Why Clean Solar Panels?
The benefits of clean solar panels
The benefits of clean solar panels
Airborne dust particles, sticky tree and plant sap, lichen, soot and bird droppings are just a few of the things that can contribute to a build up of dirt on your panels. This accumulation creates shading on the modules and therefore will prevent sunlight reaching the cells, resulting in poor system perfomance, loss of efficiency and a loss of financial return for the owner and investor of solar energy.
Dirty Solar Panels
Lose efficiency and affects lifespan of the cells
Reduces overall system performance
See a loss of return (R.O.I)
May affect your warranty
Ensures a maximum output
May maintain your warranty
Saves you money
Extends the life of your investment
Gives you peace of mind
This is a myth! When a panel is called self cleaning and maintenance free, it tends to mean that the surface is hydrophobic; meaning water droplets cannot stick to the surface. In essence, these surfaces aren’t exactly self-cleaning and maintenance free. They reduce mineral residue that can block the sun reaching the cells, however, in a dusty environment a single solar cell can become inefficient and this will affect the performance of the rest of the cells within the panel. This is because they are wired in series, thus if one cell is shaded then the output of the entire panel is lower as a result.
Rain alone is not enough to ensure the solar module is free from a build-up of dirt throughout one year let alone the modules lifetime.
Every solar array is unique and depending upon different environmental factors and the pitch at which the panels are mounted, will then determine the frequency of each clean.
Special attention should be given to pv arrays situated in dustier areas, for example; near farmland or next to a main road. These pv systems have far more dust and dirt to contend with and will require a more frequent clean. The larger the array, the bigger the loss of return on investment (ROI) will be.
What the experts say
Manufacturers state that dirty solar panels will result in a loss of output and may also affect your warranty.
Trina Solar, one of the worlds leading manufacturers of solar panels, include the following in a maintenance and care manual... " The amount of electricity generated by a solar module is proportional to the amount of light falling on it. A module with shaded cells will produce less energy and therefore it is important to keep the module clean."
Panasonic, Renowned global corporation and manufacturers of solar photovoltaics advise in their frequently asked questions, What maintenance is required for my solar panels? "Wash dust and dirt off your solar panels twice per year". Some of Panasonics limited warranty exclusions are; "Inadaquate maintenance", "damage or corrosion resulting from environmental pollution such as soot and mold".
8.33 Solar, serving the European solar industry since 2006 say, " Over time, dirt and dust can accumulate on the glass surface of the module, reducing its power output. Solar 8.33 recommends periodic cleaning of PV modules to ensure maximum power output."
Canadian Solar, leading manufacturers in solar pv modules say, "Clean the panels if a significant amount of material builds up on the panels" They also recommend "water with a low mineral content and near neutral PH is best".
First Solar say " In locations with heavy soiling, properly timed module cleaning can improve energy yields." They also say "RO water provides the best results."