Home Forums General Discussion PV panel maintenance Reply To: PV panel maintenance

Adam Reid

Hi Lois and Vicki,

I don’t have solar panels but have removed lichen from the greenhouse roof plenty of times so I think the same principles will apply. I note there are companies that provide solar panel cleaning services if you don’t fancy doing it yourself.

Because lichen is a fungus living in association with an algae most things that kills fungus will also work on lichen. Good old white vinegar will kill it, but just like killing mould in the home you still need to scrub with soapy water to remove the lichen so I don’t think that there is any real advantage to killing it first.

One thing I know from experience is that lichen scrubs off more easily when it is wet and spongy as it much softer and breaks apart more easily. When it is dry, hard and leathery it is much more difficult. So following some damp winter weather you would find it easier to remove. Alternatively, hose it down a few times to keep it wet for a few hours before removing.

As a preventative hosing/cleaning the panels regularly to remove dust and pollen will help.

You could experiment with applying a hydrophobic coating (available online). In theory this would help the dust and pollen to wash off more easily in the rain and would keep the surface of the panels drier. You would need to check that it won’t affect the performance of the panels though. I don’t have any experience of the effectiveness of this though so it would be purely experimental.