Cleaning Solar Panels
Solar panels require regular cleaning when located in particularly dry or salty areas or where panel tilt is minimal. Dust, pollution and other substances such as bird droppings will accumulate over time and impact on the amount electricity generated by a panel. The dirt doesn’t need to cover an entire panel to have an effect.
Human Safety & Glass Protection
Solar panels should only be cleaned when the panels have been manually shut down following the documented proceedure for your solar panel system. It is also wise to clean your panels from the ground if possible. Wagtail cleaners use oxegenated, filtered water fed extension poles which will not leave a residual chemicals that may impact performance. Alternatively if access is limited we will use a soft brush and a squeegee with a plastic blade on one side combined with a long extension. We avoid using metal objects or harsh abrasive products to protect the panels from scratching. The wrong cleaning proceedurs can affect its performance as scratches will cast shadows. Avoid using chemicals if possible as these may streak the glass of the panel.
Cleaning your rooftop solar panels requires appropriate safety equipment.
Commerical Solar Panel Cleaning
Cleaning commercial solar panels is usually possible from flat ground, or a flat rooftop. The exception is the installation on a factory rooftop with a pitched (angled) roof. Wagtail can access these areas with our waterfed extension poles and rubber blade squeegee. Industrial sites require more regular cleaning of solar panels due to very specific and localized circumstances. For example, being directly next to and downwind of a highway, factory or agricultural field may generate sunstantial build up on the panels reducing efficiency.
Residential Solar Panel Cleaning
Residential solar panels are generally single storey and double storey homes, villas and townhouses. These involve different cleaning proceedures depending on the latitude of the installation. Solar panels installed closer to the equator are installed at a flatter inclination ( eg.30º) whilst installations further from the equator are installed at a greater inclination ( eg 45º). This in turn affects the length of the waterfed pole required to reach the panels at the apex of a pitched roof or an alternative method of using safety equipment to access the panels from the roof.
Typically, particulate matter from air pollution, agriculture, construction and traffic accumulates on the panels, as well as pollen and sea salt. Solar panels mounted at a lower angle (flatter) cause bigger losses in efficiency. That’s because some of the dirt slips off panels that are installed at a steeper angle. Droppings essentially block all sunlight and will not be washed away when it rains.
Loss in energy production may range from 7% and as high as 30% in some areas according to the National Renewable Energy laboratory. Individual dealers have reported losses as high as 30% for some customers who failed to ever clean their panels.