Keeping your solar panels clean and your solar power system maintained is worth doing to ensure it works as efficiently as possible. Like getting your car serviced or cleaning your gutters, it’s important to stick to a regular maintenance schedule to keep your solar panels in top working order.
Some people will be wondering if they can clean their solar panels themselves or whether it’s worth paying a professional solar cleaner.
Others may be wondering whether the rain is enough to wash away any dirt on the panels.
In this blog we’ll cover:
- Dust, grime, leaves and bird droppings. What’s the biggest culprit?
- Pros and cons of DIY solar panels cleaning versus bringing in the professionals
- Tips if you do decide to do it yourself
- Best practice solar panel cleaning advice from Clean Energy Regulator
- How often should you get your panels cleaned and your system checked?
- Solar Analytics Tool: A smart way to check your solar system is working properly
- Can Solar Run help?
Dust, grime, leaves and bird droppings. What’s the biggest culprit?
Top marks if you guess bird poo! Leaves would be number two. The reason being that they both completely block sunlight from reaching the part of the panel they cover.
If you have a solar system with optimizers – like SolarEdge – this won’t be much of an issue as only the affected panel will drop in power output.
But if you have a string inverter system (which is what most people have), the entire row of solar panels will drop in power output – sometimes even down to zero.
When it comes to dust and grime, if your panels are angled correctly, the rain will help keep them clean. However, research by the World Renewable Energy Congress in Sweden showed that dust buildup does have a significant effect on solar energy production – causing a drop in power output by up to 15 percent.
Naturally, this all depends on where you live. If your home is off a dusty track or inner city, dust and grime caused by pollution will be a lot worse than if you live off a tarmac road in a small town.
Pros and cons of DIY solar panels cleaning versus bringing in the professionals
The obvious advantage of cleaning solar panels yourself is that it’s cheaper. The biggest potential downside is the risk of hurting yourself if you go up on the roof.
But there is another downside of not using the professionals. As part of having a trained professional cleaning your solar panels, they can check other aspects of your solar panels and do a general system check. This includes looking for:
- Potential fire safety issues, hot spots and cracks
- Any peeling off of the laminate on your panels
- Damage from vermin including to the wiring
- Bird nests under the panels
- Water and moisture seepage
- Recorded faults on the inverter display panel
Tips if you decide to clean solar panels yourself
If possible, panels should be cleaned with purified water as tap water can leave a residue on your panels that can result in more dirt build-up. You should use a soft sponge and that should be enough. Don’t use any chemicals.
For safety reasons, it’s best to clean your panels from the ground with a hose. Don’t use a pressure washer to clean your solar panels as this may cause damage.
If you decide to go up on the roof, be careful and take the necessary precautions such as a rope attached to a safety harness.
Solar panel cleaning advice from Clean Energy Regulator
According to the Clean Energy Regulator, “It is important that regular maintenance is carried out on your solar panel system. Undertaking regular maintenance will ensure your solar panel system is operating safely, correctly and efficiently.”
The Regulator also strongly advises that, for safety reasons, solar panel systems should only be inspected and maintained by a licenced electrician or Clean Energy Council accredited solar panel system installer.
How often should you get your panels cleaned and your system checked?
This all depends on whether you live in an area that’s prone to dust and grime – and of course bird droppings. If, for example, your home is surrounded by trees there’s a greater chance of our feathered friends making a mess on your panels. If those trees are deciduous, then you’ll need to get your panels cleaned more frequently to clear away leaf matter.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend getting your panels cleaned once a year and having your system thoroughly checked by a professional every two years.
Solar Analytics Tool: A smart way to check your system is working properly
Smart software can help identify any loss in power performance of your solar power system. Solar Analytics is one of the best tools for doing this – and it’s compatible with all solar power systems.
What makes Solar Analytics a stand-out choice for solar monitoring is that it doesn’t just check the power output of your system. It goes a step further and, using its patented algorithms, calculates exactly how much energy you should be producing every day of the year. It compares this with the actual generation and sends alerts to your Solar Retailer if there’s a discrepancy.
That’s why at Solar Run we have partnered with Solar Analytics to offer their solution to all our customers. We can retrofit Solar Analytics to existing solar power systems, as well as set it up on new solar systems.
Can Solar Run help with solar panel cleaning and maintenance?
Yes, we can!
No matter where you live in Australia, we can help you with solar panels cleaning and solar system maintenance. Plus, we can get smart software installed with your system – like Solar Analytics and SolarEdge – so that any drop-off in power output is immediately identified and fixed.
Chat to us today on 1300076527 about getting your solar panels cleaned and maintained.