Is solar panel cleaning important and how often?

New to renewable energy? Have questions? Here's a great place to ask them and view information about wind and solar power basics.

Is solar panel cleaning important and how often?

Postby ElizabethH » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:43 am

I was wondering how often is recommended to clean the solar panels and if you can do it yourself or it's better to call in a specialized company to do it (to not damage the cells).
ElizabethH
Solar Supporter
Solar Supporter
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:41 pm

Re: Is solar panel cleaning important and how often?

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:14 am

You only need to do it if they are dirty. If they have a decent tilt and it rains reasonably frequently, you may never need to clean them. If you are sure that you can work safely where your panels are mounted, there is no reason you can't do it yourself- a broom and a bucket of soapy water, and then a hose down to rinse them is generally all that is needed.
http://gunagulla.com Loomberah weather and astronomy including live solar radiation intensity and UV + Gunagulla aquaponics, organic eggs and cherries
User avatar
Gordon-Loomberah
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 5735
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Loomberah NSW Australia

Re: Is solar panel cleaning important and how often?

Postby jaahn » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:05 am

Hi :)
I have only cleaned mine a couple of times over the years. The fruit bats were the reason for it. :shock:
It did not make a major difference either but looked like it was needed.
Just did what Gordon said. An extra long handle would help. Safety is the reason I do not get up there more often. ;)
Jaahn
jaahn
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 188
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:42 am

Re: Is solar panel cleaning important and how often?

Postby Warpspeed » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:58 pm

I doubt if regular cleaning is even necessary, unless you have some very unusual or specific problem.
At least here in Melbourne it rains fairly frequently and that should certainly do the job if its only the usual dust.

If you have sticky berries, bird or bat crap, or something else very difficult to shift, then cleaning may be necessary, although fixing the problem some other way by eliminating the basic cause may be a much better approach.

The bird problem can be solved by providing a better and higher place to perch.
A tree problem can be fixed with a chain saw.
Warpspeed
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 432
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:18 pm

Re: Is solar panel cleaning important and how often?

Postby jaahn » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:13 pm

ElizabethH wrote:I was wondering how often is recommended to clean the solar panels and if you can do it yourself or it's better to call in a specialized company to do it (to not damage the cells).

Hi Elizabeth :)
Just a note about the robustness of solar panels. They usually have a glass pane the cells are "glued" behind. They are not easily damaged and will withstand heavy rain, hail stones, storms, sun and other outside events. Do not be scared of them.
I have some I use for camping and put them on the ground in the sun and pack them in the van etc with other gear. One time I came back and the small grandkids had set up a "run" using a couple of the panels for ramps :shock: !!! No problems.
The used ones I purchased had boot prints on some of them from the workers doing the dismantle. :roll: They are OK.
Jaahn
PS warpspeed: I am not much into chainsaws for problem solving bat and bird difficulties :cry:
jaahn
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 188
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:42 am

Re: Is solar panel cleaning important and how often?

Postby Warpspeed » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:27 am

jaahn wrote:PS warpspeed: I am not much into chainsaws for problem solving bat and bird difficulties :cry:

Neither am I.
Much better to provide an alternative and higher perch position.

But if your solar panels are suffering from a tree shading problem, some judicious pruning is the only way to fix it.
Trees that are old or diseased can come down in a storm, and may cause some very expensive damage.
Warpspeed
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 432
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:18 pm

Re: Is solar panel cleaning important and how often?

Postby Revlac » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:38 pm

I bought some secondhand solar panels with patterned glass, from an area that had many gumtrees around, and the panels were covered in sooty mold or mildew, after getting them home, cleaned them up.

some time later the mold grew back, did a better job cleaning them this time and no more problems. :)

Cheers
Aaron
Revlac
Solar Supporter
Solar Supporter
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri May 27, 2016 10:11 pm

Re: Is solar panel cleaning important and how often?

Postby jimbo » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:10 am

My house is on a dirt road. My panels have never been cleaned so i think the rain must do a good job as they look spotless.
jimbo
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 574
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:48 pm
Location: Ballarat

Re: Is solar panel cleaning important and how often?

Postby lantern » Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:13 pm

Really depends where you are. I need to get mine cleaned pretty much every year. It is so wet here that we get mould building up from the bottom edge.
User avatar
lantern
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 203
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:33 am

Re: Is solar panel cleaning important and how often?

Postby Revlac » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:06 pm

Solar panel output was getting a bit slack lately, they look clean and good from ground level.
Despite these panels setup on an angle so the rain would help clean them, they still need a good cleaning after 6 months.

The left side is dirty the right side was just cleaned.
How many people just assume they are clean and just leave it?
Attachments
IMG_0026.JPG
Revlac
Solar Supporter
Solar Supporter
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri May 27, 2016 10:11 pm

Next

Return to Q&A - wind and solar power basics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 10 guests

new solar power specials