Solar energy is widely regarded as the most environmentally friendly energy source available. It not only provides a renewable and sustainable means of generating electricity but also offers numerous benefits for both individuals and the planet. Australia, in particular, is blessed with ample sunlight hours, making it an ideal location for harnessing the vast potential of solar power.
By installing solar panels at home, homeowners can significantly reduce their electricity costs while adopting a more responsible and sustainable approach to managing their energy consumption.
First and foremost, enjoy reduced power bills with solar-generated electricity. When you install solar panels in your home or commercial estate, you reduce your dependence on the power grid for energy consumption. This results in lower monthly energy bills.
Solar power also has environmental benefit of reducing your carbon footprint. Solar energy is clean and renewable, as no gases are released during its generation. By installing solar panels, you take a positive step towards creating a sustainable future and fighting climate change.
Solar panels also help to increase the market value of your property. The presence of solar panels in a home or commercial building means the potential for long-term energy savings. This is a desirable aspect among property buyers, adding to its market value.
The first requirement to efficiently generate solar electricity is clean solar panels. Your solar panel systems must have direct exposure to sunlight to be able to create electricity. A better exposure will ensure a more significant amount of solar energy is produced. Dirt and dust on the panels can obstruct and limit exposure to sunlight. Hence, homeowners must pay attention to how to clean solar panels.
In this blog, we have shared some tips on cleaning solar panels and maintaining high solar production with minimal effort, ensuring that your installation performs well throughout its lifetime.
Before you start your solar panel cleaning, it is first important to understand how solar panels accumulate dirt over time. The solar installations get exposed to dust and air pollutants as time passes. This accumulation happens quicker if the panels are made of PV material or if the solar panels are in the vicinity of construction sites or industrial complexes.
If solar panels are installed near farms or agricultural lands, then the installations are also prone to collect fertilisers and nitrogen-rich particles, which can gradually damage the solar components.
Additionally, bird droppings are also a common cause of dirt on solar panels. In addition to reducing energy production, they also cause hot spots on the panels.
Solar panel cleaning can improve energy production by 5-10% depending on the level of dirt on the panels.
For small residential systems, solar cleaning will impact your energy bill for only a few tens of dollars, making it reasonable to rely on rainwater to rinse the solar panels on your angled roof naturally.
However, for commercial and utility-scale solar farms, a 5-10% increase in energy production can make a significant difference. In such cases, it’s advisable to establish a regular cleaning schedule or hire professional panel cleaners for cleaning solar panels on the roof, eventually helping with reduced power bills.
It is best advised to clean solar panels when they are dirty enough to impact energy production noticeably.
With advanced monitoring systems equipped with microinverters and power optimisers, you can easily compare the outputs of individual panels to identify soiled panels or when the entire system is underperforming.
It is commonly found that flat-installed solar modules are less likely to be self-cleaned by rainwater, as water tends to settle on the panels and leave behind dirt.
Whether you are an experienced solar panel cleaner or a residential solar system owner, you need the right tools to clean your panels effectively and safely.
In most cases, using a water hose from the ground level can be highly effective. Rinsing your rooftop solar installations from the ground is the safest cleaning method. There is zero risk of falling. When you clean solar panels using a water hose, the water tends to fall on the panels like rain, utilising gravity to remove dirt. In the case of bird droppings, you have to be patient. Multiple passes of the water hose are required, and they are removed once the water has softened the droppings.
If you can safely access the roof for solar cleaning, then use isopropyl alcohol to effectively remove oily smudges without leaving any marks. It is the best solar cleaning solution. Avoid using detergents or soap, as they can leave a residue on the panel glass, accumulating more dirt in the future. Remember to never step or apply pressure on the solar modules, as it can cause microcracks that decrease your energy output.
To remove dirt, use soft brushes designed specifically for cleaning solar panels, along with water for scrubbing. Avoid using unsuitable scrubbing equipment like steel brushes, as they may scratch the solar glass and create shade hindering solar production. If there are caked-on residues, soften them with water first and then use a plastic scourer to remove them.
Finish the cleaning process by using a squeegee to dry the solar panels, preventing water streaks that could shade the panels.
Yes! Dust, dirt, and debris can accumulate on the surface, reducing the efficiency of PV panels. Hence, you should consider timely solar panel cleaning to maintain optimal performance.
To clean solar panels on the roof, use a soft brush or sponge with mild, non-abrasive soap and water. Gently scrub the surface and rinse with clean water. Avoid using abrasive materials or high-pressure washers that could damage the panels.
Generally, it is not necessary to turn off solar panels while cleaning. However, it is advisable to check the manufacturer’s guidelines or seek professional assistance for safety reasons.
The frequency of cleaning solar panels depends on various factors such as local climate, dust levels, and the surrounding environment. Generally, it is recommended to clean them at least once or twice a year or more frequently if needed.
Lichen can be removed from solar panels using a soft brush, or sponge dipped in a mixture of water and mild detergent. Gently scrub the affected areas and rinse with clean water. If it persists, consult a professional for further assistance to avoid damage.