Retrofitting protection for solar panels  

Many households in the UK have installed solar panels, but debris buildup under the panels can cause issues, explains James Robinson, sales and marketing director of Samac Fixings. 

Solar care

An ever-increasing number of households are turning to solar panels to reduce their environmental footprint and rein in skyrocketing heating costs. Data from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) suggests around 1.3 million homes have solar panel installations.

There is good reason to adopt this technology. Modern solar panels can generate a significant amount of energy, even on overcast days. This, coupled with rising concerns about energy security and climate change, has led to a surge in demand for solar installations nationwide. 

The rise in solar panel installations presents an excellent opportunity for expansion and diversification. As more homeowners and businesses opt for solar energy solutions, the demand for experienced professionals capable of installing and maintaining these systems is at an all-time high. But beneath the gleaming promise of solar energy lies a hidden challenge – maintenance.  

Environment ripe for mould and rot

From soggy leaves to unyielding dirt, the stubborn debris that accumulates under the solar panels can create an environment ripe for mould and rot, jeopardising the structural integrity of a roof and its capacity to support the panels’ weight.  

Moreover, these panels offer irresistible nesting spots and perfect perches for birds. This leads to corrosive droppings gathering beneath and on top of the panels in gutters and patios below. Some solutions to stop this involve drilling onto the panels, increasing the risk of extremely costly damage and voiding the panel warranty. 

Samac fittings (above)

Ways to help avoid these issues include:

Certainly, here are five ways to avoid debris buildup on your solar panels:

  1. Regular cleaning: Schedule routine cleaning sessions to remove dirt, leaves, and debris from your solar panels. Use a soft brush or a specialised solar panel cleaning kit to ensure gentle yet effective cleaning.
  2. Install Guards: Consider installing guards or bird deterrents around your solar panels. These guards can help prevent birds from nesting and keep debris from accumulating beneath the panels.
  3. Trim nearby trees: If you have trees near your solar panels, trim them to minimise the number of leaves and branches that fall onto the panels. Pruning trees can significantly reduce the debris issue.
  4. Professional maintenance: Hire a professional solar panel maintenance service to regularly inspect and clean your panels. They have the expertise and equipment to ensure thorough cleaning without damaging the panels.
  5. Use debris guards: Invest in debris guards designed for solar panels. These guards can be attached to the highest row of panels, preventing debris from accumulating underneath. Make sure to choose guards compatible with your panel type.

With the growing number of households turning to solar panels to reduce their environmental impact and slash soaring heating bills, this is a good opportunity for renewable energy installers to add value to their customers and protect solar panels for years.