Is It Worth Cleaning Your Solar Panels and, if so, how do you do it?

You have your windows cleaned on your home so that it is easier to look out of them and, of course, to “keep up with the neighbours” as you do not want them to think you have a dirty home. But, what about your solar panels – is it worth cleaning them?

Surely, in any event, they are not going to get too dirty and if they do, when it rains, because of the angle at which they sit on the top of your roof, the rain water will just wash off any muck on them.

How can your solar panels get dirty?

Where you live in the United Kingdom can have a significant effect on how dirty your solar panels will get. So, if you live close to busy roads or a railway line you are going to see a build up of dirt, dust and grime on your solar panelling.

If you live by the sea you may think that your solar panels will be kept spotlessly clean due to high winds and rain –you would be wrong because where there is seawater there is salt and that is blown onto your solar panels resulting in a reduced output performance level.

If you live in the countryside you may be in an area that is renowned for certain species of birds to gather together and rest, perched right on top of your solar panels, and what do they do – go to the toilet.

Will the performance of your solar panels be affected if they are dirty?

Yes, tests have been carried out that reveal, if your solar panels are dirty, their performance will be affected in a negative way. This is because the light transmitting to the solar panels may be blocked and that will result in deterioration in their performance and that will cost you money.

Should you clean your solar panels?

Most definitely – yes. If you don’t the dirt is just going to build up on the panels, it will become harder to clean them the longer you delay the clean and the effectiveness of the panels will continue to deteriorate.

How do you clean your solar panels?

After all, it is not as though you can just get out your set of stepladders and pop outside with a bucket of hot water and sponge and clean them. Even if you had a bungalow it is not easy to get at them.

It is unlikely you are going to get out the ladders that you only use every three years when you need to paint the upstairs windows and climb to the top of them and then clamber precariously onto the roof armed with that bucket of hot water and sponge. In any event, research has revealed that tap water leaves mineral and salt deposits on the surface of the solar panels that worsen the performance of the panels.
One tried and tested solution is to use purified water and a soft bristled brush and then leave the panels to dry. It is possible to buy a residential cleaning kit to perform this job safely and effectively. Alternatively you could employ a contractor to do the work for you using their specialist equipment.

It is important that your solar panels are cleaned on a regular basis so keep an eye on their performance and, if you see a reduction in effectiveness, that is the time to have them cleaned.

Another option is to have a non-stick coating applied to the panels that block the dirt building up. It is easy to apply and safe to the environment. Tests have shown that solar panels treated in this way achieved a 9.8% improvement in performance when compared with solar panels that had not been treated. It is still recommended that these solar panels be cleaned.

In conclusion, it is obvious that it is preferable that your solar panels are cleaned to ensure optimum performance and there are at least two products available capable of maintaining their effectiveness.

Article written by Danielle Biggs from the Solar Panels UK News Team. For further information visit Solar Panels UK Google+ page here.

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I own and operate a renewable energy information resource website and am passionate about all things which help in our protection of this planet.

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