Solar panel maintenance is relatively easy and low cost considering that solar panels do not incorporate any mechanical moving parts. However, maintaining your solar panels in tip top condition is of significant importance for maintaining a high performance of the photovoltaic cell. Herein you will learn how to clean solar panels easily and effectively!
Solar panels generate electricity when exposed to sunlight. Solar panel efficiency, and generated electricity, is greatly influenced when exposure of solar cells to sunlight is reduced. Thus, dirt, accumulated dust, and other particles, such as bird droppings, can significantly reduce solar panel output. In general, accumulated dirt on the solar panel glass, acts as a coating that greatly reduces exposure to sunlight influencing negatively solar panel efficiency and operational lifetime. Empirical data suggests that performing effective solar panel cleaning can improve solar panel efficiency by 100%, while cleaning them every 8 months can yield an improvement of 30-40%. To illustrate this imagine a solar panel that has been operating without any cleaning for a whole year. Cleaning it after a year for the first time may double its output.
If you are trying to calculate the cost of cleaning your solar panels you must consider the equivalent extra income in the case of cleaned solar panels. Considering that properly cleaned and maintained solar panels will produce approximately 15-25% more electricity than ‘dirty’ solar panels it is easy to understand the economics. You may consider that a solar panel cleaner that charges you the same amount you earn in addition by maintaining your solar panels clean, (e.g. say 15% more kwh x $ rate per kwh), strictly speaking, is a proposal you are indifferent to since it leaves you with no net additional income. Any charge less than that, is considered an economically preferred option! In general, if you are having a rough time cleaning your solar panels yourself, it is advisable to seek professional help provided you do the math and secure a positive extra income. Since solar panel cleaning can influence solar panel efficiency it is directly affecting the economic performance of your solar panel investment. To get a better understanding on this you may want to see how much solar panels cost.
Cleaning your solar panels requires common sense; as already illustrated, accumulated dirt and filth may form a dirt-coat on your solar panels influencing negatively your solar panels’ performance. In general you may consider cleaning your solar panels depending on the weather conditions and circumstances of your location. It is recommended to schedule cleaning your solar panels around twice a year aiming at a 5%-6% increased output compared to the case of leaving them uncleaned. Of course this is subject to location specific circumstances such as pollution from factories or airports or from ‘dirty’ landscape.
In general, you should fine tune your solar panel cleaning by monitoring your solar panels’ performance before and after cleaning them. This way you will be able to establish the best time and season for cleaning your solar panels as well as how often you should clean them.