Solar Panel Cleaning

Introduction

Solar panel installations are usually so high that it is difficult to see how dirty they are becoming over time. The first tell-tale signs will normally be a reduction in efficiency and therefore a reduction in the amount of money you are making on your original, expensive investment.

Having spoken to a number of customers over the past few years on solar panel cleaning, our discussions invariably centre around the following considerations:-

Why have solar panels cleaned?

Various studies have confirmed a correlation between electricity output and the cleanliness of the glass covering your solar panel installation. If you notice a continual reduction in output then this is probably an indication that cleaning could be required. Less sunlight being absorbed by built up dust and dirt means less light reaching the cells on your panels. As a rule, improvements in output of up to 25% can be found through solar panel cleaning.

Maybe you live in an area surrounded by trees in which case, leaves, bird mess and sticky tree sap can quickly build up and trap dust and dirt on your solar panels particularly if your installation is on a roof with a low pitch.

Many new-build housing estates have solar panel installations (and roof skylights come to that). We have seen many such installations locally, such as Biddenham Vale etc etc where the panels on newly completed properties remain dirty until all building work in that area has been completed which could be months even years later.
Most, if not all, system manufacturers recommend that periodic cleaning is essential to maintain your system and maximise the return on your investment. If you were to ever have problems with your system and made a claim under your warranty, you may find it invalidated if you have not maintained your system correctly – and that included regular cleaning.

Solar panels are often said to be “self cleaning” and if positioned on a decently pitched roof then rain water run-off is sufficient to keep them clean. Mmmm, if you were to leave your car out on a driveway all year and in all weathers would it remain clean? If you have a roof skylight, again, with “self cleaning” glass and on a pitched roof just look at how dirty it soon becomes without active, regular cleaning.

How do you clean solar panels?

At the outset we will use a CCTV camera to check your installation for any damage before we carry out any further work.
An initial rinse will then soften the accumulated dirt and wash off any loose material.
We use telescopic ultra-light carbon-fibre water-fed poles fitted with soft nylon bristle brushes which gently agitate the stuck on dirt.
No detergents or other chemicals are used – only pure, de-ionised water with gentle rinses – no jet-washing!! We do not use tap water as this would leave streaks and/or spots on the glass due to the limescale in the water.
We work from the ground ensuring safety requirements are met at all times – no ladders making holes in your lawn or flower borders, no need for scaffolding and no clambering over wet, slippery roofs.
We leave your panels looking brand new, crystal clear and streak free. Most importantly we will be saving you money.
What type of solar panel installations do you clean?
We specialise in cleaning solar panel installations on residential properties in Bedfordshire.
We also clean commercial solar panel installations providing these can be accessed safely from the ground. We can access roof panels up to 50 ft from the ground.

Why Choose Us?

We are a small, family run business focussed on providing local, personalised cleaning services in Bedford. We are fully insured for this type of work, professionally trained and fully Health & Safety compliant.
Being local, word soon gets round(good or bad) and we are very proud of the reputation we have built up since setting up in business as Bedford Window Cleaning in 2007. We also want to be known as the best solar panel cleaners in Bedford.

When should they be cleaned?

We have looked at comments other solar panel cleaners in Bedfordshire have on their websites. Some recommend twice yearly cleans – one in the Spring so that your system is clean enough to benefit from the longer daylight hours over the summer months and again after a build up of dust and dirt over the summer period and, if you happen to live in a rural area, after the harvest period.
Quite frankly, we feel that if you did a cost/benefit analysis on paying to have your solar panels cleaned then, on a typical residential installation of, say, 4KW, then the price most firms charge versus the increased output you obtain (and therefore an improved return on your initial investment) means that the case for having 6-monthly cleans is at best marginal.
We would suggest that an annual clean is as much as most residential systems need to maintain efficiency whilst keeping down costs but check your manufacturer’s warranty first in case they specify a certain time period.
The alternative to calling out a firm such ours is to either do nothing and allow dirt continue accumulating on your panels with obvious results or attempt the job yourself. If the latter then remember, you will be working at height, probably uninsured, with a risk of falls. Furthermore, using detergents or other chemicals and normal tap water will not leave a streak-free, crystal clear finish. Jet washing whilst hanging off a ladder is a definite no-no for so many reasons! Hand on heart, this is not a simple DIY job. We are sure you have better things to be doing.