Tarven Final Logo RGB
020 8087 0216

Contact us today

How To Clean Solar Panels

In this article, Jake Syrocki, Director at Tarven Solar Energy, shares his expert tips and techniques on how to effectively clean solar panels, ensuring optimal performance and longevity for your solar investment. 

As a professional solar panel installer, I understand the importance of maximising the efficiency and lifespan of solar energy systems. One often-overlooked aspect of solar panel care is their cleanliness. Over time, dust, dirt, bird droppings, and other debris can accumulate on the surface of solar panels, hindering their ability to capture sunlight and convert it into electricity efficiently. 

Clean solar panels absorb more sunlight, leading to increased energy production. Even a thin layer of dust or dirt can significantly reduce the efficiency of solar panels by blocking sunlight from reaching the photovoltaic cells. By keeping panels clean, you ensure they operate at peak performance, maximising the return on your investment in solar energy.  

Other reasons that regular cleaning of solar panels is important include: 

Prolonging lifespan

Regular cleaning helps prevent the buildup of debris, which can lead to corrosion or damage to the panels over time. By maintaining a clean surface, you can extend the lifespan of your solar panels and minimise the need for costly repairs or replacements. 

Ensuring safety

Accumulated debris on solar panels can create hotspots, leading to overheating and potential fire hazards. Regular cleaning reduces the risk of such hazards and ensures the safe operation of your solar energy system.

Meeting warranty requirements

Many solar panel manufacturers require regular maintenance, including cleaning, to uphold the warranty coverage. Failure to adhere to these requirements may void warranty protection, leaving you liable for any repairs or replacements. 

At Tarven Solar Energy, we follow a systematic approach to clean solar panels efficiently and effectively. Here are the steps we follow:

1) Safety Precautions

Before starting any cleaning procedure, we always prioritise safety. This includes wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and safety glasses, ensuring stable footing on the roof or elevated platform, and using secure ladder placement if necessary. 

Our top safety tip: Turn off the system before cleaning commences.

2) Assessment

We visually inspect the solar panel array to identify any visible debris, dust, or bird droppings that may be obstructing sunlight absorption. We also check for any signs of damage or defects on the panels or mounting system.

3) Dust Removal

Using a soft-bristled brush or a non-abrasive cloth we gently remove loose dust and debris from the surface of the solar panels. This step helps prepare the panels for a more thorough cleaning and minimises the risk of scratching the glass surface. 

Our top tip: Attach a soft brush attachment to a leaf blower and gently sweep away loose debris from the surface of the solar panels. This method can be particularly effective for removing light layers of dust and leaves without the need for direct contact or water.

4) Cleaning Solution Preparation

If water alone is insufficient for cleaning stubborn dirt or residue, we prepare a mild cleaning solution. This could be a mixture of water and a gentle, non-abrasive soap or a specialised solar panel cleaning solution diluted according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid using abrasive chemicals or rough materials that can scratch. 

Our top tip: Use a specialised solar panel cleaning solution such as Fernox Solar Cleaner. 

5) Application Of Cleaning Solution

Using a soft sponge or microfibre cloth, we apply the cleaning solution to the surface of the solar panels. we work methodically, starting from the top and moving downward, ensuring complete coverage while avoiding excess runoff.

6) Gentle Scrubbing

For more stubborn stains or residue, we gently scrub the affected areas with a soft-bristled brush or sponge. It’s crucial to use gentle pressure to avoid damaging the delicate surface of the panels.

7) Rinsing

After allowing the cleaning solution to loosen dirt and grime, we thoroughly rinse the panels with clean water to remove any remaining residue. This can be done using a hose with a gentle spray attachment or a low-pressure washer, ensuring all soap residue is completely removed.

Our top tip: Never use a high-pressure water jet to rinse panels, as they may damage them.

8) Drying

To prevent water spots and streaks, we allow the solar panels to air dry naturally. Alternatively, we may use a soft, lint-free cloth to gently pat the surface dry, taking care not to apply excessive pressure.

9) Final Inspection

Once the panels are clean and dry, we perform a final visual inspection to ensure no spots or streaks are left behind. We also check for any signs of damage or defects that may require further attention.

By following this solar panel cleaning procedure, we can help maintain the optimal performance and longevity of solar energy systems, ensuring maximum energy production and return on investment for our clients.

More top cleaning tips include:

  • Employ magnetic cleaners for hard-to-reach areas – invest in magnetic cleaners designed for solar panels to effectively clean hard-to-reach areas, such as rooftops or high-mounted panels. These cleaners use magnets to attach to the panel surface from the underside, allowing you to glide them across the surface and remove dirt and grime without the need for ladders or scaffolding. 
  • Harness the power of rainwater. Take advantage of natural rainfall to help clean your solar panels. Position the panels at a slight angle to encourage water runoff and install gutter systems to channel rainwater away from the panels, preventing the buildup of debris along the edges. 
  • Plan your cleaning sessions during the early morning or late afternoon when the temperature is cooler. Cleaning solar panels when they are not directly exposed to intense sunlight can help prevent water spots and streaks from forming during the cleaning process. 

How Often Should My Solar Panels Be Cleaned?

Solar panel cleaning should be performed regularly, depending on the local climate and environmental conditions. We recommend cleaning panels at least twice a year, or more frequently in areas with heavy pollution, dust, or bird activity. Check out Our Solar Panel Care and Upkeep Services   

Routine cleaning is necessary for the longevity and effectiveness of your solar energy system. So, if you already have solar panels installed, ensure that you schedule time in your calendar for regular cleaning and maintenance. If you need help with solar panel care or are considering a home solar system for the first time, we’d love to help you. Contact us today and speak directly to our solar panel installation expert. 

Choose us for high-quality solar panel installation or electrical services. Getting started is as simple as contacting us on 020 8087 0216 or sending an email to enquiries@tarvenlimited.co.uk.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.