James Elston

James Elston

Published July 11, 2024

Solar panels provide homes and businesses with sustainable, renewable energy. However, they are a significant and costly investment. That’s why regular cleaning and maintenance are vital to ensure they perform optimally.

This expert guide will walk you through how to clean your solar panels safely and effectively.

Step-By-Step Guide To Cleaning Solar Panels

Our step-by-step guide will explain the materials you will need to clean the glass surface of your solar panels and the steps for doing so.

Step 1: Preparation 

These tips are important to bear in mind for your and others’ safety:

  • Check the weather: A cloudy, overcast day is ideal for cleaning solar panels, as they won’t get too hot. Using cold water on very hot solar panels can result in thermal shock or thermal stress, which can cause them to crack.
  • Turn off the solar panel system: Switch off the system to avoid electrical hazards.
  • Use proper equipment: If you have roof-mounted solar panels, use a stable ladder, harness, and any other safety gear you require.

Note: If your solar panels are roof-mounted and you struggle to reach them, we recommend hiring a professional service like Eco Happy to get the job done safely.

Step 2: Gather your cleaning supplies 

Here’s a list of what you will need in your solar panel cleaning kit:

  • A soft brush/ broom to scrub away stubborn grime and debris on the solar panels’ surface before wetting them.
  • Gloves to protect your hands from detergent and the dirt and debris you’re removing.
  • A garden hose with a spray nozzle to wet the panels and rinse off the soap solution and dirt.
  • A bucket of warm water to be used as a diluent for the soap.
  • Mild, non-abrasive soap, as harsh ingredients or chemicals could damage the solar panels.
  • A soft sponge or cloth to ensure no scratches or marks are left on the panel’s surface.
  • A dry towel – excess water can cause dirt and dust to clump and stick to the panels again.

Step 3: Remove loose dirt and debris

Put on your gloves and use a soft broom or brush to remove loose debris, such as leaves, bird droppings, and layers of dust.

Step 4: Rinse the solar panels

Once you have removed the dry debris and dust, use a garden hose with a spray nozzleto rinse off the panels. Start at the top and work your way down to ensure that the whole surface is primed and ready to be scrubbed.

Step 5: Apply the soap and water solution

Mix two tablespoons of gentle, non-abrasive soap with lukewarm water in a bucket. As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to avoid using harsh detergents or abrasive cleaning materials as they can damage the surface of the solar panels.

Dip your soft sponge or cloth into the solution and scrub the panels gently.

Step 6: Rinse again

After cleaning your solar panels, rinse off the soap solution thoroughly with a garden hose. Any traces of soap or sticky residue left on the panels will attract more dirt.

Step 7: Dry the panels

When you’re finished, dry the panels with a clean, dry cloth. If left wet, the solar panels may attract more dust and debris. If it’s fairly warm outside, you can let them air dry.

What Parts Of The Solar Panel Needs Cleaning?

The main part of a solar panel that absorbs sunlight and transfers it into energy is the glass surface. Keeping this part of the panel free of dust, dirt, and debris is vital for maximum power output and efficiency.

Some other components of your solar panel system may also need cleaning. These include:

  • Frame: Over time, the panel’s frame accumulates dirt and debris that can slip onto the glass front if not cleaned.
  • Backsheet: Dirt on the backsheet or underside of a solar panel isn’t as harmful as dirt on the exposed surface, but it should be cleaned occasionally to keep your solar panels in good condition overall.
  • Wiring and connections: Dust or webs may be present here. Clean these areas carefully to avoid damaging the connections and hurting yourself. Use a dry cloth or soft brush – no liquid cleaning products should be used.

We recommend getting these parts cleaned and maintained by a professional solar panel cleaner like Eco Happy. These components can be complicated and sometimes dangerous to clean by yourself.

Why Cleaning Solar Panels Is Important

Dirt, dust, and other natural debris can accumulate on solar panels, causing severe damage (like corrosion) and the panel to break down completely if not cleaned properly.

Dirt can also reduce a solar panel’s efficiency and power output by up to 30%. This is because it obstructs the absorption of light, meaning the dirty solar panels can’t produce as much renewable power as they usually would.

Professional Solar Panel Cleaning And Maintenance Services

Keeping solar panels clean can seem like a daunting task – but it doesn’t have to be when you have Eco Happy by your side.

We offer comprehensive solar panel maintenance and cleaning services for those who prefer professional assistance. Our expert team ensures your panels are cleaned safely and efficiently to maximise their lifespan. Contact ustoday to schedule your maintenance appointment.

FAQs

Do solar panels need to be cleaned regularly?

Yes, it is recommended that you clean your solar panels (or have them cleaned) at least once or twice a year. However, more frequent cleaning may be required if you live somewhere with increased pollution, dust, a lot of bird activity, wind, and less rainfall.

How do I know if my solar panels need to be cleaned?

As soon as you notice things like bird droppings, leaves, or dust build-up, you should clean your panels (or call a professional solar panel cleaner like Eco Happy). Rain can wash away some debris, but you can’t rely on it – especially if your area is on the dry side.

How much do solar panel cleaning services cost in the UK?

On average, a professional solar panel cleaning service provider in the UK will charge between £4 and £15 per panel. However, the cost will differ depending on whether you have ground or roof-mounted panels.

Final Thoughts

Clean solar panels perform at their maximum efficiency and last for years to come – which is why maintaining them is so important. Follow our expert advice and step-by-step guide to keep your solar panels in excellent condition.

For more information on maintaining your solar panels or to schedule a professional cleaning or maintenance service, visit Eco Happy or contact us today.

James Elston

James Elston

Boiler Expert


James Elston is the top boiler replacement and heating expert at Eco Happy. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry, focusing on Gas Safe boiler installations and offering home-heating and energy-saving solutions to homeowners across the UK. From sourcing the most energy-efficient combi boiler to providing specialist heating advice, James ensures that Eco Happy maintains the highest standards and best customer service.

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