Why Do I Need to Clean Solar Panels?
Left alone, solar panels accumulate bird droppings, leaves, dust and water, often called solar blockers. Accumulated solar blockers could reduce energy generated by your solar panels by as much as 25% after two years without cleaning. Hence, regular solar panel cleaning & maintenance is key to ensure the maximum amount of energy savings for your home. So, we have created a step by step guide for you to easily clean your solar panels!
How Often Should I Do Solar Panel Cleaning?
In Singapore, annual solar panel cleaning is usually sufficient with the heavy amount of rain we experience. Rain naturally provides a minimal rinse of loose dust and debris, but manual cleaning is needed for dirt stuck in.
The angle of your solar panels should also be taken into account when thinking about the frequency of cleaning. The less steep your panels are, the more likely it is to collect solar blockers. If they are more horizontal, you should clean your solar panels more often, at least twice a year.
When is the Best Time to Do Solar Panel Cleaning?
As solar panels are absorbing the sun’s energy all day, they can be too hot to touch in the afternoon. Solar panel cleaning is recommended in the early morning, or late evening when the panels are less hot. Do be cautious when cleaning the panels even on a cool day.
More importantly, on a hot day, the sun will evaporate the water too quickly, leaving smudges on the panel glass. This could affect energy output from your solar panels.
How Do I Clean My Solar Panels?
Step 1: Use A Water Hose
Cleaning solar panels with a garden hose from the ground is the easiest. The water spray should fall on the solar panels like rainwater and wash the dirt off. Where bird droppings are present, two to three rounds of washing may soften them enough to remove.
Step 2: Soft Brushing with Isopropyl Alcohol or White Vinegar
If you are able to climb onto your roof safely, you can clean your panels with an isopropyl alcohol or white vinegar solution after hosing. It helps to remove oily smudges without leaving a mark. We recommend avoiding strong cleaning agents like detergent or bleach to clean stubborn stains. These tend to leave residue on panel glass that can attract more dirt to your panels in the long run.
Make sure you do not stand on the solar panels under any circumstance. It risks creating microcracks that can reduce energy output. Use soft sponges or brushes specifically designed for solar panels to lightly scrub the panels clean of dirt.
Step 3: Finish Up with a Squeegee
Water streaks left on your solar panels after cleaning could also reduce the efficiency of the panels. So, you can wipe them dry with a long-handled squeegee the same way you would finish cleaning a window. This will prevent water streaks from distorting the sunlight reaching the solar panels.
While taking care of the environment, make sure to take care of yourself. If you’re climbing onto your roof, be very careful and take safety precautions. Never clean solar panels during or after a rainstorm, wear non-skid soles and have a family member on standby.
Solar Panel Maintenance
Contrary to popular belief, solar panels are not costly to maintain. Solar panels are made from durable tempered glass built to withstand adverse weather conditions, stretching their lifespan from around 25 to 30 years. Hence, little work is required when it comes to solar panel maintenance.
However, we still encourage solar owners to perform a preventive maintenance once every 1 to 2 years. Typically, the solar panel maintenance cost is charged on a per-trip basis, around SGD$300-500. You can reach out to your solar installer to do your solar panel cleaning and maintenance, but if you need a recommendation check out our list of top 10 solar installers in Singapore here.
Solar Panel Warranty
The product warranty period for the majority of solar panels is between 12 to 25 years, covering at least half of your solar panel system’s lifespan. Within this warranty period, your solar installer will provide you with a free solar panel replacement if there are any defects or if the efficiency level goes below its guaranteed rate. However, you may have to pay for the labour cost associated with the replacement work.
Meanwhile, for solar inverters, the warranty period is shorter, about 5 to 12 years, in accordance with their shorter lifespan. However, as solar inverters are installed close to your home’s distribution board, accessibility will not be an issue. Your solar inverter can easily be swapped out when required.
Bonus Tips to Keep your Solar Panel System in Tip-Top Shape
- If you find it difficult to clean your solar panels, you can invest in technology that can do your solar panel cleaning for you, such as sprinkler systems and automated cleaners. Or, you can simply choose to schedule appointments with solar panel cleaning companies.
- Document the daily performance of your solar panels with the monitoring app most wi-fi enabled inverters come with. They are useful for general monitoring, which can allow you to discover and troubleshoot any future problems sooner. Do take note however that energy production outliers may emerge on cloudy days.
- Engage a professional if you notice that your electricity bill is increasing without cause, see red or orange light on your inverters during the day or noticeable stains that you are unable to remove from your panels. These signs could mean that your solar panels are not generating the maximum energy for your home and need maintenance.
Make More Money from Your Solar Panels
Most solar homeowners don’t know this, but Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) can be registered and sold from each MWh of clean energy generated by your solar panel system, with no effect on your current electricity supply or bills.
Do you have a solar panel setup and want to acquire and sell RECs? Don’t have the time to do so on your own or sell enough RECs to cover all the registration and transaction costs? Let Solar AI sell your RECs for you.
We simplify the long and tedious REC sales process into 1 simple step – no hassle, commitment or out-of-pocket costs. All you’ll need to do is provide us with authorisation to sell your RECs on your behalf and you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy consistent cash payouts of $120-$500 from your REC sales.
Reach out to us to learn more about our RECs purchase program now!