Submitted by Andrew on Tue, 12/07/2022 - 14:54
The Do’s and Don’ts of panel maintenance

 

A common question we receive from our customers is how best to go about cleaning their panels, and whether or not it’s something they can do themselves. So here’s a guide of the key do’s and don’ts of cleaning your panels. While it’s a good idea to occasionally clean the panels, if done improperly you risk damaging your panels or even voiding your warranty.

It’s worth noting first, your panels have an anti-cling film which means they will be largely self cleaning in an area with regular rainfall. But if your roof is flat, or has less than a 5 degree pitch, cleaning your panels will be occasionally required. Also, after any wildfires, you should wash your panels immediately. Ash from fires can heavily impact the production of solar energy systems, dropping efficiency by as much as 25% and potentially damaging the system through overheating.

You shouldn't, however, clean your panels on hot days, as the temperature disparity between the panel surface and the water can cause the panels to crack. Before you follow any of the steps below, pick the right time to start cleaning, we recommend early in the evening, or late in the afternoon.

THE DO’S

Do wash them with your garden hose

90% of the time, this is the only thing you should need to do when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your panels. Dust can build up on panels which can cause them to heat up more and operate less efficiently, so hosing them down from ground level every few months is a good practice.

Do look over your panels from ground level for debris

Leaf litter, rocks, or anything else that may land on your panels can cause shading or black spots in production, which increase heat and lower efficiency. So, looking out for these from ground level while washing your panels is a good idea. If you can, use the hose water to wash them away.

Do use a little soapy water to clean persistent grit

If the hose isn’t doing the job of removing a persistent stain or build-up of dust, then some a little soapy water is fine to use. We recommend, if you can, using a squeegee with a long enough handle that you can do this from ground level. Otherwise only go up on the roof if it is safe to do so.

THE DON’TS

Don’t use a high pressure washer

High pressure washers are not necessary for washing your panels, a normal hose should be more than sufficient. In fact, high pressure washers can be very detrimental to the operation of your panels, as they risk causing microfractures in the glass of the panel. You also risk voiding your warranty by using a pressure washer, as many stipulate that this should not be done.

Don’t climb onto your roof without proper safety equipment

Your safety should always be your chief concern. If you were to fall off your roof while going to clean or survey panels, you could seriously injure yourself. So unless you are confident you can do so safely, we do not advise climbing onto your roof, leave that to professionals.

Don’t use metal objects, abrasive materials or harsh chemicals

All of the above can scratch, cloud, or otherwise damage the glass front of your panels. Reducing the clarity of your panels reduces their efficiency, and can do just as much damage to your solar production as the shading you were trying to clear away. If soapy water isn’t doing the job, it’s best to schedule a health-check, and our service technicians will clear the debris away safely.

A yearly service health-check is the best way to keep your panels in good health. Washing them intermittently with your hose is good to keep them clean, but for any serious maintenance, do not attempt it yourself, do reach out to us to schedule a visit from our service technicians.
 

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