Solar Panels are exposed to the environment – sun, wind, dust, rain etc. Solar panels are very similar to windows, lying flat or at a slight angle which means they get dirty very fast. Pollen, bird droppings, dirt, and dust can build up on solar panels.“Solar Clouding” commonly referred by the panel manufacturers, which means dirty panels and needs to be cleaned on a regular schedule in order to keep them producing at full capacity. There is a 10-15% decrease in solar output when solar panels are dirty.
Solar panels generally require very little maintenance. A few times a year, the panels should be inspected for any dirt or debris that may collect on them. Most manufacturers recommend the cleaning of solar panels every six months. Typically they should be cleaned in March/April when the rainy season has passed and August/September, towards the end of summer. The cleaning services are a necessary part of the system maintenance and also to maintain its warranty.
Having the PV system cleaned will:
- Maintain your investment
- Ensure peak performance
- Extend the life of your product
- Maintain product warranty.
How to Clean Solar Panels
One can use a garden hose to wash the face of the panels during either the early morning or in the evening. Care should be taken not to spray cold water onto hot panels or there could be a risk of cracking them. There are also automated cleaners, which can be programmed to clean the panels as needed - a good choice if you are in an especially dusty area. Professional solar panel cleaners are also in abundance and can come out periodically to clean them.
Generally the solar panels are dusted gently and then washed using a soft wash brush to lightly scrub the dirt off. One should check with the solar panel manufacturer to know the best way to clean your solar panels. Hard water should not be used for the cleaning. Also check if there is any blockage from the sun like trees or plants. Clean solar panels are worth the effort.
Checking Solar Panel Operation
The only other part of solar panel maintenance is monitoring their energy output and ensuring there are no malfunctions. Check and log the power output on the solar inverters display on a daily or monthly basis. With this data, one can check to see if solar panels are functioning at full efficiency. Solar panels produce different amounts of power during the year, so keeping a baseline measurement helps.
Solar Panel Maintenance and Cleaning Companies
1) GR3 Solar – is a leading solar panel maintenance company throughout the UK, which specializes in the maintenance, repair and upgrades of solar panel installations. The solar maintenance packages can be customized to suit any organizational size, demand and need, whether small business, corporate or public institution or body. It provides services like Solar panel repair, maintenance, upgradation, cleaning, roof vent repairs, photovoltaic repairs, solar panel servicing. GR3 Solar covers both commercial and domestic markets, helping to reach solar panels which are often difficult and dangerous to access for homeowners or building managers. Cracks, breaks, loose connections can be rectified and upgraded, where they have become out-dated. The company’s Health & Safety procedures are constantly reviewed and upgraded and are accredited by CHAS, SAFE contractor and Constructionline.
2) Solar Clean – is a professional solar panel cleaning company. The latest unique & environmental-friendly reach-and-wash cleaning system is used, which ensures perfect cleaning results and is safe for the solar panels. The system uses approx. 1.5 litres of water per minute. At Solar Clean, services are available to clean all residential, business and corporate solar systems in South Australia. Residential cleaning costs start from as little as $6 a panel, subject to site inspection.
3) Solar Maid – is a leading provider of solar panel washing service, cleaning and maintenance and global solar O&M provider. The company provides residential, commercial and governmental solar panel washing service. Solar Maid was the first company to provide “Janitorial Solar O&M” and is still by far the largest worldwide. Solar Maid sets industry standards for this new service sector. Solar Maid has its headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA with service offices throughout North America and parts of Europe.
4) Solarking - A national company with over 10 years experience Solar King is a leading supplier and installer of Solar PV, Solar Thermal & Ground & Heat Source energy systems for domestic, industrial, and commercial projects across the UK. The services provided are – supply, design, installation, commissioning, handover, maintenance, upgrades and repairs to various microgeneration technologies (Solar Thermal, Heat Pumps, Solar Photovoltaic) to commercial and domestic customers. Solar Power systems that are managed by Solar King can be up to 30% more efficient.
5) Solar Shine – is a professional solar panel cleaning company, using 100% biodegradable cleaning products that are safe for the photovoltaic system and the environment. There are many cleaning packages to choose from. Commercial and residential cleaning are available. Solar Shine offers a cleaning maintenance service, to remove the build up of debris on the surface of photovoltaic modules.
6) Spectrum Solar – is an Australian owned company. The company is engaged in delivering high end electronic solutions to homes and businesses, for the past 35 years. The company has installed thousands of solar power systems, in homes, businesses and schools. Spectrum Solar identifies emerging problems like shading, scaling and leaf build up & its scheduled inspection & cleaning service consists of physical inspection, panel cleaning & performance check. The panels are cleaned with purified water and no detergents or chemicals are used.
7) Fortress Complete Cleaning – Founded in Melbourne, is the culmination of over 15 years in the cleaning and maintenance industry. It provides all the equipments to access and clean the panels & cleans the panels using the most appropriate cleaning method for the job, inspects the condition of the frames and mounts & panels and records the output of the system before & after cleaning and finally provides a report on the spot for client’s reference. Solar Panel cleaning starts from 7$ per panel subject to site inspection.
8) Solar Service WA – is a WA owned business who services all of the Perth area. Solar Service WA is fully accredited to the Clean Energy Council. The company is specialized to handle Perth specific problems – like dealing with hard water stains. Water Filtration and De-Ionization equipments are used to make the panels stain free. There are no harsh chemicals used in cleaning the panels and all equipments used are the latest environmental-friendly reach-and-wash cleaning technology, which ensures perfect cleaning results and scratch free brush ensuring crystal clear panels.
9) Watson Window Washing - are currently serving all commercial systems in Southern California and all utility sized systems in California and Arizona. They are pioneers of the commercial solar panel industry for over 5 years & their completed jobs range from small 350kw rooftop systems to 15mw ground mount utility systems. The company uses super purified water that contains no chemicals or detergents, hence there is no sticky residue left on the solar panels. Therefore, there is nothing for the dust to stick to and they will stay clean up to 10x longer. The solar panels cannot much pressure on them. Hence, long telescopic poles with soft brush heads are used to safely maintain the solar panels, while not applying much pressure. They use a method that does not quickly lower the temperature of the panels otherwise the panels would break.
Cost Involved in Cleaning & Maintaining Solar Panels
The cost of cleaning a residential solar panel depends upon:
- Location of the Building
- Number of Panels
- Location of panels on the Premises
- Availability of water.