How Solar Panels Get Dirty:
Dust and Pollen: Dust particles and pollen are pervasive and can settle on solar panels over time, especially in areas with dry or windy climates.
Bird Droppings: Birds may perch or nest near solar panels, leading to droppings that not only obstruct sunlight but also contain corrosive materials.
Leaves and Debris: Overhanging trees can drop leaves, twigs, or other debris onto solar panels, reducing their efficiency.
Atmospheric Pollution: Air pollution, such as soot or industrial emissions, can settle on solar panels, diminishing their performance.
The Consequences of Dirty Solar Panels:
Reduced Efficiency: Dust, dirt, and debris on solar panels block sunlight, reducing their energy output and overall efficiency.
Hot Spots and Heat Buildup: Dirt accumulation can cause localized hot spots on the panel’s surface, leading to potential damage and decreased performance.
Potential Damage: Bird droppings and other corrosive substances can degrade the protective coatings on solar panels, potentially leading to permanent damage.
Financial Implications: Dirty solar panels result in lower energy production, translating to reduced savings on electricity bills and a longer payback period for your solar investment.
Best Ways to Clean Your Rooftop Solar Panels:
Regular Inspections: Conduct periodic visual inspections to identify any visible dirt, debris, or signs of damage on your solar panels.
Safe Access: Prioritize safety and ensure you have the necessary equipment, such as a sturdy ladder and safety harnesses, when accessing your rooftop for cleaning.
Time it Right: Choose early morning or late evening hours to clean your solar panels, avoiding direct sunlight that can cause streaks due to rapid drying.
Gentle Cleaning Solutions: Use a mild cleaning solution, such as warm water mixed with a small amount of mild dish soap, to remove dirt and grime from the panel’s surface.
Soft Brush or Sponge (best if attached to a telescoping pole): Gently scrub the panels using a soft brush or sponge in circular motions to dislodge dirt particles, avoiding any abrasive materials that could scratch the surface.
Thorough Rinse: After cleaning, rinse the panels with clean water using a hose or low-pressure sprayer to remove any soap residue or remaining debris.
Preventative Measures: Install bird deterrents, such as spikes or nets, to discourage birds from perching or nesting on your solar panels. Trim nearby trees or branches that may cast shadows on the panels, hindering sunlight exposure.
If you’re unsure about cleaning your solar panels or if your roof is difficult to access, it’s wise to hire a professional solar panel maintenance service. They have the necessary expertise, equipment, and experience to clean the panels safely and effectively. Professional services can also perform additional checks to identify any potential issues with your solar panel system.