How To Clean Solar Panels

man cleaning solar panel

Many homeowners frequently ask about the proper ways to clean the solar panels on their roofs. 

While most solar panels have self-cleaning features, regular upkeep and maintenance are essential to ensure effective operation. 

In regions like Ireland, investing in solar panels is a prudent choice, prioritising their optimal performance.

Mostly, solar panels can clean themselves. However, in instances of dust buildup or bird droppings, manual cleaning becomes a necessity. 

For those with roof-mounted systems, seeking professional cleaning services is typically the safest route. It's advisable to avoid personal attempts at cleaning unless equipped with the necessary safety gear.

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Why Is It Important To Maintain Your Solar Panels?

Generally, dirty solar panels can lead to a decline in output by up to 5%. Dust accumulation and other substances can hinder the solar cells' functioning at their peak capacity. 

Due to their angled position, many solar panels are designed to let dirt and debris slide off quickly. Nonetheless, under certain circumstances, manual cleaning becomes a necessity.

When acquiring new solar panels, considering a cleaning service as a part of your package might be beneficial. 

Discuss with your installer about incorporating this service into your contract. While it's commonly assumed that rain can clean the panels, it only sometimes does the job effectively. 

Despite the availability of grants in countries like the UK and Ireland, making them more affordable, they remain a significant investment. 

Ensuring their proper maintenance can lead to optimal performance.

Undertaking the cleaning task yourself might seem tempting, but there are better courses of action, particularly if your roof has a steep incline. 

This poses a risk to the panels, potentially leading to damages or cracks and endangering your safety. 

Some argue that the cost of professional cleaning services may not be justified, making it vital to consider your specific circumstances and the associated safety factors before deciding.

What Is The Recommended Cleaning Frequency?

The recommendation is to clean solar panels at intervals ranging from once a month to yearly. 

Monitoring the cleanliness is considerably more straightforward for ground-mounted panel systems than roof-mounted installations, which can be challenging to check regularly.

Typically, the diagonal positioning of the panels aids in natural cleaning through the actions of rain and wind. Nevertheless, the frequency of cleaning may also depend on your locale. 

Urban dwellers might find it necessary to clean their panels more frequently due to higher pollution and dust levels compared to those residing in less congested areas.

To ensure unhindered performance, initiating quick inspections on a weekly or monthly basis can be beneficial. 

Studies have indicated that maintaining a yearly cleaning regimen can increase energy output by up to 12%.

Maintaining Solar Panels Safely And Effectively

Embarking on the journey to harness renewable energy through solar panels is a significant step towards a sustainable lifestyle. 

Ensuring their optimum performance involves adopting a meticulous cleaning regimen. Here are ten vital tips to aid in effective solar panel cleaning:

  • Begin by inspecting the panels for any dirt or dust accumulation, which can hinder their ability to absorb sunlight efficiently.

  • Avoid using regular sponges or soaps to clean the panels, which might damage the glass. Instead, use a biodegradable soap and a soft cloth for thorough cleaning.

  • Since roof-mounted solar panels can be unsafe to clean personally, consider hiring professionals with the necessary tools. If you decide to do it yourself, ensure the use of safety ropes and ladders to prevent accidents, as panels can become slippery.

  • For frequent cleaning, utilising a hose to eliminate dust from the panels weekly or monthly is advisable.

  • Steer clear of abrasive cleaning materials that can scratch or impair the panel glass, potentially leading to expensive repairs.

  • A popular advice is to undertake the cleaning early in the morning. During this period, the panels remain cool from the nighttime, and morning dew makes it easier to remove dirt.

  • Generally, plain water is the safest and most efficient method for cleaning the panels.

  • If using agents other than water is preferred, ensure they are mild and devoid of harsh chemicals. A diluted solution of mild dishwashing detergent serves this purpose well.

  • DIY cleaning is considerably more manageable for those with ground-mounted panels than the more precarious roof-mounted setups.

  • Refrain from using pressure washers, as the intense pressure can damage the panels, affecting their functionality adversely.

Optimising Solar Panel Performance: Essential Guidance

Ensuring regular maintenance paired with routine cleaning can significantly enhance the efficiency of your solar panel system. 

To keep an eye on the performance and upkeep requirements, make it a habit to monitor and document its daily functioning.

If consistent cleaning doesn't appeal, you can set up automated sprinkler systems or book routine cleaning sessions with local experts. 

The ease of cleaning solar panels has been facilitated with various convenient options available. The stationary nature of solar panels generally demands less maintenance than other home systems.

Generally speaking, a proactive approach to monitoring your system’s performance, coupled with regular upkeep, will contribute immensely to preserving the lifespan and efficiency of your solar panel installation. 

If you're inclined towards DIY and prefer not to avoid investing heavily in professional cleaning services, the tips above can serve you well. A little effort goes a long way when it comes to solar panel upkeep.

At Top Solar Panels, we specialise in installing solar panels across residences and commercial establishments throughout Ireland. Our expertise extends to installing EV chargers and offering various electrical maintenance services, including PAT testing, periodic inspections, and emergency electrician services during non-working hours. 

Recognised as one of the top-rated electrical contractors in Cork, our team comprises highly skilled electricians ready to serve your needs. Connect with our solar panels Cork team today for a seamless experience.

Discover more insightful articles on our blog, addressing common queries like ‘how to minimise electric bills during winter‘, ‘the cost involved in rewiring a house‘, or maybe you're curious about topics like ‘the functionality of solar panels during cloudy days‘, ‘the worth of installing solar panels in Ireland‘, ‘the uniformity among different electric car chargers‘ or ‘the expense associated with charging an electric car‘. 

Feel free to explore these blogs and garner insights from the experts at Top Solar Panels.

Get a Free Quote

Ready to harness the power of the sun? Get a free quote today for solar panel installation in your home and take the first step towards energy independence!