Does cleaning your solar panels make a difference?
To clean or not to clean? That is the question that many people with solar panels are asking themselves and there is really no definitive answer. Yes, some solar panels do need cleaning in some environments, but doing this is not always necessary either. So does cleaning your solar panels make a difference? Let’s find out.
Is cleaning your solar panels necessary?
In the UK, cleaning solar panels is not always necessary. We tend to experience plenty of rainfall after all so in many cases this is enough to keep the panels clean and fully functioning. In the UK, the major problem with solar panel efficiency is caused by birds.
Your own Solar Panel Cleaning kit
These are the items you will need to clean your solar panels yourself. OK so you may need to spend some money at first, but you can save a small fortune not having pay your window cleaner, plus you can wash them once a month and increase there efficiency, plus they look nice shining in the sunshine 🙂
- Water fed pole An extendable light weight carbon water fed pole with a nice adjustable brush head. Just simply connect it to your water back pack, switch on and clean away. On Amazon
- Rechargeable back pack An excellent 16 litre back pack that can easily connect to your water fed pole, fill it up with a solution of water and TFR and clean away. you can easily fit a john guess tap in line so you can switch on and off whilst up the ladder, the back pack comes with a pressure switch, very handy. Make sure you rinse it out with fresh water after uses to prolong the life of the pump. Incidentally you can upgrade your pump to a chemical pump which is much more robust. On Amazon.
- Trade Chem Solclean. Comments from Amazon “Very good, I was expecting to have to use a lot more effort scrubbing.” “Apply after cleaning and does what it says on the tin or plastic bottle” On Amazon
Birds nest under your Solar Panels
We all love birds! However if you do live in an area with a large bird population – and that could be just about anywhere, droppings can have a big effect upon solar panel efficiency. You might find that the birds roost on your chimney on your TV Arial or even on the panels themselves so droppings can build up quickly over time meaning that your panels will require cleaning.
Any type of shade on the panel will negatively affect efficiency and electricity output so a build-up of bird droppings will certainly have a detrimental effect and they will need cleaning. You should be able to see this with the naked eye. If your panels are housed on your roof, you should be able to check by climbing a ladder – depending of course upon the location of the panels and the reliability of your eyesight!
It, it is a good idea to move anything that makes a convenient roosting spot away from the panels if possible. You could also use some sort of bird deterrent to encourage the birds away from your roof. There are plenty of cruelty free bird deterrents available such as mechanical owl models or other bird scarers.
Dust and pollution on your solar panels
Solar panels can also be affected by dust and pollution. An experiment carried out on a commercial solar farm in California concluded that regular cleaning doubled electricity output over the course of the year. With our increasingly dry climate in the UK and high levels of pollution in some areas, you may find that your output is also improved by regular or at least annual cleaning.
Self-Cleaning Solar Panels
Some solar panels sold in the UK are designed to be self-cleaning. These are coated with a hydrophobic coating, usually based on silica and this prevents water, dust or anything else from sticking to the panel. This means that if your solar panels are relatively new, you may find that you do not have to clean them at all.
If you are not sure whether your solar panels are self-cleaning or not, check out your product information to find out more. Self cleaning is a major selling point so this will feature prominently in the product specifications
Should you use a cleaning product on solar panels?
The general advice is to use clean water on solar panels so don’t be tempted to use fairy liquid or some other product under your kitchen sink. There are 2 kinds of dirt organic and oil based. TFR is good for cleaning oil based dirt, and a bleach based product good for removing organic dirt like liche. Try the dilutable solar panel cleaner on Amazon. Soak the panels first with clean water, leave for 15 minutes, then apply the solution with the water fed pole and brush, leave for 15 minutes and then give them a good rinse with clean water. Repeat until your satisfied the panels are nice and clean. Solclean on Amazon. (read instructions carefully)
Always ask the advice of your solar panel supplier.
Your solar panel system is an expensive home investment, so you do need to be careful when carrying out your own general maintenance on the system.
If your instructions do not provide any instructions for cleaning the panels, your best course of action is to contact your supplier or the manufacturer for more information. You may find that cleaning your solar panels can adversely affect your warranty so it is important to be clear on all the implications before you start. In addition your supplier may be able to advice the best way to go about the cleaning or may be able to recommend a solar cleaning service in your area.
Call in a professional solar panel cleaning service.
Calling in a professional solar panel cleaning service is undoubtedly the easiest option. In the UK, most solar panel systems are situated on the roof which can make it a difficult and potentially dangerous job if you lack the correct equipment.
Unless your solar panels are easy to access from the ground and actually require cleaning, this is one job that is always best left to the professionals. Try us Reach Wash Solar Panel Cleaning