Solar panels do not have any moving parts and are therefore low in maintenance. Unfortunately the installation date is often the first and last time the system is inspected or cleaned.
Solar panels do need to be cleaned regularly, however. Dust, leaves, dirt, pollen, bird droppings and other debris can negatively affect solar panel efficiency. Dirty solar panels absorb less sunlight and therefore generate less electricity. If not cleaned properly, solar panels will produce up to 20% less electricity. It’s easy to assume rainwater will keep the panels clean but rainwater is not clean water and the dirt it leaves behind needs to be washed off.
Solar panels accumulate dirt every day. Accumulation of dirt is greater
- In winter, especially if it snows
- In areas with little rainfall
- If installed near highways, airports or factories
- If installed near to trees that lose their leaves
Although it’s fairly easy to clean solar panels, there is a risk of inadvertently using cleaning products and equipment that leave residue (thereby attracting more dirt) or scratch the glass. Professional cleaning companies have the correct cleaning equipment, safety standards and methods to make sure your solar panels are effectively and quickly cleaned.
How often solar panels are cleaned, depends where they are installed, but in general they should be cleaned at least once a year. Most manufacturers recommend cleaning at least twice a year.Tip : It’s a good idea to keep track of your energy output before and after a cleaning because that alone can be enough motivation to get your panels cleaned.