The price of solar panel cleaning seems to vary massively, perhaps because the industry as whole is still in its early days. What does solar panel cleaning cost and, perhaps more importantly, what should solar panel cleaning cost?
What solar panel cleaning costs the customer
A quick Google search throws up a plethora of companies offering solar panel cleaning. A total of 1,690,000 pages for the UK alone! What is soon evident is how some companies word their offers, buried in a lot of technical jargon. What are some of the solar panel cleaning prices out there?
One company claims that a £30 investment could see returns of £1500! This implies that (for £30) you get an added £1500 worth of electricity. This is not true! An average 4kW system will only make about £1200 in total over a whole year. A £30 clean will not do the same!
Another company offers solar panel cleaning for systems of 4kW and less for a standard price of £125.00 plus VAT. For a 16 panel system, which are most common, that's getting on for a whopping £10.00 per panel! At that price, a solar panel owner would be better off just letting their solar panels get dirty - their reduction in electricity production would cost them less! The same company's price guide also states that cleaning a typical 50kW system would cost £525.00 + VAT. Again, the benefits of cleaning the system can not outweigh the costs at those sorts of prices.
What does solar panel cleaning cost the company carrying out the cleaning?
The initial set up costs for solar panel cleaning on a professional basis runs into thousands of pounds. There are the vehicle and equipment costs, a filtration system and associated running costs, insurance, fuel and of course labour costs. There is of course the risk of electrocution to be taken into account and you are more than entitled to ask what measures the solar panel cleaner will be taking to minimise this risk.
The 3 factors your solar panel cleaner will take into account when providing you a price are:
- Accessibility How easy is it to clean your solar panels? The more difficult to clean, the more it will cost.
- Frequency How often will you have your solar panels cleaned? The price for a one-off clean will be considerably more than that of a regular 6-monthly clean.
- Dirt Accumulation How dirty have your panels become since they were installed? An experienced solar panel cleaner will always ask when the panels were installed and if they have been cleaned before. From that, he will use his experience to recommend a cleaning schedule tailored to your solar panels. For most installs this will be 6 monthly, but it may be as often as every 3 months.
Because solar panels are generally cleaned 6-monthly, the prices are not like window cleaning which is done with much higher frequency. You are unlikely to receive a quote of less than £35 to have your solar panels cleaned even on the most straight-forward of installations. You should expect to pay a premium price for solar panel cleaning, but a premium price is not a sky-high price. Find a cleaner who offers you a reasonable price and matches it with a reliable, high quality service.
You have paid to have your solar panels put on the roof, don't let the costs of solar panel cleaning now mean you pay though the roof!
Posted on June 2, 2013
by Steve Williams filed under