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How to clean your solar panels

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If you are investing in solar panels to not only transition away from fossil fuels, but to utilise renewable energy, it’s important to take care of your expense. Given the climate in Australia, over time dirt, pollen and even mould can accumulate on solar panels, potentially reducing performance.

Why do solar panels need to be cleaned?

Cleaning your solar panels can potentially be beneficial to the maintenance of your solar system, ensuring it functions both safely and efficiently for years to come.

Typically in Australia solar panels are usually installed at the right tilt to self-clean whenever there is rain. However, if you can see build up on the panels or if your bills or monitoring tools suggest a decrease in the efficiency, it may be worth considering cleaning your solar panels.

This is particularly the case for solar panels that lie flat. When solar panels lie flat, rainwater, debris and other matter can build up on the panels, given there is nowhere for potential run off, leaving grime behind.

How often do solar panels need to be cleaned?

Put simply, there is no recommended frequency to clean solar panels - instead it comes down to personal judgement. As mentioned above, solar panels do not need to be cleaned often, given the fact that solar panels in Australia are typically installed at a tilt and will self-clean with a downpour of rain.

Can you clean solar panels yourself?

It can be daunting climbing onto your roof to clean solar panels, particularly without adequate safety equipment such as a hard hat and a harness, if your home is multiple stories high. Then there’s the fact that the power produced by solar panels is every bit as dangerous as conventional electricity. These are just some of the reasons why you may consider contacting a Clean Energy Council accredited technician to assist in cleaning your solar panels.

Essentially you can clean solar panels yourself, if the correct precautions are taken. This includes ensuring the correct safety equipment is on hand for use and electrics are turned off at your switchboard.

How to clean solar panels?

Plan for safety first

Before jumping up on your roof with your cleaning gear and good intentions, stop and consider your safety first. No matter your experience whether you be a technician or qualified tradesperson or simply a regular Joe, not just anybody should be up on their roof without the correct protective equipment. For cleaning solar panels, this includes hard hat, safety harness, sunglasses and gloves.

Importantly when cleaning any electrical product, you should always the power is switched off to avoid the potential for electrocution.

Cleaning equipment and process

To clean solar panels, the correct equipment will require to be non-abrasive. This can be achieved simply by using water and a soft sponge and microfibre to clean away dirt and debris. If you need to use soap, environmentally friendly and chemical-free products are generally the best to use as they won’t harm your plants or animals if they splash off the roof, and they also won’t leave a nasty residue that could mark your panels. You may also consider utilising a squeegee to remove any excess water and to avoid streaks on the solar panels.

How not to clean solar panels

To avoid potentially damaging your investment while cleaning them yourself, never stand on your panels or associated cables as the weight could cause them to crack, rendering them near useless.

As mentioned above, it’s also important to ensure the correct supplies are used. It is necessary to avoid:

  • Harsh soaps such as strong detergents or soaps that contain chemicals as they can be corrosive to the solar panel unit’s surface.
  • Rough cleaning instruments such as abrasive cloths and sponges, or heavily toothed brooms, as these, can scratch the surface of your panels.

Looking to invest in solar panels to take the next step towards saving money on power and contributing to a cleaner future? Check out our range of solar home loans and to get started chat to one of our lending specialists today.

About the article

As Australia's leading online lender, loans.com.au has been helping people into their dream homes and cars for more than 10 years. Our content is written and reviewed by experienced financial experts. The information we provide is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives or needs. If you'd like to chat to one of our lending specialists about a home or car loan, contact us on Live Chat or by calling 13 10 90.

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