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How to clean solar panels

How to clean solar panels

Clean and debris free solar panels will offer the most efficiency and power output, so regular cleaning should be on your list of housekeeping or maintenance jobs.

The most common questions we receive are how often do they need to be cleaned, and how do I actually clean them? Many solar owners are worried about breaking or damaging them, so they inevitably don’t do anything. Here are a few tips to help you keep them clean and working at their peak.

What are the most common things that can dirty or obstruct your panels?

Besides the normal dust and dirt, there are a few enemies of solar panels. The following items are the most common cause for solar systems losing efficiency and output:

1.    Dirt & grime. Depending on where you live and the local weather, this could be a major or minor inconvenience. Normal everyday dust can be penetrated by sunlight, so there would not generally be any loss of function. It will usually wash away in the rain anyway! Excessive dust build up over time will have an effect, so cleaning is required.

2.    Leaves. Unfortunately leaves on your roof will block the sunlight hitting your solar panels, so ensure any leaf or twig debris is removed regularly.

3.   Birds. Where trees are, generally there are birds too. Bird droppings are one of the worst inhibitors for solar panels, blocking light and leaving a build up of grime which will usually need to be washed off.

If you have flat solar panels installed, they will need generally need a bit more taking care of compared to angled or tilted panels. The angle on tilted panels will allow the rain to naturally rinse off any loose or light material.

dirty solar panels

How often do they need to be cleaned?

Once again, it really depends on where your panels are located. If you’re surrounded by lots of large trees, or in a highly congested area, cleaning every few months should be enough. For those in less built up areas with smaller trees (and nice weather!), cleaning can be done every 6 months or so.

It’s recommended to visually inspect your panels on a regular basis for any damage or build up of debris. You never know, the neighbours kids may have kicked the ball on your roof and damaged one of your panels.

How do I actually clean my panels?

For those willing to do things themselves, cleaning solar panels is pretty straight forward. The hardest part is being on the roof, so make sure to put your safety first.

All you need to clean is water and a non-abrasive sponge or similar. It’s best not to use any high pressure hoses, as these may damage the panels.

Simply rinse the panels with water, and lightly use your sponge to remove any stubborn stains or marks. For very dirty panels, you can use a bit of dishwashing liquid to help remove the excess build up of dirt and grime. Once you’re done, just rinse them off again to remove any detergent or water build up.

What if I’m not comfortable doing it myself, or I just can’t be bothered?

That’s not a problem, just get in touch with our team and we can organise a professional clean for your solar panels.

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