Solar Panel Cleaning
Brophy Services can create a combination of services to partner with you in maintaining your facility. Janitorial services we provide include carpet cleaning, concrete polishing, exterior window cleaning, floor care, kaivacing/restroom cleaning, office cleaning and solar panel cleaning.
A solar panel typically consists of solar cells covered by a protective glass coating, and just like your car windshield – the longer it’s outside – the more likely it will get dirty and need to be cleaned.
How much Electricity do Dirty Solar Panels Lose?
Pollution, traffic dust, leaves and even bird droppings contribute to preventing sunlight from reaching the solar cells in your solar panels.
The more dirt – the lower amount of electricity they will produce. While many factors affect how much electricity your solar panels will produce – dirty solar panels can be one of the biggest, and easiest to fix and we do all the work from the ground.
Experts agree that dirty solar panels don’t produce as much power as clean panels. That loss may range as high as 25% in some areas according to the National Renewable Energy laboratory. Individual dealers have reported losses as high as 30% for some customers who failed to ever clean their panels.
Solar Panel Cleaning Q&A
HOW DO SOLAR PANELS GET DIRTY?
When we mean animals, we are mainly talking about birds. The upward angle of most rooftop panels makes them ripe for collecting bird droppings. This will affect almost every solar panel anywhere in the world, but you may find this more common if you live in a coastal area. Unfortunately, there’s very little you can do to stop the little buggers from relieving themselves over your panels.
It’s something of an irony that the vast majority of dirt covering your solar panels will come from the environment itself. Dust is the main culprit here, especially if you live in a particularly dry climate, but pollen and leaves can also cover your panels in a sun-blocking layer of muck.
WON’T RAINWATER CLEAN PANELS NATURALLY?
You’d think so, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, in much the same way that rainwater doesn’t clean your car’s windshield, it also doesn’t clean your solar panels. The only way to ensure your panels are spotless is to hire a professional to clean them.
DO YOU NEED TO CLEAN YOUR SOLAR PANELS?
Increasing energy output:
Because the cells in your panels generate energy by using light to make electrons move, anything that blocks light transmission to the cells has the potential to diminish performance and, in turn, the revenue that you generate.
What’s more it doesn’t need to cover the entire panel to have a noticeable effect. If dirt and grime obscure just one of the cells on your panel, output for the entire module will decrease.
To confirm this theory, Google did an experiment on their own solar panel farm at their headquarters in Mountain View, CA. The results? Google found that the number one way to maximize energy output from solar panels was through cleaning them. In fact, they found that after cleaning, the energy output of panels almost doubled overnight.
Protecting your warranty:
Some manufacturers make regular cleaning a condition of your warranty. It is worth cleaning your panels purely for the sake of protecting your warranty, but by cleaning them you may also notice cracks, scratches or other instances of damage that will need to be repaired.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED TO CLEAN SOLAR PANELS?
The amount of time to leave between cleans is really dependent on where you live. If you live in a particularly dusty area of the country or where you may be more likely to suffer from bird droppings, you may want to clean your panels once every month or so. For the vast majority of the country however, three or four times a year should suffice.
If in doubt, install a monitoring system if you haven’t already and look for sustained periods of poor performance. This will be the biggest indicator that your panels are due for another clean.