Solar FAQ: Do Solar Panels Need Cleaning?

If you’re looking for a way to reduce your carbon footprint but still have a reliable source of energy to power your home, you may have considered solar panels.

Solar panel installation is often a simple process but many homeowners are left wondering what comes next in terms of cleaning and maintenance.

The good news is that solar panels are generally very easy to take care of and while they do require some cleaning, it’s certainly not a difficult task.

The Importance Of Keeping Your Solar Panels Clean

If you’re considering having solar panels installed or have recently made this worthwhile investment then you should know that keeping your solar panels clean is incredibly important.

Dirty solar panels do not operate as efficiently as those that are clean and well-maintained. In fact, it’s estimated that your solar panels could become up to 6% less efficient if they’re covered in dirt and debris.

Things like bird droppings, leaves, general dirt and even rain can cause them to stop working as well as they should.

Now, one important thing to remember is that most solar panels are coated in a special material that allows rainwater to roll right off. But of course, there is a limit to everything and ignoring the importance of cleaning will eventually lead to a lack of efficiency even where rainwater is concerned.

Even if you live in an area where there isn’t a lot of precipitation, the pollutants in the air can cause a build-up of dust and dirt. Not only will these materials leave your solar panels dirty but, over time, there is a risk of them causing damage to the cells that your panels rely on to gather and convert energy.

How Often Should You Clean Your Solar Panels?

It’s not enough that we have to worry about having our windows, driveways and gutters cleaned. Now we have to make sure we’re committed to cleaning our solar panels as well?

But don’t worry. Solar panel cleaning isn’t something you need to do all that often. In fact, most experts recommend that cleaning them once every six months is more than sufficient.

That said, it is important to consider the environment in which you live. For example, if you live somewhere where there’s a lot of rainfall then you may need to clean your panels more frequently.

What’s more, if there are lots of overhanging trees above your property, things like bird droppings and falling leaves will land on your panels will result in the need for more frequent cleaning.

It’s commonly accepted that having your panels cleaned once at the beginning of spring and again at the end of summer is the best schedule.

How To Clean Solar Panels

Keeping your solar panels clean is an incredibly easy job and something that most homeowners will be able to do for themselves.

The first port of call is to tackle and dry or loose debris which can typically be removed with a soft brush. It’s essential not to use anything with hard or rough bristles as these may scratch the surface of the panel and affect its performance.

Once you have rid the panels of any debris, you can clean them with water. For the most part, this will remove any dirt but in some cases, you may need to make a solution of water and mild dish soap. There are also glass cleaners that are specifically made for solar panels. If you are using any form of detergent, be sure to rinse the panels thoroughly after cleaning.

In hard water areas, it is a good idea to use a squeegee to remove any surface water. This is because hard water contains a lot of minerals which can leave a deposit on the glass, often leaving it dirtier than when you started.

Using a long-handled brush and a hose pipe is the easiest way to access your solar panels without the need to get onto the roof. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to get onto the roof in which case, proper care should be taken. A safety harness is a must but you’ll still need to mind your step as the roof may become slippery when wet.

Professional Solar Panel Cleaning

If you don’t fancy taking on the job of cleaning your solar panels yourself, all is not lost. There are plenty of companies that offer professional solar panel cleaning.

Not only does this mean one less home maintenance job for you but it also gives you the reassurance that the job will be done to the highest standard.

You may worry that this will involve a cost and there’s no denying that. However, solar panel cleaning can be very affordable especially when you consider how much money you’re saving on your energy bills by having the panels in the first place.

Tips For Maintaining Your Solar Panels

If you want your solar panels to be as efficient as possible and perform to their max then it’s really important to keep them well maintained.

These are robust pieces of equipment that are designed to stand the test of time and, when properly looked after, a solar panel can last well in excess of two decades.

Keeping your solar panels clean is, as I have discussed, of the utmost importance, but there are also some minor maintenance procedures you can carry out to ensure they stay in tip top condition.

  • You can purchase special solar panel cleaning kits which can make maintaining your panels even easier.
  • Be sure to check your solar panels regularly for signs of damage and to make sure that the inverter light is flashing green. If you notice any problems then contact your installer who will be able to diagnose and rectify the issue.
  • When installing solar panels, try to place them out of the way of overhanging structures such as trees to avoid an unnecessary build up of debris.

Final Thoughts

Solar panels, like anything else, need to be kept clean if they are to remain in good working order. A good solar panel, when correctly maintained, will last at least 20 years and keeping them clean is super simple.

All it takes is a soft brush and some water and, if you prefer, a mild cleaning solution. Performing a clean every six months is usually enough to keep your panels in good condition.

Request a call back

* Required Fields

We hate SPAM and we promise to keep your email address safe. Here are our Terms & Conditions.

By clicking on the link, you are agreeing to go on our mailing list. You can unsubscribe at any time.