We are often asked How to clean solar panels? In a world where we are constantly being offered and presented with ways of making our homes cheaper to run and more environmentally friendly, whether it be through an app, a new product range or a switch in providers, installing solar power panels can quickly seem like a sensible solution which helps combat electricity bills by using the power of natural sunlight to run your home.
Of course, residential solar panels take all their effectiveness from their response to sunlight, and so keeping them clean and clear to absorb the sun’s rays is an integral part of their make-up.
What does this mean for those with solar panels fixed outside their home? You need to be investing in regular solar panel maintenance routine which will keep those solar panels clear to do their job.
What kind of things can impact the effectiveness of solar panels?
Before we get stuck into the best ways to clean your solar panel, it’s first worth understanding what exactly can hamper the effectiveness of your panels and how you can use your panels for optimum use – even if you do have one or two panels and not an entire solar farm.
This can be broken down into a fundamental percentage loss of effectiveness over time. If you do not clean your solar panels, each yearly quarter can see your panels losing another 5% of effectiveness.
This means that after just two years, your panels could be operating at a 20% reduced rate – purely because you have not yet invested in a professional clean.
The top issues which cause problems for solar panels are:
- Dust and dirt
- Fallen leaves
- Trapped or pooled water
- Bird droppings
There is one standard solution which can make the situation better for all these issues, and that is angled solar panels. So often we see people laying their solar panels flat, thinking that this way the entire panel will be exposed to the maximum amount of sunlight.
However, what they do not consider is the issues that come with flat panels – namely water which can collect and pool on the panel and leave water and dirt marks, and leaves and other debris which can collect and pile up on a flat surface, rather than running down an angled one.
Whist positioning your solar panels is a good preventative measure to lower the impact of debris and water, investing in a full clean is still both necessary and cost-effective in the long run.
DIY vs Professionals
Professional solar panel cleaning services are, in most cases, the best solution when it comes to ensuring that your solar panels are cleaned effectively and safely. Using the latest water fed pure water cleaning equipment.
Most standard homes have their solar panels mounted on the roof or up high, meaning that as well as cleaning the panels you will need to be able to work safely at height – and this is a process best undertaken by experts who have the equipment required.
That said, it still helps to understand the process of cleaning solar panels – particularly if you want to engage in a maintenance check and lowkey clean between professional services.
How to clean a solar panel
The process starts with water, soft rag, and a non-abrasive sponge. Remember that the surface of your solar panel is as delicate as a glass window and should be left without scratches if you want it to work at its optimum level.
People often ask us if they can use a pressure washer to clean down their solar panels – after all, doesn’t the high pressure of water provides the best chance of blasting away caked dirt and grime away from the surface?
In this instance, we recommend keeping it plain and simple with a standard hose and a normal sponge or soft brush – taking all the necessary steps which ensure you protect the fragile surface.
Similarly, steer away from chemicals and even glass cleaners – instead, using only a soft rag and warm water, as you might on a fragile drinking glass.
Getting a professional clean booked in
Any local professional cleaning company should be able to provide you with a free quote for a thorough clean of your solar panels – with the final amount depending on the number of panels you have to clean, and the state at which they require cleaning.
We tend to recommend that you invest in a professional clean at least once a year, ideally at the end of the summer to ensure your panels are operating fully ready for the colder winter months, and to stop any trapped grime and water from the summer from freezing onto the panel surface.
If you are unsure about how and when you need to clean your panels, or you would like a quote, get in touch with your local company that provides solar panel cleaning or us.