Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Should I Clean My Solar Panels

Cost Of Solar Panel Cleaning Services

Should You Clean Your Solar Panels? Before/After Testing!

Solar panel cleaning companies normally either charge per module or charge a flat rate for the entire array. You can expect to pay between $5 and $10 per panel, or $150 to $200 for the entire system, though prices may vary depending on location, season and other factors.

If you don’t have solar panels yet, some installers may offer free cleaning for a limited time after your purchase. However, this shouldn’t be the main factor when choosing your solar provider. Free cleaning is a nice perk, but make sure you’re actually getting a high-quality installation.

How To Tell When My Solar Panels Need Maintenance

In most cases, your solar panel system won’t need much maintenance outside of your regular inspections and cleaning. But there are some red flags to look out for that may indicate your panels require maintenance sooner than scheduled.

The best indicator that your solar panels need maintenance is a reduction in your energy output. If you suddenly notice that your solar panels aren’t producing as much energy as they normally do and that your electricity bill has gone up, it’s a good sign that you should schedule a service appointment.

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Solar Panel Cleaning Services To Consider

If you want to limit your search, here are a few companies that offer their services in various parts of the USA.

HelioPower

HelioPower offers the services of their highly skilled team. They have the required knowledge and provide regular maintenance services. In fact, its a plus to find a cleaning company that also offers general inspection and maintenance check.

HelioPower covers all the services that you may need for the maintenance of your solar system. Prior to an in-depth cleaning, their professional team performs a visual inspection. The company also handles all types of electrical components, which are essential for any solar power system.

Heliotex

The ability to automate the solar panel cleaning and maintenance is the aspect, which sets this company apart from its competitors. The idea of cleaning your solar panels with the help of an automated system sounds fascinating.

This is possible with Hliotex, which offers automated solar panel cleaning mechanism. The system is designed and programmed to clean your array regularly. The type and cost of such cleaning system depend on the size of your panels and environment.

The cleaning system offered by Heliotex also comes with anti-theft devices, which ensures the safety of your solar panels against theft.

Blue Oak Energy

Solar Maid

Solar Maid covers the largest service area in the country. Unlike some local solar cleaning services, this company offers cleaning services in various states.

Read Also: How Much Does It Cost To Rent Sola Salon

Dont Clean Panels Install A Larger System

Installing a slightly larger solar system to compensate for losses from dirt costs less than paying someone to clean panels. One extra panel on a 20 panel system increases its output by around 5% which is more than twice the average loss I would expect from not cleaning them. Installing a system one panel larger will definitely cost less than the $600 or more it could cost to have your panels cleaned 4 times. One extra panel can more than compensate for loses from dirt for the entire life of the system.

While adding panels to an existing solar system is often not practical, there are still plenty of things people can do that will save them more money and have greater environmental benefit than paying for panel cleaning. For example, they could invest in insulation, LED lighting, a heat pump hot water system, or buy a bicycle and use it for some trips instead of a car.

Use Soft Brushes And Plastic Scourer To Make Short Work Of Scum

Should I pay someone to clean my panels?

Only brushes specifically designed for solar should be used with water to scrub panels clean of dirt.

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Unsuitable scrubbing equipment like a steel brush may scratch the solar glass and create shade that harms solar production.

A plastic scourer can be used to remove caked-on scum after it has been softened with water first.

Also Check: How Much Does The Average Solar Panel System Cost

When You Might Need To Clean Solar Panels

Some exceptions might be if you notice excessive bird droppings, after heavy dust storms in places like Arizona or when you live directly next to or downwind from major highways, factories or agricultural fields. In these instances, its possible to generate enough grime to call for cleaning.

Leaves in the fall and heavy snow in the winter can also require action, but you can easily remove these with a long roof rake like this.

Most snow will melt fairly quickly as the dark solar panels attract heat and sunlight. And snow actually cleans your panels as it melts, taking any dust and dirt with it as it slides off the slick module surface. Read more about solar and snow here.

Some of the sunniest places also dont get much rain, which does a good job cleaning panels. If you can see a thick film accumulated on your panels or notice significant a dip in efficiency, it might be time for a wash.

When To Clean Your Solar Panels

It is recommended that you clean your solar panels twice a year for maximum energy production unless you live in conditions that require more frequent cleaning, such as:

  • Living near a freeway, airport, or industrial area that emits pollution

  • Living in climates that get little to no precipitation, causing excessive pile up of dust, foliage debris, sand, etc.

  • Living in areas where it snows often, creating heavy snow layers on panels

It is best practice to keep your panels clean to ensure maximum production from the sun. Pay attention to decreased power from your panels as it may be an indication its time for a cleaning. Decreased efficiency is often a result of soiled panels.

Read Also: What Will A 25 Watt Solar Panel Run

Should I Get A Solar Battery

A solar battery stores excess energy generated by your solar panels. That way, instead of the electricity being sent to the National Grid, you can use it to power your home once the sun has gone down.

These are a few of the many benefits of adding a solar battery to your solar PV system:

  • Save more on your energy bills
  • Continue to benefit from solar energy in the evening and at night
  • Theyre extremely quiet
  • Some solar batteries can continue to power your home when theres a power cut

Consider Maintenance Over Cleanliness

How & when to clean solar panels

Considering something like the cleanliness of your solar panels tells us that youre an intelligent person. Along with panel cleanliness, we recommend that you also focus on maintaining the function of your solar energy system, including your panels and any other equipment installed on your home. Although solar panels can last for a long time, they probably wont last forever. Regular maintenance will help improve the longevity of your panels much more than frequent cleaning will.

If you have a Vivint Solar system, be sure to use Account Center to monitor your solar power production on a regular basis to ensure there are no visible dips. If youre concerned about your production, you can go to our website for help with commonly asked questions, or Contact Us about it and well review some options over the phone. Any service provider would be willing to check your panels to ensure they are working properly and efficiently.

Read Also: Is Solid Power Publicly Traded

How Often Should Solar Panels Be Cleaned

The extent to which you clean your solar panels will depend on several factors, such as the type of dirt, debris, and substance build-up on your panel and the location of your solar system.

For example, if you live in a semi-arid environment where a lot of dust accumulates on the panels, in which case, giving a thorough 2-3 cleanings per year will be beneficial. Consider another example, suppose you live near wooded areas, and your panel sees bird droppings. In this case, you need to wash your solar panel regularly.

Its an excellent idea to arrange for cleaning at least every six months and possibly more frequently if you believe solar cells are constantly getting dirty.

Flat Panels Are An Exception They Need Cleaning

Rain will wash most of the filth off panels, but only if they are at an angle. When solar panels lie flat water can pool on them and have nowhere to go. Eventually it evaporates and leaves grime behind. Worse, things such as leaves and other debris can land on solar panels and just stay there and seriously affect performance. A thin layer of grime will let most light pass through, but a leaf is specifically designed to capture light. After all, it is a naturally occurring type of solar panel.

To avoid these problems, and because it is bad to have any electronic item sitting in water for an extended period of time, it is a very good idea to put solar panels on flat roofs in frames that tilt them at least 10 degrees.

If your panels arent tilted then youll have no choice but to clean them if you want to keep their performance up. Google found that while cleaning their tilted solar panels wasnt worth the effort, cleaning their flat ones after they got particularly dirty could double their output.

Also Check: How Much Does Solar Cost

Can You Pressure Wash Solar Panels

Power washers are good for a lot of things, but cleaning solar panels is not one of them. Pressure washers are too powerful to safely clean solar panels and can end up causing scratches or other damage. If your solar panels are dirty, it’s best to use a non-abrasive sponge and soapy water. Better yet, call a professional who can ensure that the job is completed properly and safely.

Reasons Why Solar Panels Need To Be Cleaned Regularly

How To Maintain Your Solar Panels  AWPS Renewable Energy, LTD

Many solar panel owners ignore the importance of the cleaning their panels regularly. If you dont do this often enough, the performance of your system will be decreased because of the repelling layer of grime on them. For this reason, periodical cleaning is extremely important if you want maximum results.

Following are 7 reasons why you should clean your solar panels regularly:

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Ways To Check Solar Panels

There are several ways to check and see if your solar panels need to be cleaned:

Physical inspection. Your solar panels should be inspected regularly, especially in areas where the weather conditions are unfavourable, or there are significant levels of dust. The connections should also be checked at this time, so that you can keep yourself updated as to their condition.

Use a monitoring service. A physical inspection is done regularly, but its good to back yourself up with a monitoring system. These are constantly monitoring the status and condition of the solar panels. You can either pay an upfront cost or a monthly fee, and then the performance levels of your system can be watched constantly. This helps to prevent damage and could even increase the lifespan of your panels.

A solar array produces a certain amount of electricity each month. With the aid of a monitoring system, you can receive information with regards to whether the system if offline or not performing at optimal levels. In addition to this, solar monitoring system can also show you how much power is being saved, as well as the level of CO2 that have been prevented from entering the atmosphere. It can also show you how much money you are saving.

Should Solar Panels Be Cleaned Regularly

Yes. ensuring regular cleaning or cleaning as needed is vital for your solar system. Doing so will prevent premature damage, which means you can protect your investment. To answer the question How often should I clean my solar panels? read below.

Cleaning the panels every six months is already enough to keep them performing excellently, increase their output, and guarantee their longevity. But, if you reside in areas where the panels are prone to collecting dust, cleaning them more frequently is recommended, specifically at least three times yearly.

The same goes if you reside in areas where the panels are prone to collecting bird droppings. The bottom line here is that the frequency of solar panel cleaning may depend on your location and situation. Summer and winter seasons are usually the periods where frequent cleaning might be necessary.

Here are some detailed guides on how to clean the panels properly:

  • Step 1: Turn off the entire DC & AC system before the cleaning process.

To get started, you may refer to the user guide provided by the solar manufacturer. Keep in mind that AC systems need to be turned off through the main switch of the solar supply.

  • Step 2: Cut off or detach any gutters or rainwater collections.

Temporarily detach or cut off any gutters or rainwater collections to ensure that filthy water wont go into your tank.

  • Step 3: Choose a cloudy or cool day when cleaning the panels.
  • Step 4: To ensure your safety, clean the panels on a safe spot.

Also Check: How Much Does It Cost To Go Solar In Illinois

How Does Extreme Weather Impact Your Solar Panels

Solar panels are designed to be durable. Top quality solar panel installations allow PV systems to withstand all kinds of weather, from wind and rain to snow and more. Youll be glad to know that solar panels hold up well against hail, as found by the Department of Energy. They can even survive hurricanes, as evidenced by the limited damage to solar systems in North Carolina during Hurricane Florence in 2018.

Of course, they are not 100% indestructible on rare occasions can suffer damage by hail, hurricanes, tornadoes or lightning. But as long as you have a good warranty, and/or your panels are covered by homeowners’ insurance, you should be able to have any damaged panels repaired or replaced. Somewhat ironically, the type of weather that most commonly affects panels is heat. When the temperature gets over 90 degrees, panels lose efficiency approximately 1% per degree. However, by elevating them a few inches above the ground or roof, you allow for air circulation, which can help cool them down and maintain energy production.

Learn more: How hot do solar panels get and how does it affect my system?

Why Is It Important To Clean Your Solar Panels

How Often Should I Be CLEANING My SOLAR PANELS?

Dust, bird droppings and other debris can lower the efficiency of a solar panel. In order to know what difference it makes by cleaning the solar panels, conducted an experiment at a 1.6 MW solar farm.

After cleaning the panels, analyst noticed a massive increase in the output of such a solar farm. The findings suggested that solar panel cleaning appears to be the best way to enhance the power generation of a solar system.

While conducting a similar test, researchers also found that rain doesnt clean the panels thoroughly. On the contrary, professional cleaning of the panels can promise a 12% higher output.

Hence, one can clearly suggest that panels lose 15-25% of their efficiency when they are dirty. This means that you are generating 15-25% less electricity.

Thorough cleaning also pays you back in terms of increasing the life span of your solar panels.

See Related: Best Solar Panels to Buy

Read Also: What Is The Tax Credit For Solar Panels In California

When Should I Clean My Solar Panels

Solar panels are prone to environmental stressors like dust and debris, so leaving them for long periods without cleaning can affect the performance of the unit.

Its recommended you have your solar panels cleaned and checked by a professional at least once every 12 months, but if you suspect your panels are under-performing, a 6 monthly check may be necessary.

Tips For Maintenance Of Solar Panels

  • Keep solar panels out of shade as energy production becomes inefficient when they are kept from absorbing any sunlight.
  • Keep an eye on the solar panels and make sure the inverters are flashing green lights. If they are not flashing, you are losing money by no longer compensating for your electricity use.
  • Document the day-to-day performance to improve solar panel maintenance. It is important to write down how much energy has been produced at a consistent time every day and make special note of dates where it is very cloudy. Some of the results will be inconsistent.
  • Monitoring systems help you see how much you are benefiting the environment and how much CO2 you are emitting into the atmosphere. They can also help you know how much you could benefit from the feed-in tariff scheme.
  • You can also see information about your solar panels servicing on a wall-mounted display when you are at home.
  • If you have no time in cleaning solar panels, you can install automated cleaners that work like sprinkler systems or even schedule appointments with solar panel cleaning companies.
  • Luckily, because solar panels have no moving parts that could be affected by rust or break down, solar power maintenance may not be needed.

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Do Solar Panels Need To Be Maintained

Solar panels generally require very little maintenance in order to function. The only thing they need is a periodic light cleaning to make sure dirt, leaves, and other debris aren’t obstructing the sun’s rays. The only time you may need more extensive maintenance is during periods of heavy snowfall, or if your panels’ energy output starts to decrease. Let’s take a closer look at how to make sure your solar panels last as long as possible.

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