Why do solar panels need cleaning?

There are many reasons to clean your solar panels including extending the lifetime of your panels, preserving your warranty, saving money on bills and ultimately generating more green energy.

Like anything that we want to last for over a decade, solar panels need to be well maintained and monitored to make sure you are generating the most energy and achieve the best return on your solar investment over the years, for more years!

When solar panels are cleaned by specialists in solar maintenance like Solar Shine Australia, your panels will be inspected for any faults or hazards in the panels. This gives you peace of mind and a view on the condition of your panels meaning you can plan for repairs and activate your warranty where needed.

How often do I need to clean my solar panels?

Knowing how often to clean your solar panels is one of the biggest mysteries for solar panel owners across the globe. After all we are talking about a new technology that has not had a known need for preventative maintenance in the past.

The answer to this question is simple, every set of panels is different.

There are many contributors to solar panels getting dirty, or soiling, that can range from tree cover and birds, to traffic flow and vacant lots. It really is all about location and surrounds. There are other variables that may not be as permanent such as nearby construction and bushfires which is why you should monitor the state of your panels (learn how here).

A Solar Care Plan can help to assess these variables and recommend how often you should clean your panels.

How do I clean my solar panels?

Solar panels should be cleaned only with pure water and an extendable water fed brush that wont scratch the surface of the glass. Professionals like Solar Shine Australia use a technology called electro de-ionisation to turn tap water into pure H2O by removing all of the metals and chemicals from the water giving a streak free finish and leaving no limescale film afterwards.

With the height and electrocution dangers involved with cleaning solar panels, and the expensive equipment needed to do the job, your best option is to contact your local professional solar panel cleaner to determine the best solar care plan for your panels.

Solar Shine Australia is a Clean Energy Council member and services the greater Sydney region.

What percentage increase can I expect from solar panel cleaning?

This varies depending the age of the panels, the location and the angle that the solar panels are positioned. Typically, after cleaning solar panels that have been installed for 2 years on a normal 2-storey home in a suburban area, we see increases of 8-10%. On commercial rooftop solar installations that have been installed for 2 years, we see increases in output from 15%-40%.

When anyone has their solar panels installed, they want to know how long it will take for them to get their return on investment (ROI). Your solar panel installer may have told you that your expected ROI is 10 years. This figure was based on your solar panels always running at their maximum possible efficiency during the course of a year. If your solar panels continue to lose 20% of their output from not being cleaned, it will take you an extra 2 years to see your ROI.

By having your solar panels cleaned by a professional, you will keep your solar panels running to their maximum efficiency and you will see your ROI much sooner.

How do I stop birds nesting under my solar panels?

Birds, especially pigeons, love to nest under solar panels because they keep out the rain, wind, and they give off heat. You can try to scare birds away with fake cats, owls and snakes, or even chase them around the backyard with the hose, but it is unlikely you will deter the birds for longer than a couple weeks.

The dangers birds bring range from health hazard, to fire hazard with their nesting material in close proximity to electricity.

To stop birds nesting and living under your solar panels for good, you need to remove the reason why they are there, which means blocking off their access to underneath your solar panels. The best way to do that is with Solar skirts (an Australian brand like Vexo is best), a specially designed mesh that is clipped on to the frame of your panels.

Solar Shine Australia is a Vexo accredited solar skirt installer who services the greater Sydney region.