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  • Writer's pictureRyan Williams

Optimizing Solar Panel Performance: The Importance of Regular Solar Panel Cleaning

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Person cleaning solar panels with a soft brush

Importance of Cleaning Your Solar Panels: Maximize Performance and Aesthetics

Are you aware of the significance of cleaning your solar panels? Dirty solar panels not only create an unsightly appearance but also impact the performance of your solar PV system. Accumulation of bird droppings, dust, pollution, and tree sap on the panels obstructs sunlight from reaching the solar cells. This leads to inefficiencies similar to shading. Even if just one solar cell is covered in dirt, it affects the entire system's performance and hampers green energy generation, ultimately affecting your return on investment. Keeping your solar panels clean ensures maximum solar generation and efficiency.

Apart from enhancing efficiency, clean solar panels also contribute to an appealing visual appearance. No one wants their roof adorned with dirty, dusty panels covered in bird droppings. At Sola Renewable Company, we believe that a clean solar panel is a happy solar panel. Thankfully, the UK's frequent rain showers make occasional cleaning sufficient.

Determining When Your Solar Panels Need Cleaning

Recognizing when your solar panels require cleaning can be done in two ways. Firstly, visually inspect the surface for a build up of dirt, bird droppings, or dust. Secondly, monitor your system's performance. If you notice a decline in generation, it may indicate the need for cleaning. After a thorough cleaning, you should observe an improvement in efficiency.

Proper Solar Panel Cleaning Techniques

Cleaning solar panels, especially roof-mounted ones, is typically a job best left to professionals due to safety concerns and warranty considerations. Professionals possess the necessary expertise, knowledge of the technology, and training to work at heights with proper access equipment.

However, if your solar panels are ground-mounted and easily accessible, you can follow these tips for cleaning:

  1. Avoid Abrasive Materials: Using abrasive materials can scratch the surface of your solar panels, causing damage to both generation and warranty. Opt for a water-fed pole with a soft brush and a squeegee to clean your panels effectively. Start by gently watering the panels using a hose on low pressure, then scrub off dirt with the soft brush, and finally squeegee the surface dry.

  2. Steer Clear of High-Pressure Water: While high-pressure water may seem like a quick fix, it can damage the silicon seams of your panels and introduce water into unintended areas.

  3. Prioritize Safety: Always shut down your solar PV system before cleaning the panels. Refer to the schematics provided during installation for instructions. Remember that the roof cabling may still carry live and dangerous voltages. If you encounter damaged or exposed cabling, cease cleaning and promptly inform a solar panel professional.

  4. Choose the Right Time: Avoid cleaning your solar panels on hot days as the water will evaporate quickly, leaving smudges. The best times for cleaning are early morning, overcast days, or late evening.

The Role of Self-Cleaning Solar Panels

Although most solar panels in the UK are equipped with self-cleaning capabilities through hydrophobic coatings, this feature does not entirely solve the problem. The hydrophobic coating prevents water droplets from adhering to the surface, which helps wash away dust and dirt particles. However, in highly polluted areas, dusty regions, or places with frequent bird activity, the hydrophobic coating combined with rain may not be sufficient.

Ensure optimal performance and aesthetics of your solar panels by keeping them clean. Contact Sola Renewable Company to learn more about our professional solar panel cleaning services and maximize the benefits of your solar energy system.

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