Do you have to clean solar panels before proofing?


When Peter the Possum Man is asked to fit “proofing” around solar panels, the work is usually done after the home owner has discovered pigeons or possums living under the panels; then we fit mesh around all sides of the solar panels.

In many cases it is obvious that the substantial mess created on the roof, particularly by pigeons, has to be removed just before the proofing is installed, since the droppings of birds are very corrosive on iron roofs.

The Mesh

We install allows air to circulate and lets the rain run through but over time any loose material that has accumulated under the panels will be washed down the sloping face of the roof until it collects on the inside of the new proofing mesh.

So it is possible for sufficient material to collect and create a barrier that reduces water flow particularly during storms. For this reason, even for a roof that from a quick visual inspection may seem to be “clean”, we strongly recommend pressure washing under the panels and a good clean of their solar working surfaces.

This will postpone for as long as possible any accumulation of material. So the benefits are aesthetic as well as avoiding increased risk of corrosion.

Even on tiled roofs the recommendation still applies because although corrosion may be of less concern, the many small gaps in the joints between tiles mean that even small blockages of drainage can encourage water to find its way into a roof.

After a few years, when a clean of the solar panel surfaces is required, any material that has collected along the runs of proofing mesh will be sufficiently small that it can be removed during the same pressure washing process.

Given the installation costs of solar panels and the importance of roof maintenance, a thorough clean of the panels and the space below them is a relatively small additional cost to avoid serious longer term problems.