“Can my window cleaner clean my solar panels?” is a good question. Probably a more relevant question is “Should my window cleaner clean my solar panels?” In the vast majority of cases, the answer will be ‘No’. Why not?
Many window cleaners advertise solar panel cleaning as a service. Despite them having equipment to reach to clean your solar panels, it may not be a good idea. Firstly, having your window cleaner clean your solar panels can be dangerous. Secondly, they may damage your solar array. Here we give you the top 5 reasons why.
Does Your Window Cleaner Understand The Risks Of Solar Panel Cleaning?
Due to their nature, solar panels carry an inherent risk of electrocution. Window cleaners generally do not have any kind of electrical training. They may be blissfully unaware of the risks that they are exposing themselves and your solar array to. Electrocution is the main risk. Faulty wiring, earthing problems and broken solar panels can all cause the framework of the solar panels to become ‘live’. When your window cleaner cleans your solar panels, they will likely do this with a carbon pole. Carbon conducts electricity. You have a fault on your solar panels, it is very possible that your window cleaner will suffer an electric shock. You may be liable for a claim from them if your system is found to be poorly maintained and/or faulty.
Are all Window Cleaners Insured For This?
Your solar panels are a costly investment, around the same cost as a decent family car. If damage occurs, it can be costly to repair. There are several things that can go wrong during cleaning. Firstly, your window cleaner may not understand the electrocution risk and be electrocuted. This may also damage your system. Secondly, they may break or dislodge a panel that is already loose. It is possible for other damage to be done too whilst cleaning your solar panels. If your window cleaner is not insured, will you not be able to make a claim for the damage. Many window cleaning policies do not include solar panel cleaning as a standard part of their policy.
Ask your window cleaner for a copy of their insurance prior to letting them clean your solar panels. Check that they are covered for solar panel cleaning. If they are not and damage occurs, you will be left with the repair bill.
Can Your Window Cleaner Provide Evidence of Training For Solar Panel Cleaning?
Like all work on electrical equipment, solar panel cleaning requires a decent amount of knowledge. Virtually all electrical equipment carries a warning that maintenance should only be carried out by qualified people. Solar panel cleaning is no different. All solar panel cleaners, including your window cleaner, should be able to provide a copy of electrical awareness training as proof of their competency.
Is Your Window Cleaner Going To Wear The Correct PPE When Cleaning Your Solar Panels?
PPE has become synonymous with face masks.. However, other PPE is required of your window cleaner is going to protect themselves from electric shock. You should ask what PPE they will wear during the cleaning of your solar panels. If they say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘None’, you should not let them proceed. They do not have enough knowledge to be cleaning your solar panels in a safe manner. Therefore, you should not allow them to do it, for their sakes and your own.
Can Your Window Cleaner Provide A Risk Assessment & Method Statement (RAMS) For The Job?
This is more important on commercial solar panel cleaning, but applies to residential cleaning too. However exerienced your window cleaner claims to be, they should be able to give you a RAMS. In fact, the more experienced they are, the more willing they should be to give you one. It is a sign of professionalism. A RAMS will tell you a few things. Firstly, it will highlight the risks involved with your solar panels cleaning. Secondly, it will highlight how they will reduce those risks as they work. This is the ‘RA’ risk assessment part of the document. Thirdly, the ‘MS’ Method Statement part should explain their working method. When reading, you should be able to visualise how your window cleaner will clean your solar panels safely.
Below is a typical example of how window cleaners clean solar panels in an unsafe way. This method is disregarding health and safety advice to maintain 3 points of contact on a ladder. This method contravenes the Working at Height Regualtions 2005.
It is highly likely that your window cleaner is not up to the task of cleaning your solar panels. They should be cleaned by professionals who can provide the following:
- A copy of a public liability insurance document with ‘Solar Panel Cleaning’ specifically in the wording.
- Evidence of training by way of a solar panel cleaning training course certificate or electrical awareness safety certificate
- A RAMS, explaining the risks of solar panel cleaning and how they will reduce those risks. It also gives an explanation of how they will clean your solar panels
- An explanation of the PPE they will wear to protect themselves from electrocution and your system from damage
If your window cleaner cannot provide the above, DO NOT let them clean your solar panels. It doesn’t matter how much experience they have of window cleaning. Window cleaning is not the same as solar panel cleaning. With solar panel cleaning there is more risk and more cost, should someting go wrong.
Clean Solar Solutions provide award winning solar panel cleaning, having been awarded ‘U.K. Solar O&M Provider of the Year’. Our staff are fully insured and trained to clean solar panels, including removing lichen from solar panels.