Panel Cleaning

Hi All,

this morning I noticed a layer of dust outside our house and noticed the field across from our house was ploughed yesterday, which has covered everything in this dust. I looked up and sure enough the panels are completely covered. I've checked my generation and I'm knocking out 3.7kW at the moment so I'm sure output is being largely unaffected but it still bothers me.

Do you think it's worth hosing them down when I get home tonight or just waiting for rain? There are no heavy showers forecast for a while... They're on a bungalow and we have amazing water pressure so are pretty accessible. I'm sure the water 'wasted' on washing them will cost more than any potential extra generation I may gain but they look a bit naff covered in a brown film.

Of course, I may wash them and the field get ploughed again tomorrow! :)

I suppose I'm just after a bit of reassurance that hosing them down won't break them. :D
4 Kwp System, South Facing, 35 Degree Pitch, 16 x 250W Solarworld Panels, SMA Sunnyboy 3600 Inverter, Installed 02/09/14 in Sunny South Bedford - £5600
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Replies

  • JimLadJimLad Forumite
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    You would think that the hose wont do any damage as they are weather proof....but then the hose will be a more concentrated stream than rain. Is it worth the risk when the rain will do it just fine in a few days?
    Mortgage Free 22/03/17
    MissWillow is my OH!
  • SterlingtimesSterlingtimes Forumite
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    Oddly, I have just completed an Enphase survey asking me whether I would be interest in cleaning and electrical check services. I indicated "no" since the cost would detract from the solar cost savings.
    Solar installed 21 November 2014 > Centre of England > 3,780 Wp > 14 *270 Watt Trina panels > 14 * Enphase micro-inverters > managed by Enlighten Envoy Hub > 19° west of south > 35° pitch > tree shading to east > iBoost > Wattson Anywhere monitoring > Schneider Electric (Drayton) MiGenie smart thermostat.
  • Hi, we're due to get some installed in the coming week. We've been told that largely they are self cleaning and such instances shouldn't effect us much. Keen to know how this progresses over time, agree with Sterlingtimes although also we're told they are generally only cleaned with warm water anyway so not much point in paying to have them cleaned professionally right?
  • pinnkspinnks Forumite
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    Generally they are self-cleaning, though after a prolonged period of dry the dust build-up will impact production a little. However, you should avoid using tap water to clean them as it will leave mineral residue on the panels - spray your car or windows with the hose and let dry and you will see what I mean.


    if you can use rainwater in your hose you should be OK.
    Wiltshire - 5.25kWp
    3.5kWp: 14 x Phono Solar 250 Onyx, Sunny Boy 4000TL, WSW 40 degrees, June 2013
    1.75kWp: 7 x Phono Solar 250 Onyx, Sunny Boy 1600TL, SSE 45 degrees, March 2014
  • legoman62legoman62 Forumite
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    Hi All,

    this morning I noticed a layer of dust outside our house and noticed the field across from our house was ploughed yesterday, which has covered everything in this dust. I looked up and sure enough the panels are completely covered. I've checked my generation and I'm knocking out 3.7kW at the moment so I'm sure output is being largely unaffected but it still bothers me.

    Do you think it's worth hosing them down when I get home tonight or just waiting for rain? There are no heavy showers forecast for a while... They're on a bungalow and we have amazing water pressure so are pretty accessible. I'm sure the water 'wasted' on washing them will cost more than any potential extra generation I may gain but they look a bit naff covered in a brown film.

    Of course, I may wash them and the field get ploughed again tomorrow! :)

    I suppose I'm just after a bit of reassurance that hosing them down won't break them. :D

    If I was "knocking out" 3.7kW:eek: I'd just leave it and wait til rains :)
    16 Sanyo Hit 250s.4kWp SMA 3.8kWp inverter. SW roof. 28° pitch.
    Minimal shade. Nov 2011 install. Hybrid car. N.E Lincs Coast.
  • ed110220ed110220 Forumite
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    legoman62 wrote: »
    If I was "knocking out" 3.7kW:eek: I'd just leave it and wait til rains :)

    If you're on a water meter and the dirt isn't having much effect on generation, you might find the cost of cleaning them cancels out the improved generation!
  • WaywardmikeWaywardmike Forumite
    88 Posts
    Seventh Anniversary 10 Posts
    After some thought I'd decided not too, and when I got home they actually didn't look as bad as I originally thought.

    This morning they did look terrible again though so I'm guessing it's an angle of the sun/where I'm standing next to my car thing in the morning.

    I didn't consider minerals in the water, something tells me they'd be much harder to remove than dust, I'll just leave it till it rains and see how they clean up.

    Thanks for your thoughts everyone. :)
    4 Kwp System, South Facing, 35 Degree Pitch, 16 x 250W Solarworld Panels, SMA Sunnyboy 3600 Inverter, Installed 02/09/14 in Sunny South Bedford - £5600
  • Just a quick update, we had the installation and asked the guys about cleaning while they were here installing them. The one in charge assured us it wouldn't be a problem although re-iterated whats already been said on the thread about using the right water.
  • nigelpmnigelpm Forumite
    433 Posts
    utterly pointless I'd say. Rain will wash away.
  • groovyfgroovyf Forumite
    286 Posts
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    ...and if the wind and rain of the last few days hasn't worked like a windscreen wiper, I don't know what will! :D
    4kWp system (Feb 2014) : 1.5 SW, 2.5 NE (16x Bisol BMO/250, Aurora Power-One UNO PVI-3.6 Inverter : pvoutput.org/list.jsp?id=29935
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