IF YOU really want to clean up on your energy savings with solar panels – and you can – you need to make sure you are catching the maximum rays on a daily basis.
Come winter, when the heating bills soar for the non-solar world, making the most of that weaker winter sun means making sure your panels are clean.
Like everything else on your roof, your solar panels will have a veneer of dust, dirt, leaves, bird droppings, salt and road pollutants dulling their surface.
And potentially causing a significant drop in the solar energy available for conversion into power for your house.
Enter Nipper and Sally Power and their business EcoKleenSolar – which is covering the region from Echuca-Moama to Shepparton.
The latest Climate Council report reveals there are more than 290,000 Victorian households now with solar installations – and that’s just the residential numbers.
“When we were researching about solar panels for ourselves we didn’t realise they need a regular clean and inspection program to ensure they are working efficiently,” Nipper said.
“That’s when we realised there was really no one offering this professional service to locals in the Echuca to Shepparton region,” he said.
Bosch, a world leader in solar technology, specify in its care and maintenance manual that panels that are soiled or dirty in places should be cleaned every six months.
But it’s not necessarily a job for the fainthearted and very semi handy man, or woman.
“You have to take care, any work at height comes with a lot of risk and the average homeowner should not get up on their roof to clean their panels – we don’t want people hurting themselves.”
Nipper said he was required to undertake specific training to get accredited to work safely at heights and use all of the necessary safety equipment before he was able to launch his business.
“It’s also important to follow the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning procedures or you may void your warranty.”
Sally said an easy way to understand the problem is to look at your car.
“Imagine how your car would look if you left it out in the weather for six months – and never cleaned it,” she said.
“Well, that’s how your solar panels will look as well.
“Anything preventing sunlight getting into the cells within the solar panels means they are not performing to their optimum output.
“If you don’t properly remove that layer of grime you are costing yourself money.”
However, it seems as though the region’s locals are fast learners.
Nipper said as the word has started spreading they are seeing a lot more of the region from its rooftops.