Reasons to clean solar panels:
- Energy savings of 15-30% when the panels are clean
- Increase the life span of panels, protect your investment!
- Aesthetics- Panels look better when they are clean
- Neglect possibly voids guarantee
Some concerns to be addressed as cleaning of solar panels is being considered:
- Mineral deposit buildup can occur with a simple “hose down” over time. Have you ever noticed the etched glass that occurs when a sprinkler head hits a window for a protracted period of time? Permanent damage can occur.
- Panels aren’t fully cleaned without purified water and a scrub, and if very dirty, a “solar panel cleaner” may be advisable.
- Electrical danger and falls from roof areas are a perennial concern for the “do it yourselfers.”
The cleaner the surface of the panel, the more unobstructed surface, the more the sun has to “work with.” How often should you clean your solar panels? That depends on where you live-if there is a lot of construction in your area, if you live in a windy desert or if you have lots of particulates in your air you will probably need to clean them more often. Some areas need a monthly washing, while other areas can get away with twice a year.
The more often you clean, you might even be able to get away with just rinsing maybe with some “soft water,” assuming you don’t have built up bird droppings or caked on dirt. A good scrub down and that meter may be spinning backwards. If your meter is spinning forwards in the middle of the day with the sun brightly shining, it means either you have a lot of appliances on or your panels are not doing their job. If the panels aren’t doing their job, then you’re losing money.
Dust on solar panels does a lot more than just make them look bad. According to Larry Greenemeier writing in Scientific American, “[a] dust layer of 4 grams per square meter can decrease solar power conversion by 40 percent,” citing research conducted at Boston University.
Next time I blog… “Some cleaning options”