Solar panel cleaning (lichen, moss etc) - the big imponderable

Any up to date thoughts on the best way to tackle moss and lichen on solar panels - and for that matter the general question of keeping them clean?

It's a long time since ours were installed and they really do need cleaning.  Manufacturers all seem to say water only (no chemicals) and no brushes - but reality says that chemicals and brushing are probably the only way to remove lichen.

What's the current thinking on this, and what are long-term owners doing about cleaning - if anything?
«1

Comments

  • JKenH
    JKenH Posts: 4,792 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Mine are quite high and a struggle to reach but I bought a very, very long (around10m) pole with a brush and water feed attached. It is very difficult to manoeuvre as something very light when 10m long becomes very heavy. (Ok, that’s not great terminology but I hope you get what I mean).  I just use mains water. 
    Northern Lincolnshire. 7.8 kWp system, (4.2 kw west facing panels , 3.6 kw east facing), Solis inverters, Solar IBoost water heater, Mitsubishi SRK35ZS-S and SRK20ZS-S Wall Mounted Inverter Heat Pumps, ex Nissan Leaf owner)
  • gefnew
    gefnew Posts: 876 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    The general rule is not to use tap water.
  • The_Green_Hornet
    The_Green_Hornet Posts: 1,430 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited 21 June 2022 at 6:50PM
    My installation is coming up to being 12 years old and I haven't cleaned my panels, or plan on getting them cleaned, but then I haven't noticed any build up of moss/lichen or seen a reduction in generation.

    I suppose the question is are you seeing a significant reduction in generation and if so would the cost of cleaning them be recovered.
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,822 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Photogenic Name Dropper
    As far as I can tell from ground level, mine might be a bit dusty (and there's definitely lichen on the return surface of the frames) but there's no growth of anything.
    I suspect they get too hot to support meaningful life.
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
    Taking a break, hope to be back eventually.
    Ofgem cap table, Ofgem cap explainer. Economy 7 cap explainer. Gas vs E7 vs peak elec heating costs.
  • paul991
    paul991 Posts: 362 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post
    mine are now  7 yrs  old and the  rain keeps  them as  good as  new,<Canadian solar> if i ever needed  to clean then id  only ever use rain water not tap due  to limescale   
  • Ectophile
    Ectophile Posts: 7,331 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    I did have mine cleaned when I had the gutters cleared (pigeon problems!).  There was a noticeable increase in output when he'd finished the cleaning.  Not huge, but noticeable.

    He used purified water and a brush to do it.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • EcoScruples
    EcoScruples Posts: 390 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post Photogenic
    I washed the orange sand off mine with plenty of rinsing and a soft micro fibre cloth on an extendable handle, don't think I'll bother again, I'll let the rain do the job for me.
    4.3kwp JA panels, Huawei 3.68kw Hybrid inverter, Huawei 10kw Lunar 2000 battery, Myenergi eddi, South facing array with a 15 degree roof pitch, winter shade.
  • JKenH
    JKenH Posts: 4,792 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    I was aware of the advice not to use tap water but unless you have a professional window cleaning set up I am not sure how else you are going to get water onto the roof of a two storey house. I am open to suggestions.
    Northern Lincolnshire. 7.8 kWp system, (4.2 kw west facing panels , 3.6 kw east facing), Solis inverters, Solar IBoost water heater, Mitsubishi SRK35ZS-S and SRK20ZS-S Wall Mounted Inverter Heat Pumps, ex Nissan Leaf owner)
  • Doc_N
    Doc_N Posts: 8,270 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post Photogenic First Anniversary
    JKenH said:
    I was aware of the advice not to use tap water but unless you have a professional window cleaning set up I am not sure how else you are going to get water onto the roof of a two storey house. I am open to suggestions.
    Good point! They use 'pure water' don't they, but anyone costed a professional lately? My worry would be potential damage.
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,822 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Photogenic Name Dropper
    edited 21 June 2022 at 8:13PM
    JKenH said:
    I was aware of the advice not to use tap water but unless you have a professional window cleaning set up I am not sure how else you are going to get water onto the roof of a two storey house. I am open to suggestions.
    I've got a rainwater butt, so that covers the "pure water" requirement. Maybe get one of my kids to pump enthusiastically with one of these?
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/353574401274
    Or maybe one of these for the pressure washer (you could probably build your own for half the price):
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/123763208451
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
    Taking a break, hope to be back eventually.
    Ofgem cap table, Ofgem cap explainer. Economy 7 cap explainer. Gas vs E7 vs peak elec heating costs.
Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 343.2K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.1K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.7K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.3K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 608K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173.1K Life & Family
  • 247.9K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards