an easy on and off switch to regulate water flow
- Different bristles with varying stiffness
- Wash head does not swivel while in use
- It is not specifically manufactured for cleaning solar panels
- Telescoping handle only extends to a maximum of 74 inches long
- Does not include water tank or hose
The EVERSPROUT scrub brush is a simple telescoping pole with a detachable scrub brush on the end. The head is rubber, not hard plastic, which means that it should never create scratches while using. The EVERSPROUT also includes a built-in squeegee on the end for effectively cleaning and wiping glass surfaces. The handle can extend up to 12 feet long, giving it a reach of approximately 20 feet total while being used. The EVERSPROUT also comes with a warranty. This scrubber is multifunctional and of simple design.
- Soft bristles with a no-scratch rubber head
- 20-foot reach at full extension
- Made for multiple applications
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- Weighs only 1.5 pounds
- Flip tab locking for telescoping poles (does not get stuck)
- Pole tends to bend at longer lengths of extension
- Does not allow water source to be attached
- Parts are mostly static and non-adjustable
This telescoping brush setup is very sleek and effective. It allows the user to connect the pole to a garden hose so that water can be sprayed out of the brush head for cleaning. The pole extends to 24 feet and allows for a maximum reach of about 30 feet. Without extending, the pole is 7 feet long, while the hose attachment is 18 feet. This allows for maximum flexibility, as a typical garden hose can be stiff and cumbersome. The bristles on the Equipmaxx tend to be a little on the soft side but are still effective. Overall, this model is exceptionally made and very durable.
- Can reach a distance of about 30 feet
- Has water hose compatibility
- Has hose attachment that is 18 feet long and allows for easy maneuvering
- Has all components needed
- Sturdy and sleek design
- Light weight
- Manufacturer provides lifetime warranty
- Does not include squeegee
- Some additional adapters may be needed for hose connection
- Depending on your water pressure, a hose clamp may also be needed
- If cleaners are to be used, a tank must be used, as the pole does not allow cleaning solutions to be added directly.
The DocaPole is a simple squeegee with a washing cloth on the other side of the head. Typically used for washing windows, this pole scrubber is perfect for solar panels as well. The pole can be extended up to 12 feet in length, giving it a maximum total reach of about 18-20 feet. This particular scrubber is not compatible with water hook-up but is easily dipped manually and includes a chenille scrubber head with micro-fibers. The head can be tilted and locked into place to achieve otherwise difficult cleaning angles.
- Micro-fiber scrubber on head
- Squeegee built in
- Locking angle adjustment for difficult angles
- Telescopes for maximum reach
- Easily dipped for use of soaps and foams
- Maximum reach only 20 feet
- No water hook-up compatibility
- Can be flimsy when extended to maximum reach
- Micro-fiber is great for dirt and smudges, but heavy build up might need bristles instead
The Ulihome scrubber is another model with a micro-fiber scrubber, making it ideal for glass. The squeegee is made of a durable silicone and comes with a sprayer on the head. The sprayer, however, must be used manually (depressed by the forefinger). The aluminum handle has three detachable segments that, when attached, make a 58-inch handle. This design is better for close range application but is durable and simple to use.
- Microfiber head that is great for cleaning glass
- Silicone squeegee
- Spray nozzle attached to head
- Sturdy handle
- Can be disassembled for small storage
- Only extends to 58 inches
- Spray nozzle must be depressed manually using forefinger
- Microfiber is great for cleaning glass; however, heavy buildup may require bristles for cleaning.
FAQ about Solar Panel Cleaning Tools
Q: Doesn’t rain clean my solar panels good enough already?
A: Unfortunately, no. Rain can help to clear off a bulk of heavy particulates but does not effectively Rid the glass of smaller particulates. Keep in mind that sap, smog, pollen, bird droppings, and other things that can greatly decrease the efficiency of your panels accumulate quickly.
Q: Is it okay to use cleaning chemicals on my solar panels?
A: To some extent, yes. Cleaners can help to rid the glass of sticky or heavy buildups. Do keep in mind, however, that the wires underneath the panels do not need cleaning and that some cleaners can be corrosive. It is also important to remember that some cleaners can leave a residue. Residue can build up and decrease the efficiency of your panels over time. Check with your manufacturer’s recommendations and restrictions before deciding to use a cleaner, and always thoroughly rinse your panels after cleaning.
Q: Is it important that my cleaning tool hooks up to a water source?
A: This depends upon the accessibility of your panels. If you have a two-story home and your panels are on the roof, for instance, it might be difficult to safely get water and cleaners to the roof and the spraying models might be more convenient.
Q: How often should I clean my solar panels?
A: A general recommendation is about every quarter, however, if you have severe rain, smog, wind, or snow; it might be a better idea to clean them more often.
Even though it may seem that solar panels should work just the same without giving them a good scrubbing, a good cleaning can increase the efficiency substantially. Some people simply use a garden hose and spray them down, but this is not the most effective way to clean your panels at all. Finding the perfect tool with which to clean your solar panels is easy.
It is important to consider what exactly your cleaning apparatus should accomplish. Does it need to be long so that you can reach extreme height? Should it have stiff bristles to clean sap, bird droppings, or mud? Whatever the extent of your solar panel cleaning expectations, hopefully one of these best solar panel cleaning tools will help you to get the job done.
Just remember to always practice safe cleaning. If you are using a ladder, be sure that both or all four legs are secure and that you wear the proper clothing and gear. Also be sure to check and make sure that any tools or cleaners that you plan to use are safe and compatible with your panels. Happy scrubbing!