Why Do Solar Panels Need Cleaning

7/08/2016By Michael Sanders

A few years ago the government was giving very generous rebates to anybody who installed solar panels on their house. Many people took advantage of this and had solar panels installed on their home. However many people also had them installed and forgot about the all important maintenance!

How Solar Panels Work

Solar panel cleaning close up

The simple answer is solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, this electricity goes through an inverter which makes it usable in your home.

The complicated answer is solar panels are made of many smaller cells called photovoltaic cells. Many of these cells linked together creates what we know as a solar panel. These photovoltaic cells allow the photons (Or Sunlight) to cause a reaction and generate a flow of DC current.

The DC current travels to your inverter and there it is converted from DC to AC current. This AC current is what you need to run everything in your home.

Why Having Clean Solar Panels Is A Must

Dirty solar panels

When you have dirty solar panels you are blocking part of the sunlight from reaching the photovoltaic cells in your solar panels. This can affect the efficiency of your solar panels, studies have shown dirty solar panels can decrease efficiency by up to 30%.

Considering that you probably installed your solar panels to save money, allowing them to stay dirty means you are missing out on power that you could be harnessing.

Before and after solar panel cleaning

How Often Should Panels Be Cleaned

This before and after picture shows how dirty one of our clients panels were, they had not been cleaned since they were installed 5 years ago. Without a doubt there was an improvement in their systems efficiency!

Your solar system should be maintained with a clean atleast once a year, this will make sure that your panels are giving you their maximum output.

If you are interested in having your solar system cleaned professionally, please view our Solar Panel Cleaning Page for current pricing. Alternatively give us a call!

How To Clean Solar Panels

Solar panel cleaning brush

If you solar panels are hard to get to and your are not competent with working on a roof it may be better to hire a professional. Working on roofs always poses fall risks and you should be aware of the risk involved.

Before cleaning solar panels it is best practice to isolate them, a lot of systems have simple instructions next to your inverter about how to do this. Otherwise consult the manual supplied by your solar panel provider. It is ideal to clean your solar panels in the morning or late afternoon when they aren't as hot.

Panels are often next to each other in big banks, this can make it difficult to reach the middle of the banks. To make cleaning easier we suggest you have the following equipment on hand:

Start by rinsing off the solar panels to remove any loose dirty. Then, working on one panel at a time, use your brush to agitate the dirt, make sure to give them a good scrub so that all visible dirt is gone. Try to keep the solar panels wet, this will allow more stubborn dirty to absorb the water and come off easier.

Once you have scrubbed the panels with a soft brush, rinse of all the dirt from the solar panel.

With your squeegee starting at one edge of the panel, squeegee the water off by starting and the top and sliding the squeegee to the bottom of the panel, move the along the panel and perform this until all the water droplets are removed. This prevents hard water staying on your panels and leaves them perfectly clean.