Our Guide to Cleaning Your Solar Panels (Infographic)
If your solar system isn’t producing as much electricity as you would expect, it could be the result of dirty solar panels.
Clean panels are more efficient and have a greater energy output. Along with these solar power tips, knowing how to clean solar panels can help you get the most out of your solar investment.
This guide explains why cleaning your panels is important, how often you should do it and how to do so in a safe and effective way.
Does cleaning solar panels improve performance?
Dust, dirt and bird droppings on your solar panels can block sunlight and reduce solar output. In coastal regions, salt can also accumulate on the panels, reducing panel efficiency.
During the wet seasons rain will wash away most of the grime for you, but in drier and dustier climates, cleaning dirty solar panels is the best solution.
According to one study, dust build up during the dry seasons can lead to reductions in energy output of over 20%. This number may increase depending on where your panels are located and the nature of the local climate.
To maximise energy production and get the most out of your solar investment, it’s important that your PV solar panels are cleaned throughout the year.
Also read: Tips on Solar Power Installation & Repairs
Can you clean solar panels yourself?
Light, regular cleaning can be done fairly simply at home. However, it’s important to understand how to clean solar panels on the roof in a safe way. Unless you have appropriate safety equipment, it’s best to clean from the ground to avoid injury.
For deep cleans and thorough servicing, we recommend getting a professional solar panel cleaning service. This will ensure your panels are cleaned properly and safely to achieve maximum output.
Professional cleaners can also inspect your system to make sure there are no other issues and make repairs on small problems before they become costly.
What should I clean my solar panels with?
In general, you only need clean water from your garden hose to clean PV solar panels. Use a medium pressure as high pressures can cause damage.
For stubborn spots, use a soft scrubbing brush or cloth to lift any grime. A mild non-abrasive detergent can be used, but avoid any harsh chemicals that could damage the panels. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s guidelines beforehand.
For a streak free finish, squeegees can be used on the panels in the same way you would use them for cleaning glass windows.
How to clean solar panels on the roof
Follow these steps to get your dirty panels sparkling clean:
1. Choose a cool, mild day
Choose a day with mild temperatures and start early in the morning or late in the afternoon, rather than the hottest part of the day.
On hot days, water will dry quickly and may leave unpleasant marks and stains on the surface of the panels, undoing your hard work. Plus, spraying cool water on hot panels may cause cracks due to sudden temperature changes.
2. Shut off the system
Before you start cleaning, switch off your electricity and solar power system as a safety precaution. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions in the owner manual to shut down the system properly.
3. Clean from ground level
Climbing up on the roof can be very dangerous, especially if you don’t have the right safety equipment. Using water can make the roof surface more slippery than usual.
There’s also the risk of damaging the panels. Putting any weight on the solar panels can cause cracks which will affect energy production and decrease their durability.
Where possible, clean the panels from the ground using a garden hose with a medium spray of water. If you need to scrub at grime, attach a soft brush or microfibre cloth to a long handle and work from ground level.
4. Use soft brushes to scrub grime
Only use soft brushes and cloths to avoid scratching the panels during the cleaning process. For stubborn dirt, you can add a mild detergent to the water. Avoid any harsh chemicals as they might damage the panels.
5. Get a streak free finish with squeegee
A squeegee can be used to wipe away the water afterwards, much like you would finish cleaning a window. Attach the squeegee to a long extendable pole so that you can use it from ground level.
How often should solar panels be washed?
As a rule of thumb, you should clean your solar panels every 6 months, one of those being a professional service. The best time for cleaning is late spring and late autumn when the weather isn’t too hot.
If you live in a particularly dusty region or a salty coastal climate, or if the panels receive bird droppings regularly, cleaning services may be required more frequently. Flat panels may also require more regular cleaning since they don’t allow rain and water to run off.
Got more questions about solar power? Check out our answers to common solar power FAQ’s or get in touch with our team and we’d be happy to help.
Solar panel services in Mandurah
Whether you’re looking to install solar panels at your home or need information about how to clean solar panels to maximise energy output, the team at iBreeze are here to help.
We’re a family-owned local business servicing homes in Mandurah, Rockingham and Perth. We offer professional solar panel services at competitive prices and we’re committed to providing trustworthy, obligation-free advice.
Call us today on (08) 9534 9491 to see how we can help.
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