How Often Do I Need To Clean My Solar Panels?

Solar panels are renowned for their durability and low maintenance requirements. However regular cleaning plays a crucial role in both maximising energy production and prolonging their lifespan. 

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One common question among solar system owners is: How often should I clean my solar panels? In this blog, we’ll provide general advice on maintaining optimal performance for your solar array.

Understanding the Impact of Dirt and Debris

Over time, dust, pollen, bird droppings, leaves, and other debris can accumulate on the surface of solar panels, hindering sunlight absorption and reducing energy output. While solar panels are designed to be self-cleaning to some extent, certain environmental factors may necessitate manual cleaning to ensure peak performance.

Factors Influencing Cleaning Frequency

Several factors influence how often you should clean your solar panels:

  • Location: The cleanliness of your solar panels is heavily influenced by your geographical location and local environmental conditions. Areas with high levels of dust, pollen, or pollution may require more frequent cleaning. When it comes to solar systems on the Sunshine Coast, there are some things to remember. We have many dirt roads and if you are by a dirt road, your solar panels will clearly get dirtier faster. This happens more in winter when people often have a higher need for solar energy production.
  • Tilt and Orientation: The tilt angle and orientation of your solar panels affects the accumulation of dirt and debris too. Panels installed at steeper angles or facing away from the road may clean more effectively during rainfall.
  • Rainfall Frequency: Regions with frequent rainfall may experience self-cleaning effects, reducing the need for manual cleaning. However, light rain or occasional showers will not effectively remove stubborn debris. Think of your car for example. Rain alone does not get it anywhere near as clean as a carwash or handwash will.

Recommended Cleaning Schedule

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how often you should clean your solar panels, a general guideline is to inspect and clean them at least once or twice a year. However, certain situations may warrant more frequent cleaning:

  • Seasonal Changes: Consider cleaning your solar panels at the beginning of each season, especially after periods of heavy rainfall or during pollen season when debris accumulation is more likely. This can be broken down on the Sunshine Coast more into two seasons. Before and after the rainy season.
  • Visible Debris Buildup: If you notice a visible layer of dirt, dust, or bird droppings on your solar panels, it’s advisable to clean them promptly to prevent energy loss. It is also common to find moss or lichen growing on panels that have not been cleaned in a while.
  • Performance Monitoring: Regularly monitor your solar system’s performance through monitoring software or inverter data. A significant decrease in energy production may indicate the need for cleaning.

Best Practices for Cleaning Solar Panels

When cleaning your solar panels, follow these best practices to ensure safe and effective maintenance:

  • Safety First: Prioritise safety by turning off the solar system and avoiding contact with electrical components while cleaning.
  • Use Soft Tools: Use a soft brush, sponge, or cloth along with a mild detergent or soap solution to gently remove dirt and grime. Avoid abrasive materials that could scratch the glass surface.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: After cleaning, rinse the panels with water to remove any residue and ensure optimal sunlight penetration.
  • Consider Professional Cleaning: For large or hard-to-reach solar arrays, consider hiring professional cleaners equipped with the necessary tools and expertise. If you are on tank water, you should have a plan, such as a first flush system, to avoid getting the dirty water and any detergents into your tank. 

Maximizing Solar Performance through Regular Maintenance

Regular cleaning is essential for maintaining peak performance and prolonging the lifespan of your solar panels. While a biannual cleaning schedule is generally sufficient for most installations, different circumstances may necessitate more frequent cleaning.

At Symons Energy, we know proactive solar panel maintenance helps to ensure optimal energy production and customer satisfaction from solar installations. Contact us today if you want to install new panels on your home or commercial property.

Author : Juan

Published Date : April, 23 2024