Home Improvement

How to Handle Mould on Solar Panel Frames?


Solar panels are a fantastic investment for generating solar energy for your house or business. However, some external conditions, like mould growth over the solar panels, can reduce their ability to perform at best. Beyond breaking down the panel’s functionality, moulds are one of those organic matters that can harm the surface of the metal panels. 

While it is true that prevention is very much the key to avoiding mould growth on these gentle surfaces, some natural conditions can support its growth. For this reason, mould removal in the right way is important to protect the solar panels. 

In this guide, we’ll explore practical strategies for preventing and removing mould from solar panel frames and ensuring your solar system operates at peak performance. Let’s dive in as we help all homeowners and businesses protect their solar panel efficiency. 

Understanding Mould Growth on Solar Panels

Mould thrive in moist and warm environments and can accumulate on solar panels and their frames, particularly in humid climates or areas with a lot of rainfall. There are thousands of mould species, each with different colours, such as black, brown, green, white, or yellow. 

Moulds are tiny spores that move slowly through the air. However, once mould infestation occurs on solar panels, these can be hard to remove. Having said that, prevention and mould removal during the initial signs of their growth is important to tackle them for life.  

Let us walk you through all the conditions that serve as the breeding ground for mould to appear and sit for a long time. 

  • Presence of Moisture

Different types of moulds love moisture. When the solar panels are exposed to dew and fog, they can become damp, especially during early morning hours or in a humid climate. This moisture can become a place for mould spores to grow large.

  • Improper Drainage:

If the solar panels are not installed at a particular angle, especially on a tilted roof, rainwater can pool on the surface and welcome mould species to form gradually. 

3. Uncleaned Organic Matter 

Organic waste like leaves, dirt, and bird droppings is the major concern behind mould growth on solar panels. When you fail to schedule monthly solar panel cleaning or clean these wastes off the panels, they start to decompose. These decomposed matter, along with the moisture in the air, can attract mould to grow and look displeasing to the eye. 

4. Shaded Solar Panels

Solar panels installed close to trees or nearby buildings get shade with no direct sunlight. As these areas retain moisture, it can be a significant factor behind the presence of mould on solar frames.

Preventing Mould Growth

  • Proper Installation

Ensure that you install solar panels at a 15-30-degree tilt with adequate spacing to prevent them from water pooling issues. A slight tilt ensures that water runs off the panels and doesn’t allow mould growth. Have a professional assess the installation site to determine the best angle for your location.

  • Regular Cleaning

Regular solar panel cleaning is the best way to prevent mould build-up. Depending on your local environment, cleaning them at least once a year should be sufficient; however, more frequent cleaning may be necessary in particularly damp areas.

  • Trim Overhanging Branches

Shades from trees can reduce sunlight and promote moisture accumulation on solar panels, both of which encourage mould growth. It is best to trim overhanging leaves, branches, and plants surrounding the panels. You can also place gravel or mulch at the base of panel supports to decrease the growth of weeds and grasses. 

How to Remove Mould from Solar Panels?

Before we start understanding the cleaning process, let’s gather all the materials and tools for an effective solar panel cleaning.

  • A soft brush or a non-abrasive sponge
  • Hose with a nozzle for gentle spraying
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Protective gloves
  • Safety ladder

Now, let’s start with the step-by-step mould-cleaning process.

1. Safety First

Turn off the solar panel before starting your cleaning. This is crucial for your safety against electrical hazards and the protection of the solar panels.

2. Initial Rinse

Gently rinse the solar panels with plain water using a hose. This helps to loosen any large pieces of debris and dirt from the frames and panels.

3. Apply a Mild Cleaning Solution

Mix a small amount of biodegradable soap with water and apply it to the mouldy areas using a soft brush. Avoid harsh chemicals which can damage the solar panel’s surface.

4. Scrub Gently

Use the brush to scrub the mould off the frame carefully. Be gentle to avoid scratching the panels or damaging the frame.

5. Rinse Again

Thoroughly rinse the panels and frame with water to remove soap and loose mould. Ensure to wash away all soap suds, as they can leave residues that might affect the panel’s performance.

6. Dry and Inspect

Allow the panels and frame to air dry. Inspect the frames again. Repeat the cleaning process if necessary.

When to Call in Professionals?

Sometimes, removing mould can be difficult and beyond the scope of DIY cleaning methods. Calling professionals for an effective treatment is a safe practice if you encounter these reasons. 

  • If a mould covers a significant area.
  • Presence of mould on hard-to-reach surfaces.
  • If the mould keeps coming back after an effective cleaning.
  • If the mould removal process is attacking your health and causing you severe allergies.

Final Words

Regularly cleaning and inspecting solar panels for mould growth is key to maintaining and keeping their energy efficiency for a long time. When you follow the steps outlined above for effective mould removal, you can protect your investment and continue to enjoy the benefits of clean, renewable energy. Remember, the cleaner your solar setup, the more efficiently it converts sunlight into energy.

If DIY methods don’t work for you, using professional expertise is always a safe and effective measure to remain stress-free. Call Exterior Clean Melbourne today.

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