Solar panels are a popular choice for homeowners and business owners looking to harness clean and renewable energy. They work by converting sunlight into electricity, making them an eco-friendly alternative to traditional energy sources.
Over time, dust, dirt, pollen, bird droppings and other debris can accumulate on the surface of solar panels, reducing their ability to capture sunlight and generate electricity. That’s where regular cleaning comes in. In this guide, we will discuss how to clean your solar panels.
Why Clean Solar Panels?
Clean solar panels are more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. Ensuring regular cleaning can help you maximise the efficiency of your solar panels and save money on energy costs in the long run. It can also help maintain their warranty. Many manufacturers require regular maintenance, including cleaning, to keep the warranty valid. Neglecting to clean your solar panels may void the warranty, leaving you responsible for any repairs or replacements.
The Best Way to Clean Solar Panels
When it comes to cleaning solar panels, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:
1. Gather the Necessary Tools
To clean your solar panels effectively, gather the following tools:
- Soft bristle brush or sponge
- Non-abrasive cleaning solution (avoid harsh chemicals)
- Hose or bucket of water
- Squeegee or microfibre cloth
2. Ensure Safety
Before attempting to clean your solar panels, prioritise your safety. If your solar panels are installed on your roof, exercise caution and use proper safety equipment such as a sturdy ladder, non-slip footwear and a safety harness if necessary. If you are unsure about accessing your solar panels safely, it’s best to hire a professional solar panel cleaner.
3. Check the Manufacturer's Guidelines
Always consult the manufacturer’s guidelines before cleaning your solar panels. Manufacturers may have specific recommendations or restrictions on cleaning methods and products. Following their guidelines will help you avoid any potential damage and maintain the warranty.
4. Choose the Right Time
The best time to clean solar panels is early in the morning or late in the evening when the panels are cool, and the sun is not directly overhead. Cleaning panels during peak sunlight hours can cause the cleaning solution to evaporate quickly, leaving behind streaks and residue.
5. Cleaning Process
Here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning your solar panels:
- Rinse the panels with water to remove loose debris and dirt.
- Mix the non-abrasive cleaning solution with water as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Dip the soft bristle brush or sponge into the cleaning solution and gently scrub the surface of the panels. Avoid applying excessive pressure to prevent damage.
- Rinse the panels thoroughly with clean water to remove any remaining cleaning solution.
- Use a squeegee or a microfibre cloth to remove excess water and prevent streaks.
- Allow the panels to air-dry completely before reconnecting them to the power source.
How Often Should You Clean Your Solar Panels?
The frequency of solar panel cleaning depends on various factors, including the local climate, environmental conditions and the tilt angle of your panels. As a general guideline, it is recommended to clean solar panels at least twice a year. However, if you live in an area with heavy dust, pollen or bird activity, more frequent cleaning may be necessary.
Regular visual inspections can help you identify when cleaning is required. Keep an eye out for any visible dirt, stains or debris on the panels. Additionally, monitoring your solar panel’s energy production can indicate a decrease in efficiency, signalling the need for cleaning.