Whether you’ve just had solar panels installed, or you were an early adopter with an older system, cleaning is an important part of caring for and maintaining your solar system.
Cleaning is especially important if you live in an area with regular bushfires, dust storms, or with a lot of debris, covering your solar panels with dirt, ash or dust.
Below we’ll take you through some of the most important things you need to know about cleaning your solar system, as well as how and when to do so.
Why you need to clean your solar panels
Although solar systems are set and forget to a certain extent, they still require some maintenance to ensure you receive the best possible production and save on your power bill.
Some reasons you should clean your solar system regularly include:
- Cleaning and maintaining your solar panels regularly can improve your efficiency by as much as 20% and much more if they’re really dirty.
- If you have a solar monitoring system installed, you’ll be able to see if your solar output has decreased.
- Another way to check if your panels need cleaning is to check their efficiency after rain; if they’ve improved, it’s a good sign that dirt was an issue.
What you’ll need
- A step ladder
- A soft bristled broom
- A sponge or cloth
- A bucket of soapy water
- A bucket of clean water or a hose
Things to Avoid
Although solar panels are strong enough to stand years of variable weather conditions, using abrasive cleaning products can damage them and reduce their productivity and lifespan.
Ensure you avoid the following:
- Abrasive cleaners
- High pressure washers
- Climbing directly onto your roof
How To Clean Your Panels
- Use a step ladder to gain access to the roof
- Use the broom to clean your panels with cold soapy water (dishwasher detergent is perfect)
- Wrap a soft cloth around the head of the broom for troublesome dirt
- Hose off or pour water over the panels to clean away the soap and allow to air dry
- We recommend cleaning your panels once every 12 months, or more often if the panels are exposed to large amounts of dirt and debris.
- Softening the dirt with water, followed by some elbow grease, will ensure you don’t damage the panels.
- Clean leaves from under the panels to avoid attracting pests. Use the handle of a broom to dislodge buildup.
- A qualified electrician should come onsite to check your system every year or two to ensure that your system is kept safe and in optimal condition.
With regular cleaning, your system is sure to shine, as well as bring in higher levels of production and lower your electricity bill.
Peter is a Licensed Electrician and the Director of Proven Energy, a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer. After working in the industry, Peter’s interest in renewable energy lead him to found the company in 2012, offering honest and reliable solar system supply and installation for residential, commercial, off-grid and agricultural properties. Peter is a CEC Accredited Installer. Electrical Contractors Lic No. 74650