In this blog we will discuss solar panel cleaning, the best way to do it (and not to do it) and why it’s important to maintain your solar panels correctly and safely.
What is solar panel cleaning?
Solar panel cleaning is the process of removing debris from the surface of your solar panels. This should be done carefully, effectively and safely without damaging the solar panels (or disturbing any electrical components) which could impact the safety, integrity and functionality of your solar system.
Due to their outdoor location, debris such as dust, animal droppings, tree branches and biological growth can accumulate on your solar panels. The degree and type of build up can depend on a few things including features of the surrounding environment, the mounting location, local weather patterns and even the tilt of your solar panels, which can affect the capture (and settling) of debris.
Why is solar panel cleaning important?
Debris buildup limits the effectiveness of solar panels by blocking the photovoltaic cells of access to sunlight, reducing the number available to convert photons (particles of light) into electricity. It can also mean that damage (such as microcracks) is left undetected, making them prone to moisture ingress which can damage the electrical components inside. Without regular cleaning, and overall solar maintenance, your solar system may also suffer damage due to corrosion, leading to faulty electrical components, unstable mounts and overall deterioration.
Is solar panel cleaning worth it?
Solar panel cleaning is essential for optimising performance and efficiency, preserving the integrity and lifespan of your solar system and maintaining safety and compliance. Solar panel cleaning pays off and is definitely ‘worth it’ if you want to:
- Maximise lifespan and return on investment
- Preserve system integrity and longevity
- Maintain performance (maximise efficiency and output)
- Regular monitoring (opportunity to check and test other system components)
- Protection from damage (corrosion, microcracks, moisture ingress, hot spots)
- Ensure continued electrical compliance and safety (AS/NZS 3000: Wiring Rules)
- Reduce risk of solar outages (due to system faults)
- Keep your warranties valid (such as for your inverter and battery)
So yes, it’s worth it to keep your solar system working as efficiently as possible for a good return on investment, and damage prevention. It’s cheaper to maintain your solar panels, than replace them. When they are well maintained, most Australian homes generally see a return on their solar investment in 6-10 years.
How often does a solar panel need to be cleaned?
Solar panel cleaning should be completed every 12 months as a component of annual solar maintenance for your overall solar system. This is adequate timing to keep debris build up to a minimum. If you live in an area where debris build up is more frequent (such as around wildlife, bushland or open dusty spaces) you may need solar panel cleaning more regularly, to maintain them.
Annual solar maintenance addresses all technical, performance and compliance components of your solar system, so it also provides reassurance that your solar panels are working effectively and that there is no damage. Solar panels have a lifespan of around 25-30 years and are relatively low maintenance, however without proper maintenance solar panels will deteriorate and damage will go undetected, causing expensive problems later and affecting your overall return on investment.
Contact us today to chat with a knowledgeable team member for quality advice based on your specific system and a customised maintenance plan to suit.
What is the best way to clean solar panels?
Most residential and small-scale commercial solar systems can be cleaned manually using a soft brush, water (with light, uniform pressure, appropriate temperature) and mild cleaners that will not harm the solar panels. To be effective, solar panel cleaning should be staged to ensure adequate coverage and washdown of all panels (especially those that are hard to access), while carefully moving around them using the roof and support frames.
Walking on solar panels should be avoided, as they are not designed to bear weight. Solar panels should be washed down without direct pressure (this can create stress points and crack the glass) and care should be taken not to put too much weight or pressure in locations such as the edges and corners, the centre of each panel (generally the weakest and most fragile surface area), near junction boxes and other electrical components. Doing so can crack the glass and disturb wiring and connectors, compromising the safety, integrity and functionality of the solar panels.
Your solar system (including your solar panels) is hard wired to your electrical system and cleaning should be carried out by an experienced solar specialist and fully qualified electrician who will professionally (and safely) clean your solar panels based on your system size/scale, the location and specific environmental conditions.
Cleaning solar panels cost
The typical cost for solar panel cleaning in Melbourne ranges from $10-15 per panel. However, be wary of inexperienced ‘professionals’ selling off-the-shelf solar panel cleaning who may have minimal solar knowledge and training, are uninsured or they’re (unintentionally) using damaging techniques and harsh equipment. To protect your investment you should invest in a quality provider that specialises in solar with a clear understanding of solar systems of varying designs and scales, installation and what’s needed to maintain them properly.
Solstra is an accredited solar system and solar battery designer and installer and reputable Melbourne specialist in commercial and residential solar systems. We know solar panels and exactly how to clean them effectively and safely, without harm and without voiding your warranty. Contact us today to chat with a knowledgeable team member about solar panel cleaning for your specific system and a customised maintenance plan to suit.
Can I clean my own solar panels?
DIY solar panel cleaning is NOT recommended. We’re not just saying that because we want your business. Most people don’t have an intimate knowledge of solar systems, nor do they know the science of how solar panels work and how they’re designed, built and installed. High-pressure hoses and pressure washers damage solar panels. In attempting solar panel cleaning yourself you may unintentionally cause damage and void your warranties. There is also a high risk of personal injury, which is just not worth the risk.
As with anything, having the right knowledge and the correct training is critical to safe and effective technique application and quality results. With over 20 years of experience, Solstra has the correct qualifications, equipment, processes and know-how to clean, repair and maintain your solar system without harm.
Solar panel cleaning services
As above, we recommend solar panel cleaning be completed every 12 months as a component of annual solar maintenance for your overall solar system. This is adequate timing to keep debris build up to a minimum.
Solar panel cleaning completed by Solstra also includes an inspection of your solar panels and associated electrical to check for any disturbance or damage. We offer a variety of solar maintenance services, including solar panel cleaning:
- Residential solar panel cleaning
- Commercial solar panel cleaning
- Solar panel inspections and repairs
- Fault detection and troubleshooting
Let’s be honest, there is little use cleaning the solar panels to restore their effectiveness when there could be performance issues elsewhere in your system. Combining solar panel cleaning with your annual maintenance means not just solar panel cleaning, but a holistic check of all technical, performance and compliance components of your solar system. Only with this approach, will you have reassurance that your solar panels are working effectively, and that there are no faults or damage.
A maintenance and service check by Solstra involves detailed testing and safety inspection of your solar system by a certified electrician, solar installer and service agent. If you have purchased a property and just moved in, we would be happy to give your new solar system the once over! Read more about our solar maintenance and solar repairs services.
Commercial solar panel cleaning
Commercial solar maintenance with regular solar panel cleaning preserves your solar assets, satisfies insurance obligations, maximises your return on investment and ensures safety and compliance with regulatory standards.
Solstra supports a variety of commercial clients under ongoing contractual arrangements for commercial solar maintenance services, including solar panel cleaning.
Solstra is a preferred contractor for commercial solar maintenance in Melbourne. We provide commercial solar maintenance services for solar systems on all commercial building types including standalone stores, shopping centres, showrooms, office buildings, industrial warehouses and factories, schools and educational facilities, accommodation and more.
Contact us today to book solar panel cleaning and safety inspection to ensure that your system is safe and functioning efficiently for your business.
Solar panel cleaning near me
Solstra provides solar panel cleaning and solar maintenance services for homes and businesses across Melbourne, the south-eastern suburbs and Mornington Peninsula. We service new and existing solar systems large and small (whether they are one of our own, or previously installed by another company) including all types of grid-connected and hybrid solar systems including rooftop systems, ground-mounted solar systems and solar carports. We also service industrial systems including solar farms and floating solar systems.
Searching for “solar panel cleaning Melbourne”? Solstra is an accredited solar system and solar battery designer and installer and reputable Melbourne specialist in commercial and residential solar systems. Contact us today to book our team for solar panel cleaning and a maintenance check.
Choose Solstra for solar panel cleaning
Solstra is an accredited solar system and solar battery designer and installer. With over 20 years of technical and industry experience, our fully-qualified licensed electricians are highly skilled in solar panel cleaning on residential and commercial buildings of many types and sizes. We use only quality equipment and safe and efficient techniques for solar panel cleaning (per manufacturer and industry guidelines) to preserve the quality, integrity and longevity of your solar system.
Solstra is a fully insured, Registered Electrical Contractor (REC 28804) and Licensed Electrician with Energy Safe Victoria, fully compliant with all requirements and Australian Standards related to the Electricity Safety Act 1998. A Certificate of Electrical Safety and 12-month workmanship guarantee is provided for every job.
Solstra can clean your solar panels and maintain your system to keep it performing at its best for years to come. We are prepared, equipped and ready to help. Contact us today.