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It is a question that RV and homeowners alike always ask: how much do solar cleaning services cost, and do you really need one? There are those who say solar panels don’t need cleaning at all. At the other camp are those who say it’s necessary to maintain optimum performance. So what’s the real score? The truth is somewhere in between.
The average cost to clean solar panels is is $150, though some services charge on a per panel basis. Other companies have a fixed rate ranging from $150-$400 depending on the number of panels to be cleaned.
How to Calculate the Cost of Home Solar Panel Cleaning
A lot of factors determine the cost but the average is around $150. Some services charge on a per panel basis ($3-$10) or have a fixed rate between $140-$380. This does not include the pre-cleaning assessment fee which ranges from $100-$150 depending on the solar panel size
- High: $380
- Low: $100
- Average; $150
Cost Per Panel
- High: $20
- Low: $3
- Average: $10
Expect to pay $100-$170 for a typical cleaning service. Rooftop solar panel cleaning costs more compared to ground mount systems. The service person will charge a minimum amount that should fall in the range given.
Factors That Determine Home Solar Cleaning Price
The following determines how much more – or less – you’re going to pay for solar cleaning. This is obviously for safety reasons and because rooftop solar panels take more time to clean.
- Size: a large solar array (two or more solar panels joined together in a series or parallel configuration) is going to cost more. With a small solar power system you will probably pay the minimum fee or somewhere in that range.
- Amount of dirt: the more dirt and grime, the longer the cleaning will take and the more it will cost.
- Contractor location: the nearer you are to the contractor, the lower the cost. The opposite is true so call someone is as close to your home as possible.
- Solar panel setup: as mentioned, ground based solar systems cost less as it’s easier to clean.
- Solar system discount: some solar panel manufacturers offer maintenance discounts when you buy their products. Check your agreement and see if there is a discount or special low price.
How Much Does it Cost to Clean RV Solar Panels Yourself?
The price is really cheap. You can buy the Extend A Reach Microfiber Scrubber and clean the dirt off easily. . A single bottle of Glass Gleam Solar last months depending on your solar panel’s condition. For many, a bucket, water and a scrub brush or mop will do. You have those in your RV already so cost is next to nothing.
One thing you will need is a ladder to reach the roof. Clean the panel with water or cleaning solution. Be careful and don’t apply too much force as it could damage the glass. For hard to remove dirt, use a sponge and repeat if necessary. If it’s really dirty, then check out these tips.
If your RV is exposed to a lot of dirt, pollution, bird droppings, etc. regular cleanup is in order. This could happen if you travel extensively or in hot, windy areas. Rapid, fluctuating weather can also lead to dirt pileup on your solar panels. In that case you should clean it up every couple of months or so.
The cheapest way to clean RV solar panels is not to clean them at all. Some RVers will tell you they just let nature do the cleaning. That is let the rain come in and wash all the dirt. If your RV doesn’t get exposed to too much dust, there’s a case to be made that rain is enough to wash off the dirt.
A heavy downpour is good once in a while, especially for removing stubborn dirt. Still it’s a good idea to check the panels at least once a year to assess its condition. A well-designed system will notify you of performance dips anyway, so you’ll know if it needs cleaning or the drop is seasonal.
How Much Does Solar Panel Repair Cost? Solar panels last a long time, but not forever. Over time it may develop cracks or, wear and tear, loose connectors, cracks, etc. That’s why a yearly solar panel inspection is necessary to determine if the system needs repair or replacement.
Cost of home solar panel inspection is $150, depending on the array size. For RVs it’s much cheaper. You can do it yourself if you know the signs of solar panel wear and tear. The average solar repair cost is $650 for homes. It costs less for RVs as it has fewer solar panels installed.
3 Tips to Reduce Solar Cleaning Costs
The following methods should reduce the cost of cleaning services.
- Keep track of performance: use your system’s monitor to track change in energy output. A significant reduction could mean there is dirt and debris on the roof.
- Eliminate buildup: dirt, dust and pollen can rapidly accumulate and negatively affect performance. Remove these as quickly as possible.
- Remove blockages: branches and foliage can reduce power output. Remove them as soon as you can.
We have to point out that residential solar panels require more maintenance than RV solar panels. Home solar panels are bigger and more likely to collect dirt, grime, leaves. Birds and other animals might settle there and affect performance. A study conducted at Duke University shows that dust and grime can reduce solar panel efficiency by 35%.
This is more likely to affect residential solar systems because they’re static. RVs can shake off a lot of dirt when you drive. Driving from a dusty locale to a rainy one can remove dirt immediately. If it doesn’t rain in your neighborhood for months, then the dust will accumulate on the panels.
How Much Does DIY Solar Panel Cleaning Cost?
DIY RV cleaning is affordable. A bucket of water, scrub brush and sponge are all you need. Some companies sell specially made RV cleaning solutions too. If you want to try one, make sure it is as mild as possible. Harsh chemicals are a no-no, and some RVers don’t even recommend using soap. In some cases though it’s permissible to use soap in small amounts.
DIY cleaning home solar panels cost from $20 to thousands of dollars. The best approach is use a window washing pole, soap and brushes.
- Mild soap: $20-$50
- Water fed brushes: $100-$180
- Water fed pole: $300-$2,000
- Snow roof rake: $25-$175
Water fed poles have a huge price gap due to the materials and size. A 30 inch carbon fiber costs at least $900 and could be as much as $2,000. Aluminum water fed poles are the cheapest at $300-$600. Multiple brushes, adjustability and versatility drive up the cost too. Poles with rotating brushes cost at least $4,000.
A snow rake can be used for homes and RVs, but be careful. Even slight pressure could damage the glass and cause irreparable damage. Unless you know what you’re doing, most would recommend calling professional help to remove snow from solar panels.
Automated Solar Panel Cleaning Systems. At the other end of DIY cleaning methods are the automated cleaning systems. There are two options available, solar cleaning kits and robots.
- Solar cleaning kits: these look like sprinklers, except you can program it to clean your solar panels as often as you like. These are designed for home use and not yet available for RVs.
- Robots: advanced robots can now clean solar panels as often as required. There is no need for water either. They’re still new though and mostly used by business establishments in arid locations.
One of the reasons why solar panels are taking off is their efficiency. They need little maintenance and you can just set them up and forget about it. We showed here that cleaning solar panels is easy and mostly affordable, so no need to worry about the high cost of maintenance.
I am an advocate of solar power. Through portablesolarexpert.com I want to share with all of you what I have learned and cotinue to learn about renewable energy.