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.
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.
Here is a list of commonly asked questions regarding cleaning solar panels.
Q What’s the potential cost of ignoring solar panel cleaning?
Realistically, solar panels can lose around 15-25% of their productivity if they’re not cleaned correctly. This means that they’ll produce 15-25% less electricity, which will increase the payback time.
Q Do I need to turn off my panels for cleaning?
No, this isn’t required since it is only the glass surface that is being cleaned and that is fairly hardwearing.
Q How frequently should I clean my solar panels?
In most areas, there`s more grime in the of months winter, which is why spring is a beneficial time to do a yearly clean. Solar panels that are washed once or twice a year yield 3.5% to 5.1% more electricity in turn than those that aren’t cleaned regularly. However, some places require additional care: In a location where rainfall is low for several months, the build-up of grime is far greater.
Solar panels that are fitted near causes of pollution such as factories, roads and airports require cleaning more regularly. Other examples of thinking about include autumn and winter, where leaves and snow need to be removed for best performance.
Q Can a window cleaner clean my solar panels?
A lot of window cleaners have now combined solar panel cleaning to their list of services because many already have some of the gear required to clean solar panel. But there’s an electrocution hazard related with solar panel cleaning that’s not there with standard window cleaning. Yes, some window cleaners will be able to clean solar panels, but might not know how to do it securely.
If you do use your window cleaner for your solar panels, please confirm they’re knowledgeable in solar panel cleaning health and safety, and that they’re insured too. The bigger the solar setup, the bigger the danger of electrocution. The hazards linked with solar panel cleaning is another cause that many people pick to use a professional solar panel cleaning business. This is particularly true if you own a big solar arrangement since they carry greater risk.
The majority of window-cleaning companies have a ‘reach-and-wash’ system and will be able to clean your solar panels, but you’re less likely to examine the panels for overall wear and tear in this circumstance.