The purpose of having solar panels is to utilize the sun to produce power for your home or business. If a solar panel is not exposed to the sun, then it is unable to produce power. If excessive dirt and debris buildup on solar panels they can block the panels from the sun's rays. This is where the question arises: should I clean my solar panels?
Why should I clean my solar panels?
Solar panels are designed to convert solar energy into electricity and to keep that production efficient, the panels need to receive as much exposure to sunshine as possible. While air quality, which can impact the amount of debris that accumulates on solar panels, varies across the country, the basic concept of cleaner panels producing electricity more efficiently holds true no matter where you reside. Dust will settle, pollen will cling, dirt will gather, and bird droppings will...drop. These factors will harm the output of your solar panels.
Do YOUR solar panels need cleaning?
Whether solar panels should be cleaned will, in large part, depend on how the panels are set up. If the panels are flat, cleaning will be a necessity. If the panels are tilted, rain might be able to do the bulk of the cleaning on your behalf.
At Google's headquarters in Mountainview, CA, a 1.6 MW solar farm was installed in 2007. In typical Google fashion, they conducted a case study, gathering large amounts of data on these solar panels and came to two significant conclusions: their flat solar panels needed to be actively cleaned while their tilted panels did not. The panels were cleaned for the first time 15 months after installation. The flat panels doubled production overnight. When cleaned again eight months later, production increased by 36% right away. Since these particular panels were laid flat, the rain couldn't wash all the debris away - plus, these panels were installed across from a sandlot, which didn't help.
On the other hand, their tilted panels only gathered dirt in the corners and cleaning them didn't significantly increase output - rain was doing a decent job of cleaning off these panels.
How should solar panels be cleaned?
If you have solar panels that require cleaning, keep in mind that scratching or otherwise damaging the panels will harm their efficiency. Be gentle by cleaning with a soft cloth or sponge, dish soap, and warm water.
If the solar panels are high off the ground, then this can increase your danger during the cleansing process. Consider hiring a professional solar panel cleaner to do the job. HomePro Match can help you find a contractor in your area!