Does Your Solar Lease Cover Panel Maintenance
In general, solar lease agreements will include a maintenance clause of some sort. Some companies will perform regular maintenance on their panels, and others will repair damages the customer reports. It is important to remember that solar panels generally require little maintenance, and simply spraying your panels down with a hose occasionally can do the trick.
How Frequently Should You Clean Solar Panels
Most professionals or manufacturers will tell you to clean your panels approximately every 6 months.
While this is a helpful guideline, the truth is simply this location dictates everything.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to solar panel cleaning frequency. You need to consider your immediate environment as well as the harshness of the seasons in your area.
For instance, a solar system that is in close proximity to the sea will require more cleaning due to the salt crust that forms on outside surfaces.
Your panels will also require extra cleaning if youre in a particularly pollen-heavy area.
In the end, be mindful of the outside conditions and pay attention to general surfaces that are exposed to the elements. If things are looking very dirty, chances are your solar panels will be too.
Do Solar Panels Need To Be Maintained
Solar panel maintenance isnt that hard, but its essential. Your solar panels are a key component in the power generation process. Keeping them clean to allow for more surface area and not shaded with trees will help with the efficiency and longevity of your solar energy systems. During heavy periods of snowfall, some maintenance may need to be done.Solar panels are easier to clean than roof shingles, concrete, or brick. They are not prone to rusting like metal-based systems.
Also Check: How To Apply For Federal Solar Tax Credit
How Does Weather Affect Solar Energy
As you know, the sun is the only source that can make your solar panels work and produce power for utilization. So, whatever that comes in between the solar panel and the sunrays, causes interruption and affects the overall output. For instance, in the rainy season, the solar panels output is usually less than in other seasons, for obvious reasons.
On the other hand, if you believe that the solar panels perform well when the outside temperature is high, its not correct. Like any other machine, solar panels also perform their best when they are cool. Yes, the temperatures will surely be high during the daytime as the sun rays directly fall on the panel. But, as the temperature rises, the voltage of the solar panels decreases gradually affecting the overall power output.
Solar Panel Maintenance & Inspections
As mentioned, these systems will not demand much care throughout their lifetime. Cleaning is the primary concern. This equipment typically comes with a monitoring option which you can watch and measure yourself. With this monitoring ability, you can catch dips in energy output and equipment failures right away. If you notice a change, an inspection by a local professional is the best way to make sure you solve the problem correctly. If you don’t notice a change, an annual inspection could still turn up issues and you’ll be glad you caught before they became more serious. Small cracks, for example, could leak moisture into your panels at a slow rate, causing failure that requires expensive repairs.
During an annual inspection, which averages $150, the contractor will check important components. They will search for corrosion, wear and loose wiring and bolts. They may find cracks in your panels or broken glass and suggest repair work or replacement. Solar panel repair costs average$650. Your inspector may also find that tree branches or new construction are obstructing the system’s sun exposure. They may suggest tree trimming or even relocating your system on the roof.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Carbon Footprint Of Making A Solar Panel
Do Solar Panels Need Regular Cleaning To Maintain Top Efficiency Or Does The Occasional Rainstorm Get The Job Done
The truth is, it depends. In some cases, rain or snow may clean most of the dust buildup, but in certain conditions, it could do more harm than good. In both dry climates and more humid ones, environmental factors, different types of dust, and location and installation factors will all influence:
Solar Power Equipment And Maintenance Safety First
The best way to get the job done is on the ground with a long-handled implement. But if thats not possible and you choose to go on the roof, you must take precautions.
For example, a rope should be attached to a safety harness to prevent falling to the ground a method often used by professionals.
Additionally, no one should be on a roof without a hard hat and a safety harness. It is a potentially fatal environment. Check out this advice about working at these heights before you start. The task of solar panels cleaning is not worth your life!
Recommended Reading: How Much To Add Solar Panels To House
Why Clean Your Solar Panels
The positioning of solar panels on roofs or in open spaces means theyre usually exposed to everything. So depending on your location, climate, and installation factors, its not uncommon to see bird droppings, leaves, pollen, dust, and even grime covering the surface of solar panels.
And as youve probably figured out, anything that stops light from passing through isnt good for your panels efficiency. Thats why experts recommend cleaning solar panels at least two times a year.
Dust is the most common culprit when it comes to cleaning panels in the country. But even then, its effect on a panels efficiency isnt as devastating as it may seem at first glance.
Researchers from the University of San Diego found that the average dirty panel loses about 0.05% of its daily production. For a 5 kW system, thats around a $20 loss on electricity bills over three months.
Another study conducted in Spain measured an average performance drop of only 4.4% after a years worth of dust accumulation. Most people wont notice this drop unless they have a much larger system or the dust accumulates for at least a year.
This explains why homeowners need to clean solar panels it helps keep your solar system operating at maximum efficiency.
The decision for solar panel cleaning will also depend on:
Who Is Responsible For Solar Maintenance
If you are leasing your system, the solar company will be responsible for repairs and regular maintenance. If you own your system you will most likely be responsible. Unless you bundle an annual inspection and maintenance agreement, cleaning and inspecting the system are usually not included in the warranty.
Will Neglecting Solar Panel Cleaning Cost Me Money
It is reasonable to assume that solar panels can lose 15-25% of their efficiency if not cleaned properly.
This literally means that they will generate 15-25% less electricity, which you now will have to source from the utility company at their price rates. This easily adds a couple of years extra to the payback time.
Can It Improve Efficiency
We have for years now, been monitoring the increases in efficiency that solar panel cleaning can bring. We frequently see sizeable increases of solar efficiency on agricultural sites, of up to 30%. This has been proved by clients who have sent readings to prove solar panel cleaning has increased the output and efficiency of their array. Operations & maintenance departments of solar companies that we have cleaned solar panels for have also reported similar increases in efficiency from solar panel cleaning.
On industrial and commercial sites, we have seen increases of up to 60% and on residential arrays of up to 21%.
Our own findings are confirmed by the World Academy of Science, Engineering & Technology, who say a drop in the efficiency of a solar PV panel is not desired. One of the contributing factors in the drop of efficiency in solar PV panels is the accumulated dust on the solar panel. In practice, dust must be removed from the surface of solar PV panels in order to ensure highest performance. Solar Energy Power Association notes that dirty solar panels can lose 20% of their energy output. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory puts that figure even higher, at 25%. Recent university research has shown that a dirty solar panel can lose 50% of its efficiency compared to a clean solar panel.
Why Clean Solar Panels
How Do I Know When My Solar Panels Need Cleaning
Do a monthly visual inspection to look for any noticeable dust buildup. Also, you can watch your electric bill or check your solar system monitoring app for any noticeable drop in production. Only then should you worry about cleaning your solar panels. And even then, nature is most likely going to clean them for you.
Shut Down Your System Entirely
Before you start cleaning the Solar Panels, you must ensure that all the power connections are disabled first. You cant continue to wash a Solar Panel while it is still active as it can be highly dangerous. If you have a DC system installed in your home, you will have to completely shut it down. And, in the case of AC systems, shutting down the main switch of solar supply will be good enough to proceed.
How To Clean Those Dusty Dirty Solar Panels
1. Be sure to check your panel manufacturer instructions for shutting down the system before cleaning, if necessary. Try not to go on the roof to clean your system. Its risky both for you and your panels.
2. Brushing any loose dirt off before spraying them with water will make the squeegeeing process quicker and easier.
3. A good nozzle attachment on your garden hose might work just fine. If a lot of dust and dirt has accumulated, you might need to clean more thoroughly. Try to clean with squeegee extension like this one. If youre interested in the whole kit and kaboodle for home solar cleaning equipment, Mr. LongArm is one of the most popular.
4. Dont use metal objects, abrasive products or detergents. Scratches on a solar panel can create shadows and affect efficiency. Simply use clean water and a cloth-covered sponge or soft plastic brush.
5. Rainwater is low in mineral content, but some people have hard water or mineral-rich water from the tap. If this is the case for you, just be sure to squeegee the panels dry to avoid mineral deposits and streaking.
Safety Tips For Diyers
In between getting a professional team like Royal Flush in, there are a few simple ways you can help your system out.
The average bit of dust will be cleaned away by the rain and it wont be worth getting the professional cleaners in. If you are in a heavily polluted area, or there could be some extra dirt or obscuring objects up there, break out the garden hose and clean the panels down, keeping your feet on the ground.
If something is not budging or you need to clean a whole lot of grime and bird poop off the array, then follow the safety precautions and get up there when its a cool day and you have a safety harness and hard hat.
Use a sponge with washing-up liquid to clean the area gently. Ultimately, you may decide to leave cleaning to the professionals and just make spot checks to see how badly they need some upkeep.
One solution to prevent you having to climb up on a ladder to inspect the system could be to have a professional company install a CCTV camera pointed at the panels so you can see for yourself when they need cleaning.
Why Cleaning Your Solar Panels Is Important
Out on the roof, your solar panels can accumulate layers of:
- bird droppings
These stop daylight from getting through to the panels, which makes them less efficient.
However, there is debate over whether cleaning is necessary. Some people recommend yearly cleaning, while others say its only needed if:
- where you live is particularly dusty
- your roof is exposed to bird droppings or trees
Unfortunately, letting the rain do the job might not work. Rainfall can actually worsen the situation by washing dust into the corners of the panels. This causes them to heat up, which again lessens their efficiency.
What Steps To Clean Solar Panels
You can clean your solar panels by yourself. To do this successfully, you have to follow some steps such as turn off the system and disconnect other connections, select a cool day, and try to clean from the ground.
Besides, you have to ensure the water only on the surface and use soft cloth along with sufficient safety equipment.
We are presenting a step by step guide to clean solar panels. Lets explore.
Turn off your entire solar system
You have to shut down the system before cleaning and maintain the process provided by manufacturers and installers. If you use an on-grid solar system, then you need to shut down the grid electricity switch also.
Disconnect any water connection
Your solar system might be connected to a swimming pool or rainwater tank, to avoid any short circuit, disconnect all the connections to ensure safety during the cleaning.
Choose a cool and overcast day
Your solar panels are installed to absorb sunlight. On a sunny day, it might be extremely hot, and the sudden water or soap can affect its chemical structure.
The sudden change will affect the energy production process. You need a lot of water because the hot surface water will evaporate quickly.
On the contrary, a cool and overcast day allows you to clean solar panels with ease. It will be beneficial for your skin and the surface of the solar panels.
Clean your solar panels from the ground if possible
It will ensure safety and allow you to complete the job within a short time
How Long Do Solar Panels Really Last
Studies show that solar panels can work for 25 to 30 years, which is great news for anyone concerned about the longevity of their system. This is excellent since most people expect something to last more than a few years.Solar panels generate energy for many years, however, production levels decrease to a level that falls short of what the manufacturers describe as optimal in that year. Therefore, when we say that solar panels last for 25-30 years, we mean that at the end of this time they generally perform at an optimum level. Their degraded performance is usually not significant until three decades later.
Understand The Need Of Cleaning The Solar Panels
You have to clean your solar panels because they can get dirt from different types of garbage.
An unclean solar panel will produce less energy, and it will affect the whole energy production process.
Solar panels absorb sunlight from the sun and convert it into electrical energy. So, the surface of the solar panels should be cleaned to get sufficient sunlight.
On the other hand, solar panels can produce up to 20% of electricity, and it is the most efficient production rate.
But, if your solar panels are filled with dust, then the production rate will decrease to 15%.
It will bother you to operate all the home appliances with less energy.
A clean surface will absorb more sunlight and produce more electricity. It will make the system energy proficient and provide hassle-free service for a long time.
Similarly, solar panels contain 25 years of warranty, if you dont clean the panels for a long time, then it will be difficult to get service for this long duration.
Try to compare your solar panels with other appliances, or devices, that require cleaning. In the same way, solar panels need cleaning and maintenance.
However, a solar system gets power from the sun through solar panels. It is necessary to clean the solar panel for removing unwanted dust from the surface.
A clean solar panel can produce energy even on less sunlight. It will capture sunlight without any obstacle.
We hope you can understand the need for solar panels cleaning.
Are Solar Panels Effected By Bird Droppings
Generally in the UK, unless your solar panels have bird droppings on them, you shouldnt need to clean your solar panels.
Theres no doubt that clean solar panels will always perform better. But bird droppings are more likely to have an impact on your solar panel’s efficiency than dust and don’t always wash away with regular rainfall. You may have more of a problem with birds if you have a television aerial that hangs over your panels, as they are able to sit on these – right above your panels.
Bird droppings, especially in concentrated areas, can cause issues with solar panel efficiency as even a small amount of hard shading can reduce output dramatically. If you are having this problem you will likely need to engage in some solar panel cleaning on a regular basis to remove the build-up and could consider employing cruelty free bird deterrents to prevent it in the future.
Why Do You Need To Clean Solar Panels
If you have a residential solar energy system installed, your solar panels are generally flat, tilted, and on your rooftop. How often do you clean your roof? Probably not very often, most likely never. Whys that? I hear you saying Isnt that what rain is for? Thats kind of the same logic for solar panels too.
In most cases, you wont need to clean your solar panels often, if at all. After all, anything that accumulates dirt on them , will get washed off the next time it rains. There are some times it might make sense to clean your solar panels though. If youve got a lot of bird droppings on your panels, rain might not wash these off very readily, so its a good idea to clean them off. Also, if you live in a state thats prone to droughts or, if it rains, its only a very light, misty rain, you might need to clean them every now and then.