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Is Solar Panel Cleaning Worth It?

Is Solar Panel Cleaning Worth It?

Aiming your solar system at a 25-year lifespan, dirt and dust can find its way onto your panels, even more on a horizontal PV array.

Whether you have a flat system or a pitched solar system, it is important to ask, “should I clean my solar panels?”

Flat System

When solar panels are installed horizontally, also known as with a 0° tilt, an annual clean is adequate. 

One of the main concerns with a flat solar system is ponding. Water builds up on top of the array like a puddle, and when it eventually evaporates, dirt and dust is left dry along the edge of the panels.

Built up dirt and dust stop the panel from producing as expected, instead production drops. If the panels are not cleaned for years, production can even near zero. 

Simply clean the flat system once every year or following any dust storms.

Drain clips can also be installed to assist draining water.

Pitched System

Rainfall is enough to clean pitched solar panels. With rainfall cleaning solar panels, dirt has very little effect on production.

The dirt and dust which builds up will be washed off. This means that standing on the roof with a hose and a broom is not necessary to maintain solar panels.

Cleaning solar panels only improves their output by around 1%, according to a study completed in Tucson, Arizona.

In short, cleaning panels is not worth it on a pitched solar system.

FAQs

Q: Can I clean solar panels myself or should I hire a professional?

A: Cleaning solar panels can be done by homeowners, as long as they take necessary precautions and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. However, if you are uncomfortable working at heights or have a large solar panel installation, it might be best to hire a professional to ensure safety and thorough cleaning.

Q: Are there any safety precautions to consider while cleaning solar panels?

A: Yes, safety is paramount when cleaning solar panels. Make sure to turn off the solar system before starting the cleaning process to avoid electrical shock. Use a stable ladder or scaffolding if needed, and always wear appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and non-slip shoes. If unsure about safety procedures, it is best to consult a professional.

Q: Are there any maintenance tips to keep solar panels clean for longer?

A: Yes, a few maintenance tips can help keep solar panels clean for longer. Trimming nearby trees or vegetation can minimise the amount of debris falling onto the panels. Installing bird deterrents or mesh screens can prevent bird droppings and nesting materials from accumulating. Regularly inspecting the panels for any signs of damage or loose connections is also important.

Q: Will cleaning solar panels void their warranty?

A: Generally, cleaning solar panels according to the manufacturer’s guidelines will not void the warranty. However, it is always a good idea to check the warranty terms and conditions to ensure compliance.

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