Answer: To improve your solar panel’s performance and reliability! Let us explain…
Your solar panels will be installed with the correct amount of tilt, which will mean they will generally self-clean by taking advantage of rain running across them to keep clean. However, here in Australia, we can experience particularly long periods of drought, during which dust build-up, bird’s droppings and other air pollution will accumulate on your solar panels over time.
Also, if you have trees close by your solar panels, particularly deciduous ones, these will drop leaves onto your panels as well as attract birds.
Each of the above-mentioned build-ups can affect the electric generation of your solar panels per module. After all, it makes sense that solar panels will work most effectively when their view to the sun is not obstructed by dirt buildup and other debris.
So, to ensure that you are achieving your fullest possible solar power generation percentage, make sure to keep on top of that all-important solar panel cleaning!
As a general rule, considering our harsh Australian climate, you want to aim to clean your solar panels at least every six months.
However, if we are experiencing extreme climate conditions for a prolonged period of time such as fires, dust storms or excessive rainstorms, then you may need to clean your panels more often.
If your home is positioned within close range of a highway or a construction site – both of which will produce excess airborne debris, you will need to practice more frequent solar panel cleaning.
Also, homes within coastal areas such as many of our beautiful suburbs within the Shoalhaven should consider the buildup of marine layer residue, which can leave an obstructive film that too will require more frequent cleaning.
Before jumping up on your roof with your cleaning gear and good intentions, stop and consider your safety first. Basically, nobody should be up on their roof without being attached to a safety harness or wearing a hard hat. Check out some information about working safely at heights here.
TIP: Choose a cool day to get up on your roof and clean, as roofs generally hold a lot of heat which can make your task a whole lot harder!
If you are wanting to give solar panel cleaning a go yourself, you should be able to find the right materials to use at home. For best results and to ensure that you don’t scratch your solar panels in any way, simply use water and a soft, non-abrasive sponge or cloth to clean away dirt and debris.
Like you would with glass windows or when washing your car, dry with a squeegee or chamois to avoid leaving residue behind. If you need to use soap, don’t use anything stronger or harsher than the detergent you would use to wash your dishes with.
Environmentally friendly and chemical-free soaps are best to use, as they won’t harm your plants or animals if they splash off the roof, and they also won’t leave a nasty residue that could mark your panels.
Ultimately, you may decide to leave your solar panel cleaning up to the professionals and just make spot checks yourself every now and then.
As mentioned previously, the average bit of dust will be cleaned away for you by rain, and it won’t be worth getting professional cleaners in.
However, you may want to consider giving them all call if;
You live within a heavily polluted or coastal area
You have deciduous trees nearby your solar panels
You notice a particularly tough buildup on your panels such as bird droppings
You are elderly or simply not confident getting up on your roof
TIP: To prevent you from having to climb up on a ladder to inspect the condition of your solar panels, you could have a CCTV camera installed that points at the panels.
To avoid damaging your panels while cleaning them yourself, make sure you use the proper supplies. Do not use:
Harsh soaps such as strong detergents or soaps that contain chemicals as they can be corrosive to the solar panel unit’s surface
Rough cleaning instruments such as abrasive cloths and sponges, or heavily toothed brooms, as these, can scratch the surface of your panels
It goes without saying, but also never stand on your solar panels, as the weight could cause them to crack.
Additionally, don’t forget to give your solar panels regular inspections to ensure they’re free from damage or cracks, but also from nests which tend to be built by birds and rodents!
Inspecting your panels to make sure they’re soaking up as much sun as possible will help to keep your electricity bills down!
For more information or advice on solar panel cleaning, please contact our friendly sales team today on (02) 4464 1597!