Cost Of Cleaning Solar Panels

A guide of how to clean your solar panels, including the cost of hiring a professional and the materials you need to do it yourself.

Duration:
2-4 Hours
Avg price:
£150-£250

Introduction

This article will look at the work needed to clean solar panels and maintain them to get the best possible life and efficiency out of them. It will look at the types of products needed to clean them, and the frequency of the cleaning process too.

Solar panels are generally self-cleaning to the greater extent if positioned at an angle of over 15 degrees, as most dirt and rainfall will simply slide off the low-friction surface. However, it’s recommended to check them yearly and rinse if needed.



Costs involved with cleaning solar panels

This will depend largely on the amount of work and materials needed to gain access to the panels themselves. If you have you window cleaner complete the task, the cost could be very low, and in the order of £30-£50. A specialist company may charge you £200 for a professional clean. If, however, you want to do it yourself and have to get scaffolding erected, the cost, based on the cost of the labour, could be as much a £350-£400.


What cleaning solar panels entails

The fitting of garden lighting will involve the safe siting of appropriate lights, and the placing of fully connected cabling to feed them. The amount of cable and additional parts required and the type and number of lights needed will depend upon the area of garden that you would like to cover.


Other jobs to tackle

While you are cleaning your solar panel array, it is an ideal time to inspect the general condition of the panels and the important electrical connections to them. Generally, this can only be done as a visual inspection, but such is the nature of electrical contacts that provided they haven’t been interfered with, if they look visually okay, then they are likely to continue to give a good electrical performance.

While you are on the roof to clean your solar panels, it is an ideal time to also inspect the general condition of your roof and look for any obvious problems such as loose and missing tiles, and potential water leaks.


General advice when cleaning solar panels

One of the biggest issues regarding cleaning solar panels is being able to access them, and this will usually require at least a ladder, and possibly even a full set of scaffolding at two stories height. If you have to use scaffolding, it may add increase the cost to the cleaning bill, and increase the time from a few hours to several days.

It is important to use a soft broom (NEVER A HARD BROOM) on them first to remove any debris such as moss, twigs and hard bird poo that has accumulated. Once all of the loose material has been removed, it is possible to actually start cleaning the glass top surface with clean water only.

In terms of cleaning, generally, solar panel manufacturers don’t advise the use of chemicals or soaps to clean solar panels. They recommend that pure water should be used with a soft bristle brush to get rid of any debris and marks left by birds and polluted rainfall. Pure water shouldn’t be confused for tap water. Tap water comprises of minerals which, if used to clean solar panels, can create a white coating from the lime within tap water. This can be very problematic to remove and will prevent the power output from your solar panels. In comparison, any pure water used after washing dries clear without leaving any stains.


Cleaning Light Dirt Off Solar Panels

If there’s no persistent grime on the solar panels and climbing up onto the roof is dangerous, you can use a garden hose to wash them clean. This is a straightforward way of maintaining your solar panels. Any dust on the panels will typically come off on its own. If the water in your location is very hard, wash your solar panels with rainwater and a soft bristle brush.

Cleaning Persistent Dirt Off Solar Panels

Firstly, try to eradicate the dirt without any water. If this doesn’t work, and the solar panels are easily reachable, use lukewarm water and a gentle sponge. Don’t use all-purpose cleaning liquid or green soap as these may harm the solar panel’s coating. You may be able to obtain a professional cleaning detergent, especially for solar panels, but don’t use standard cleaning products.

Don’t use scrubbing agents because they’ll affect the coating on the glass. It’s also risky to clean the solar panels with a scouring scrubber as this will leave scratches on the glass, which will have a harmful effect on their function. Under no circumstances use a jet wash or pressure washer because water will be pushed in between the cells in the glass.



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Sam J

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