Cleaning Solar Panels

Why panels should be cleaned

It is important to keep solar panels clean to keep the performance up. Any coverage on the solar panel will reduce the efficiency of the panels and reduce the power being generated. This includes a thin layer of dust over the panel
More destructive is major dirt that prevents sunlight hitting the panel such as bird faeces or lichen. Even coverage of a small percentage of the panel can cause the panel to almost stop generating so it is very important to clean this off quickly.

How often to clean panels

This depends upon how dirty they get and the type of dirt. Solar panels are nearly al- ways installed at an angle above 15 degrees. As well as improving the solar gain of the panels this allows the rain to wash the panels very effectively.
The answer to frequency is very much as soon as they are dirty and this will depend on how much dirt there is and now much natural cleaning there is from the rain.
Normally monthly of even 6 monthly will be sufficient but if birds are a major problem then it may mean daily cleaning. In this case measures should be taken to prevent the birds from perching on the panels and there are often simple fixes to this problem.

How to wash panels

The best way to wash panels is simply with a soft rag and a bucket of water or with a low pressure hose. It is important not to scratch the panel surface or leave a film on the panel as these will both reduce the generating capacity of the panel.

Things to avoid are:

  • Washing with soap or chemicals. At best these are likely to leave a film over the panel surface which will reduce the generating efficiency of the panel and at worst with chemical cleaning may destroy seals and water proofing and allow water ingress into the electrics which could then cause a panel to set alight. Soap on a sloping roof is also a safety concern as it will make the roof extremely slippery.

  • Using a water blaster or high pressure water. Panels are designed to survive for 25 years or more in rain but are not designed to take high pressure water which again may get inside the panel and cause a potential fire situation.

Tecnico can help with further informnation and are happy to advise you further.

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