Solar Panel Cleaning

Joe Brennan
Sep 7, 2023

Are you noticing a decrease in your solar panels' power output? We've been there too, and after digging into the issue, we discovered that regular cleaning is key to maintaining optimal performance.

In fact, studies show a lack of cleaning can cause a 5% energy loss after just three months. This blog will outline how proper solar panel maintenance can not only increase their efficiency but also prolong their lifespan.

Let's get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Regular cleaning of solar panels is important to maintain their efficiency and prolong their lifespan. Without regular cleaning, solar panels can lose 5% of their energy output in just three months.
  • Clean solar panels improve energy efficiency by maximising sunlight absorption and increasing power output. Studies have shown that dirty panels can experience a 5% energy loss after three months, with an additional 5% loss each subsequent month without cleaning.
  • Maintenance frequency for solar panel cleaning may vary depending on factors such as location, weather conditions, and panel tilt angle. General guidelines recommend cleaning solar panels at least twice a year for optimal performance.
  • Hiring professional solar panel cleaning services offers benefits such as more efficient energy production, enhanced panel lifespan, warranty protection, safety assurance, time-saving convenience, expert knowledge and experience, and quality results.

Why Solar Panel Cleaning is Important?

Solar panel cleaning is vital because it improves energy efficiency, increases power output, maintains the panel's lifespan, and prevents damage and warranty issues.

Improve energy efficiency

Clean solar panels do a better job. They will catch the sun's light and make more power for your house. If there is dirt on them, they can only get some of the light, not all of it.

This makes them less good at making power. A study found that dirty panels can lose 5% of their power in three months if left uncleaned. We don't want this to happen! Let's keep our panels clean and working well so that we save money on our bills and help the planet too.

Even just some soap and water from a kit can help us do this task well by ourselves at home twice a year, as advised by the makers. Or if you wish, you could hire an expert cleaner to be safe and sure!

Increase power output

Regularly cleaning your solar panels can significantly increase their power output. Studies show that dirty panels can experience a 5% energy loss after just three months, and this loss increases by an additional 5% each subsequent month without cleaning.

By keeping your solar panels clean, you can ensure optimal performance and maximise the amount of electricity they generate. Manufacturers recommend cleaning your solar panels at least twice a year to maintain their efficiency and power output.

Professional cleaning services are available for those who prefer not to clean them themselves, ensuring that your panels are properly maintained and operating at their best capacity.

Maintain panel lifespan

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your solar panels are essential to ensure their longevity. By keeping your panels clean, you can prevent dirt, dust, and debris from building up and causing damage over time.

Studies have shown that regularly cleaned solar panels can last longer than those that are not maintained properly. In fact, manufacturers recommend cleaning solar panels at least twice a year to keep them in optimal condition.

By following these recommendations and investing in professional cleaning services if necessary, you can help maintain the lifespan of your solar panels and maximise their energy efficiency for years to come.

Prevent damage and warranty issues

Regular solar panel cleaning helps prevent damage and ensure that your panels are covered by warranty. Dirt, dust, and debris can accumulate on the surface of solar panels, reducing their efficiency and blocking sunlight.

Over time, this buildup can lead to permanent damage and affect the performance of your system. By cleaning your panels regularly, you can remove any potential obstructions and maintain optimal power output.

Additionally, keeping your solar panels clean is often a requirement to maintain warranty coverage, so it's important to follow recommended cleaning guidelines provided by manufacturers or consult with professional cleaning services.

Recommended Cleaning Methods for Solar Panels

To ensure effective solar panel cleaning, it is recommended to use filtered water, avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive materials, and use a soft brush or sponge. Don't forget to dry the panels with a squeegee.

Read on for more tips on proper cleaning techniques!

Use filtered water

When cleaning your solar panels, it is important to use filtered water. This helps prevent any impurities or minerals in the water from leaving residue on the panels. Unfiltered tap water may contain chemicals or particles that can affect the efficiency of your panels over time.

By using filtered water, you ensure a clean and pure solution for cleaning your solar panels, allowing them to function optimally and produce more energy efficiently.

Filtered water also helps to avoid streaks or marks on the surface of the panels after cleaning. This is because impurities in regular tap water can leave behind residue that affects the appearance of your panels.

Clean and clear panels not only look better but also perform better by maximising sunlight absorption.

Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive materials

When cleaning your solar panels, it's important to avoid using harsh chemicals and abrasive materials. These can damage the surface of the panels and affect their performance. Instead, opt for filtered water and a soft brush or sponge to gently remove any dirt or debris.

You can also use a squeegee to dry the panels after cleaning. Remember, using safe and non-toxic cleaning solutions is not only better for the environment but also helps maintain the efficiency of your solar panels in the long run.

Use a soft brush or sponge

When cleaning your solar panels, it is important to use gentle tools like a soft brush or sponge. These materials will help remove dirt and grime without causing any scratches or damage to the surface of the panels.

A soft brush with bristles can effectively loosen debris, while a sponge can be used for wiping away stubborn stains. By using these gentle cleaning tools, you can ensure that your solar panels stay in good condition and continue generating maximum energy efficiency.

Dry panels with a squeegee

To dry your solar panels after cleaning, use a squeegee. Gently glide the squeegee across the surface of the panels to remove any excess water or moisture. This will help ensure that your panels are free from streaks and dirt particles, allowing them to operate at maximum efficiency.

Make sure to use a soft rubber blade on the squeegee to avoid scratching or damaging the panel's surface. By using a squeegee, you can quickly and effectively dry your solar panels for optimal performance.

How Often Should You Clean Solar Panels?

Cleaning frequency for solar panels depends on various factors such as location, weather conditions, and panel tilt angle.

General cleaning frequency

We understand that you may be wondering how often you should clean your solar panels. Well, studies show that cleaning them twice a year is recommended for optimal performance. Regular cleaning helps maintain their efficiency and prolongs their lifespan.

Without regular cleaning, solar panels can lose 5% of their energy output after just three months, and this loss increases by 5% every subsequent month without cleaning. So it's crucial to set aside time at least twice a year to ensure your solar panels are clean and operating at peak efficiency.

Factors affecting cleaning frequency (location, weather, etc.)

Cleaning frequency for solar panels may vary depending on several factors. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Climate: If you live in an area with high levels of dust, dirt, or pollution, your solar panels may require more frequent cleaning. Similarly, if you experience heavy rain or snowfall, debris buildup can affect their performance.
  2. Geographical location: Solar panel cleaning needs can differ based on where you live. Areas near busy roads or construction sites may have higher levels of pollution and dust that can accumulate on the panels.
  3. Surrounding environment: Trees, nearby buildings, and foliage can cause shadows on the panels, reducing their efficiency. Regular cleaning may be necessary to remove any obstructions and ensure maximum sunlight exposure.
  4. Panel tilt and orientation: The angle and direction at which your solar panels are installed can impact their susceptibility to dirt build-up. Panels facing south with a tilt angle between 15-40 degrees tend to accumulate less dirt compared to other configurations.
  5. Maintenance history: If you have not cleaned your solar panels in a long time, they may require more frequent cleaning initially to remove built-up grime and optimise their performance.

Professional Solar Panel Cleaning Services

There are numerous benefits to hiring professional solar panel cleaning services. They have the expertise and proper equipment to ensure a thorough and efficient cleaning process. Additionally, choosing a reputable company will give you peace of mind, knowing that your panels are being properly cared for.

Benefits of professional cleaning

Professional cleaning of solar panels offers several benefits:

  1. More efficient energy production: Regular professional cleaning ensures that the panels are free from dust, dirt, and debris, allowing them to absorb maximum sunlight and produce more energy.
  2. Enhanced panel lifespan: Professional cleaners use safe and appropriate methods to clean the panels without causing any damage. This helps extend the overall lifespan of the solar panels, maximising their return on investment.
  3. Warranty protection: Professional cleaning helps maintain the warranty of your solar panels. Many manufacturers require regular maintenance and cleaning to keep the warranty valid, so hiring professionals ensures compliance with these requirements.
  4. Safety assurance: Cleaning solar panels can be risky as it involves working at heights and handling electrical components. Professional cleaners have the necessary training and equipment to ensure safety during the cleaning process, reducing any potential hazards.
  5. Time-saving: Cleaning a large number of solar panels can be time-consuming for homeowners. By hiring professionals, you can save time and focus on other important tasks while experts take care of keeping your solar panels clean.
  6. Expert knowledge and experience: Professional cleaners have extensive knowledge about different types of solar panel systems and their specific cleaning requirements. They know how to handle delicate components without causing damage or voiding warranties.
  7. Quality results: Professionals use specialised tools, equipment, and eco-friendly cleaning solutions that are specifically designed for cleaning solar panels. This ensures a thorough and effective cleaning process with optimal results.

Choosing a reputable cleaning company

When it comes to choosing a reputable cleaning company for your solar panels, there are a few key things to consider. First and foremost, make sure the company has experience cleaning solar panels specifically.

Look for companies that have been in business for a while and have positive customer reviews. It's also important to check if the company uses eco-friendly cleaning methods and products, as this is better for both the environment and your panels.

Finally, compare prices and get quotes from different companies to ensure you're getting the best value for your money. Remember, regular maintenance and cleaning of your solar panels are crucial for optimal performance, so choosing a reliable professional is worth it in the long run.

Cost considerations

Now, let's talk about the cost considerations when it comes to cleaning your solar panels. While it may seem like an additional expense, regular cleaning actually saves you money in the long run.

By keeping your panels clean and efficient, you can maximise their power output and save on energy bills.

When considering the costs, it's important to think about the potential energy loss if you don't clean your panels regularly. As mentioned earlier, studies have shown that dirty panels can result in a 5% loss of energy after just three months, with an additional 5% loss every subsequent month.

This means that over time, you could be losing a significant amount of energy and money.

Investing in professional solar panel cleaning services is a smart choice for many homeowners. Not only do professionals have the knowledge and expertise to clean your panels effectively, but they also have access to high-quality equipment and eco-friendly cleaning solutions.

While there is a cost associated with hiring professionals, it ensures that your panels are cleaned safely and efficiently.

DIY vs. professional cleaning

We understand that homeowners often ponder whether they should clean their solar panels themselves or hire a professional cleaning service.

While DIY cleaning can save you some money upfront, professional cleaning services offer a safer, more effective solution. These services not only enhance the efficiency and longevity of your solar panels but also save you time and energy.

Boost Your Energy Output: Schedule Your Professional Solar Panel Cleaning Today!

In conclusion, regular solar panel cleaning is essential for maintaining energy efficiency and maximising power output. By cleaning your panels, you can prevent damage and warranty issues while extending their lifespan.

Remember, not cleaning them regularly can result in up to a 5% energy loss every month. So, to ensure safe and effective cleaning, it's recommended to hire professional solar panel cleaning services.

Going Solar has the expertise and equipment to clean your panels thoroughly without causing any damage. So, prioritise the cleanliness of your solar panels to get the most out of your investment in renewable energy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my solar panels?

It is recommended to clean your solar panels at least once or twice a year, depending on the local weather conditions and environmental factors.

Can I clean my solar panels myself?

Yes, you can clean your solar panels yourself using water and a soft brush or sponge. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that could damage the panels.

What are the benefits of cleaning my solar panels?

Cleaning your solar panels helps maintain their efficiency by allowing maximum sunlight absorption. This results in higher electricity production and better overall performance.

Do dirty solar panels affect energy production?

Yes, dirty solar panels can reduce energy production as dust, debris, and bird droppings block sunlight from reaching the photovoltaic cells. Regular cleaning ensures optimal performance and maximises energy generation potential.

Does rain clean solar panels effectively?

While rain can wash away loose dust and debris, it's not sufficient for thorough cleaning. Stuck-on dirt, bird droppings, and other contaminants might remain. Manual or professional cleaning is more effective.

Can cleaning increase the lifespan of my solar panels?

Yes, regular cleaning can enhance the lifespan of your solar panels. Dust and debris accumulation can cause hotspots, potentially damaging the panels and decreasing their operational life.

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*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.
Author Fahad Zahid
Founder @ Going Solar

Joe Brennan, the founder of Going Solar, is dedicated to making solar power mainstream in Ireland and meet SEAI objectives. With a focus on affordability and sustainability, he is bringing renewable energy solutions to homes, reducing costs & environmental impact.