Does Your Project Require Rendering & Insulation?

When And How to Clean Solar Panels?

Ever wondered how to clean solar panels? In this article, we address this question by looking at various aspects of cleaning them.

Do solar panels need cleaning?

Solar panels have surged in popularity over time due to their cost efficiency and eco-friendly nature for generating electricity. But does their performance hinge on regular maintenance and cleaning?

Let’s delve into this topic to uncover some insight.

In this write-up, we aim to highlight the critical aspect of solar panel maintenance. We’ll look into its significance, the frequency of cleaning required, and the most effective methods. 

So, without further ado, let’s unravel the world of solar panel upkeep.

To answer the query upfront, yes, indeed, solar panels necessitate routine cleaning to operate at their peak efficiency. Dust, debris, bird droppings, and various environmental pollutants tend to accumulate on your solar panels over a period. 

This accumulation can negatively impact their efficiency as they become less capable of absorbing maximum sunlight.

Regularly cleaning your solar panels becomes essential in eliminating this accumulation and preserving their optimum efficiency.

When to clean Solar Panels

In the UK, solar panels are engineered to self-clean, requiring minimal to zero maintenance. However, there are exceptions.

For instance, if the panels are located in an exceptionally arid region where dust and bird droppings can accumulate, or if the panels’ tilt is less than roughly 5 degrees, it’s advisable to clean them to guarantee a consistently high-performing system.

>> Related Reading: Is It Worth Getting Solar Panels?

How to Clean Solar Panels

Generally, roof-mounted solar panel cleaning should be handled by professionals due to the complexity of the task. However, if you’re dealing with a ground-mounted system, here are some general steps to follow:

  1. Safety is paramount – Before you begin working on the panels, it’s highly recommended to power down the system. You can find detailed instructions in the schematic diagrams provided post-installation. However, remember that the rooftop cabling will remain life and may carry potentially hazardous voltages since sunlight cannot be switched off.
  2. Vigilance for any signs of damage – If you spot any damaged cables during your inspection, cease your cleaning task immediately and report the situation.

When it comes to roof-mounted panels, the safest approach is to clean them from the ground. If ground-level cleaning isn’t feasible, it’s essential not to venture onto the rooftop unless you have the necessary access, suitable equipment, and adequate training.

>> Related Reading: How Much Do Solar Panels Cost: A Comprehensive Look

What Cleaning Equipment should I use to clean my solar panels?

Maintaining the cleanliness of your solar panels doesn’t necessitate high-end or specialized gadgets. The following is a compilation of some basic tools you could use to clean your panels effectively:

  • Gentle Brush: This tool is perfect for softly whisking away loose dirt and particles from your panel’s surface. Be sure to use a soft brush to avoid creating scratches.
  • Sponge or Delicate Cloth: For harder-to-remove dirt, a sponge or a soft cloth can be handy. But remember, gentleness is key to preventing potential harm to the panels. A lamb’s wool mitt is popular for many as it’s exceptionally kind to the surfaces.
  • Mild, Environmentally Friendly Soap: Opt for a gentle, non-abrasive, eco-friendly soap. Avoid harsh cleaning agents, as they could potentially deteriorate your panels and negatively impact the surrounding environment.
  • Hose with Spray Attachment: Use this to rinse off the soapy water and any residual dirt. Be careful not to use a high-pressure water hose that could damage the panels.
  • Extendable Pole: If your panels are elevated or difficult to access, an extendable pole can benefit your brush or cloth. It allows you to reach the panels without causing any harm safely.
  • Squeegee: This tool can be handy for removing excess water after washing, preventing water spots when the panels dry.

Remember that your safety should always be your primary concern when cleaning your solar panels, particularly if they are roof-mounted. If you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself or if the panels are challenging to access, consider enlisting the help of a professional solar panel cleaning service.

How do I know if my solar panels need cleaning?

There are some telltale signs that your solar panels are due for a thorough cleaning. One is pretty straightforward – you’ll notice visible dirt, dust, and bird droppings accumulations on the panel surfaces.

Another is more subtle and involves monitoring your solar panel performance. If you start to see a dip in power generation, it could be a sign that the panels aren’t performing optimally due to grime and debris.

You can keep track of your Solar PV system’s performance using your monitoring platform to spot any inconsistencies or irregular patterns. After a professional cleaning, you should observe an increase in your solar panels’ efficiency, leading to better power output!

Tips for cleaning solar panels 


1. Don’t use Abrasive Materials

Abrasive Materials are likely to scratch the surface of your Solar Panels, causing damage that will impact your Solar Generation and, in many cases, your warranty.

The best tools for cleaning your Solar Panels will be a water-fed pole with a soft brush combined with a Squeegee. You can water your Solar Panels using a hose in a low-pressure setting, scrub off the dirt with a soft brush, and then squeeze the surface dry.

2. Avoid Using Pressured Water

Applying high-pressure water onto your Solar Panels may appear to be a quick and easy fix to dirty Solar Panels. However, this solution is likely to damage the silicon seams of your panels and get water in places where water is not meant to be!

3. Safety First

Always ensure you shut down your Solar PV System before you start cleaning your panels. Instructions can be found in the schematics that should have been provided after your installation. But remember that the roof cabling will still live and carry dangerous voltages. If you see any damaged or exposed cabling, stop instantly and report them to a Solar Panel Professional.

Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to go through our comprehensive guide on maintaining your solar panels. Our aim was not only to assist with the cleaning process but also to help you determine when cleaning your panels is essential. 

Solar panels exhibit remarkable strength and resilience, often requiring less maintenance than commonly assumed.

Remember to visit Greener Choices regularly for the latest updates and valuable insights on solar energy. We strive to provide you with all the information you need to make environmentally-friendly decisions.

External Rendering & Insulation Specialists

ProGuard Exteriors Ltd is a highly rated external rendering and insulation company providing bespoke packages for homeowners, developers and businesses across South East England.