The importance of cleaning your solar panels

solar panel cleaning

For some people, there is a school of thought that installing solar panels is a set and forget process. Simply have them placed on your roof, enjoy cheaper electricity bills and let the rain sort out the removal of dust or dirt. Right?

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Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case. It’s important to regularly clean your array to ensure they are functioning correctly. There can be some weird and wonderful environmental elements that can cause them to become less than efficient, creating an inefficient system that hinders your investment.

…Like bird poo.

Yes, bird poo is one of the leading causes of solar panels to reduce inefficiency. The bottom line is that panels are often attractive to our little friends in the sky, mostly because they are shiny and offer shade beneath them. You’ll find birds nesting and pooping around your system over time, and their offspring then grow up to do the same. It’s not an ideal situation.

A solar array covered in faecal matter is simply not efficient, and cleaning it is also a mega pain. Because of this, we recommend that you clean bird droppings off your panels as much as you can. You can also prevent them from plaguing your system by sealing off access to the recess underneath the panels with chicken wire. Spikes and other deterrents aren’t bad ideas either.

Do solar panels need cleaning?

Cleaning solar panels

Solar panels allow light into the cells inside, where it is trapped and converted to electricity. So if your panels are covered in dirt or bird droppings, the light can’t get in and your system has nothing to convert.

Solar panels are angled flatly and directed towards the sky to provide more surface area. This means they can capture more light, but unfortunately, they are more likely to collect droppings, dirt and dust as well. Due to this angle, rain is unlikely to wash all the matter off.  It just sits there.

Despite the angle, rainwater is not terribly effective anyway. Think of your car windscreen; what would happen if you didn’t clean it for six months? Rainwater contains dust particles so it might actually be making more of a mess on your solar panels instead of cleaning them.

How do dirt and debris affect solar panel performance?

When dirt, dust, and other debris accumulate on solar panels, they block sunlight from reaching the photovoltaic cells. This reduces the amount of sunlight that can be converted into electricity, decreasing energy production. Additionally, dirt and debris can trap heat on solar panels, leading to overheating and damage.

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How to effectively clean solar panels

Old-fashioned methods are often the best, which is also the case with your system. A simple bucket of soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge (to ensure you are not scratching your solar panels) is all you need.

There are dedicated cleaners on the market but there is honestly no need to pay triple the price (or more) for a “specialist” product when ordinary soapy water – combined with a bit of elbow grease – will do the job perfectly.

There are some safety measures to consider before you climb up onto your roof, though. First, ensure that your solar system is completely shut down and disconnected from power, as per the instructions in the user manual. Another thing to consider is that panels get very hot and can cause burns, so choose a cooler time of the day to wash them off.

If you are worried about the risk, professionals are always available to clean your solar panels, which we also highly recommend.

Benefits of regular solar panel cleaning

Regular solar panel cleaning offers several benefits, including:

  • Increased energy production: Clean solar panels can absorb more sunlight, increasing energy production. This can lead to significant savings on your electricity bills.
  • Prolonged lifespan: Solar panels are designed to last many years, but regular cleaning can help extend their lifespan. You can reduce the risk of corrosion and other damage by removing dirt and debris.
  • Improved system reliability: Regular cleaning can help identify and address potential problems with your solar panel system. This can help to improve the system’s reliability and prevent unexpected downtime.

Still can’t afford to switch to solar power?

Are you considering getting solar panels but are currently short on funds? You can still invest wisely, and Energy Matters can help you. 

Powow and Energy Matters have teamed up to provide consumers with an alternative to switching to solar power and battery storage. 

The biggest obstacle to installing solar and battery storage is typically finance. With Powow’s PPA and VPP, our customers will have a $0 upfront option and financial stability in the uncertain energy market.

Get up to 3 obligation-free quotes by getting in touch with us right away. Find out what payment plan options suit your needs and budget!

Get a quick solar quote, or contact us today toll free on 1800 EMATTERS or email our friendly team for expert, obligation-free advice!

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