How to Clean Solar Panels

Cleaning solar panels – How to guide

Solar panels are the best and most efficient form of renewable energy for domestic houses in the Geelong and Surf coast area.

There is no set golden rule as to how to clean your solar panels. There are some simple rules to follow but its comment sense. You wouldn’t clean your glass splash back with steel wool therefore this still applies for solar panels.

Solar panel manufacturers may have requirements to make sure that you will not void their warranty policy. For these reasons we suggest ourselves at Velocity Solar that no chemicals need to be used therefor are not used.  We have been cleaning solar panels for other 3-4 years now and have found that most installed can be cleaning using Clean tap water (any temperature apart from very cold to avoid any possible glass cracking due to temp mismatch)  but luke warm to hot seems to work well on stubborn dirt and bird droppings.

If you treat the panels like your glass splash back in your house and / or like your car window it will give you a good understanding of how to clean your panels. A non-abrasive cloth is the safest option and Elbow Grease (hard manual labor) will always give a great result.

After panels have been cleaned depending on the amount of dirt and debris on the panels the efficiency of the panels in some instances could be improved by between 3 and 30 % in some instances.

Do I need a Solar professional to clean my panels

A solar professional , should know the best ways to clean your panels and should have their working at heights certification. If you choose to not use a solar professional to clean your panels then there are a couple of things to take into consideration. As mentioned please make sure that who ever goes onto the roof has his working at heights certification and works safely as roofs and water are not a great combination if not taking care.  Secondly there is a right way to move around a solar panel. If not required it is best to stay off the solar panels but if there is no other options than certain areas of the panels are better to put weight on than others. Specifically the points of the panels where mid clamps are connected have a better load distribution and support.

When Solar panels get moss and Lichen built up.

This is not a common occurrence across the board but there are specific areas that are prone to moss and lichen build up. They seem to be more likely with the older Amorphous solar cells and roof surfaces that have a light colour.  This is a lot harder to clean off your panels  and should be done by solar companies that know what their doing,  as utensils may be needed that could cause issues with the panels if not used correctly.  Unfortunately moss and Lichen cause large amounts of shading to panels and can have a detrimental effect on the performance of the solar panels.

How often should I clean my solar panels?

This is not a straight forward question. Every site is completely different, some variations that would alter the a timing of cleaning our panels can be the angle of the panels on the roof, The lower the pitch the harder it is for the panels to self clean, New estates unfortunately usually get more dust build up, in coastal areas salt build up could be an issue and as mentioned earlier the style of solar cells will have an impact.

The standard answer to the question is vague but the cleaner you keep your panels the better the solar production that the solar panels will produce. The thing to remember when deciding how often to clean your panels is yes the cleaner they are the better the energy yield but also if you’re paying a tradesman money to complete this service you don’t want to pay this person more money than your solar panels can recoup due to being cleaner. If Lichen or moss is present and in large amounts that this becomes more warranted, as loss of performance will start to make a significant difference of your production if gets to large.

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