With technology advancements in the last 10 years, solar panels are now built to be durable and self-cleaning. However, similar to anything that is constantly exposed to harsh Melbourne weather conditions, your solar panels do need to be cleaned to maintain optimal performance and ensure your cost-benefits are on track.
WHY DO I NEED TO CLEAN MY SOLAR PANELS?
As soon as your solar panels have been installed, their efficiency will gradually deteriorate.
The following substances can all effect the performance of your solar system:
- Bird droppings
- Leaves and bird nests
Should you have solar panels on the Mornington Peninsula or Bayside, you may also find salt from the ocean air can also build up leaving a residue.
Any substance like the above which potentially blocks the sunlight may affect the amount of power your solar panels can draw from the sun, potentially reducing your energy savings.
Studies have shown that buildup on your solar panels can reduce efficiency by up to 25%. In order to get the most out of your solar panels, it is best to maintain them and keep them free of dust and debris.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I CLEAN MY SOLAR PANELS?
At Erg Energy we recommend any Melbourne solar system should be cleaned every 12 months. Cleaning your solar panels right before summer is the best time to clean out unwanted debris for optimal solar performance.
Should you live in a rural area or close to heavy construction sites which may be prone to dust, it is recommended to clean your solar panels more often.
If your panels are flat, you may find you need an extra clean each year compared to solar panels installed on an angle. This is because installing solar panels on an angle can take advantage of Mother Nature’s natural solar panel cleaner – rainfall.
CAN I CLEAN MY SOLAR PANELS MYSELF?
Of course, you can clean your solar panels yourself if you can see them or reach them from the ground. It is not recommended to clean them on the roof unless you have appropriate safety training and equipment. ALWAYS ENSURE YOU FOLLOW ANY RELEVANT SHUT-OFF PROCEDURES AND CLEANING PROCEDURES IN YOUR PRODUCT MANUAL BEFORE COMMENCING DIY CLEANING.
DIY CLEANING TIPS
- Completely shut down your system before commencing the clean. Always consult your product manual for instructions.
- Select an appropriate time to clean your solar panels when there is not full sunlight. Early in the morning or late afternoons work well. This will ensure the water doesn’t evaporate or dry quicker than the time it takes you to remove the dirt.
- Do not use a high-pressure cleaner – it is best to mimic rainfall pressure with a hose. The water pressure of a high-pressure cleaner can cause damage to your solar panels.
- If your solar panels are dry, gently wet them down with a garden hose and use a soft sponge or brush with an extended handle to gently clean the surface.
- Try to avoid getting water between the back of your solar panels and your roof by gently hosing the top of the panels only.
- Do not use any abrasive chemicals or equipment as they may damage or crack your solar panels. It is best to use a mild soap or specific cleaning fluids outlined in your product manual.
- Never put weight on your solar panels – the panels are made of high-quality glass that should not require any hard scrubbing. Also avoid leaning or stepping on your solar panels.
- Use purified or rainwater where possible. Should you not have access to pure water (without any minerals) be sure to squeegee the solar panels dry in order to leave a fresh clean surface ready to absorb the sunshine.
WHY SHOULD I ARRANGE A PROFESSIONAL SOLAR EXPERT TO CLEAN MY SOLAR PANELS?
- A professional solar expert has all the safety training and equipment to perform your solar maintenance securely and efficiently. Cleaning solar panels can be a dangerous task so we recommend hiring a professional to prevent any injury to you and/or your home.
- A professional will complete your clean much quicker than DIY cleaning, saving you time to focus on more important things you could be doing around the home.
- Experienced solar maintenance professionals have extensive experience with the right equipment and products to use to ensure the job is done properly. At Erg Energy we are also insured, so in the unlikely event of anything untoward happening during the clean, you know you are covered by the company’s insurance.
- When your solar professional cleans your solar panels, they should include a quick check of your system to ensure it is running smoothly. They will complete a series of tests to make sure it is safe, check for cracks, loose fittings or fire risk. Should they catch an issue early, they could potentially prevent it from becoming a larger, more expensive issue down the track.
- At Erg Energy we can arrange a solar maintenance schedule tailored to your needs. You won’t need to worry about a thing, we will simply contact you when it is time to book in your clean and an expert will arrange a time that suits you to come and assess and clean your panels. Upon completion you will be provided a detailed report which outlines any recommendations for performance improvements.
WHAT IF I DON’T WANT TO CLEAN MY SOLAR PANELS?
If you don’t want to worry about cleaning your solar panels but don’t want to hire a professional to do this for you, a good idea may be to install a slightly larger system to compensate for any loss you may experience over time. Should you opt for this solution, you must install the solar panels on an angle greater than 10% which will allow you to take advantage of mother nature, letting the rainfall to the brunt of the work.
At Erg Energy we understand the huge investment you have made in your solar system, and take pride in providing a range of services to help you make the most of your investment during installation and for years to come. If you would like to discuss scheduled maintenance cleaning with an experienced Bayside solar installer please contact us today.
Like this article? Read our next article outlining the benefits of solar during Covid-19