The performance of solar plants will be compromised when dirty. A dirty panel, depending on the amount of dirt, will produce 10% less than a clean panel under the same conditions. Dirt can come in many different forms. Air pollution, accumulated dust, bird droppings, grease or any other particles in the air that gets caught on the solar panels. Dirty parts of the panel also get hotter faster than other parts, which creates hotspots. These hotspots can increase the rate at which solar panels deteriorate.
Essentially, solar panels operate by allowing the natural light from the sun to ‘enter’ its solar cells. The more natural light that hits the panel, the more energy the panel will generate. Below are 5 good reasons why it is important to have clean solar panels. that will not only function optimally, but also protect and maintain your investment.
1. Get Rid of the Poop
By way of their positioning, solar panels are exposed to the risk of bird droppings. And, despite what you may think, the droppings don’t wash away naturally from rain. This will decrease the amount of light reaching the solar cells, thus diminishing the overall output of energy generation. Further, according to most solar panel manufactures regarding the performance of solar panels, the build-up of these droppings will adversely affect the panels ability to meet projected performance.
2. Prevent the Build-up of Dust & Dirt
There are natural elements of dust and dirt that will cloud the surface of a solar panel, decreasing its optimum performance. If solar panels are not cleaned regularly, they will not operate at the performance level you projected, thus negatively impacting your financial returns and energy savings.
3. Benefit from Your Warranty
In our experience, many manufacturers of solar panels have made solar panel cleaning a condition of their warranty. So, if something goes wrong with your panels and you don’t have proof of a regular maintenance and cleaning plan in place, the damage to your panels may not be covered by the warranty you bought.
4. Improve the Overall Energy Efficiency
The increase in efficiency of solar panels that are cleaned regularly speaks for itself. Studies show that sizable increases in the solar efficiency of sites, for instance, go up by 10 – 30% when they are maintained properly through the use of regular cleaning services.
Our own clients, who we regularly clean solar panels for, have a 25% greater performance compared with similar clients who do not make use of this vital service. This finding is further 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.”
Bottom line, if you want your panels to work and last as long as possible, take care of them and keep them clean.
5. Rain Won’t Do the Job
Take a moment and look at your car windscreen. Ask yourself, when was the last time you cleaned your window screen? Considering if you didn’t have it cleaned, you’d have trouble seeing when you drive. Imagine the grime and dust that would’ve accumulated on the screen over 6 – 12 months of not having it cleaned.
Even if it rained, the grime on your window screen would accumulate and create a green film, reducing your ability to see through it. Rain itself contains airborne dust particles that attach to the surface of the screen once the water evaporates. Your windshield wipers themselves don’t reach this film of grime and dirt.
Solar panels are essentially the same. They are exposed the same elements as your car windshield, creating a loss efficiency due to a loss of light caused by dirt and dust. To maximise efficiency of your panels, you can’t rely on rain alone.
To ensure our clients renewable system is performing optimally, we offer management services to suit the facility’s needs and internal resources. With live in-house monitoring systems, we offer monthly reporting, monthly cleaning, rapid response and regular site inspections.
Need to ensure your panels are functioning optimally? Contact us to hear more about our O&M services. www.newsouthernenergy.com.