Are solar panels self cleaning?
One of the most common things that people believe about solar panels is that they are self-cleaning. It’s not an unreasonable assumption to make. After all, your solar panels are out in the elements. They sometimes get rained on. Surely the rain washes off the dirt, which means that your solar panels would then be clean, right?
Unfortunately, as attractive as this idea is, it is not true. Solar panels are not self-cleaning, and the warranty information on most solar panels states that you will sometimes have to clean them. Yes, a rainstorm will wash away some accumulated dust, but it will not keep your solar panels clean enough to function at maximum capacity.
The windshield analogy
To understand the effects of dirt on your solar panels, let’s look at another piece of glass that periodically gets rained on: your car windshield. Where the wipers move, it is usually clean and clear, minus a few splotches of insect guts. But in the area where the wipers can’t reach, it’s cloudy and hard to see through. Even though it is regularly washed by rain, there is still a layer of grime that makes it hard to see through. In other words, the light from outside the car is not able to shine through clearly. If you can’t see through it perfectly, the light is being reflected off the windshield instead of shining through.
Your solar panels are like your windshield, except without the wipers. Over time, they get a film over them and the light is not able to shine through perfectly. As a result, your solar panels are not able to produce as much electricity. Your output decreases, which means you don’t save as much money from having your solar panels as you expected. You don’t get as good a return on investment.
The danger of not cleaning your solar panels
So if you don’t clean your solar panels, you don’t make as much electricity from them. But what if you are okay with not having as much electricity? Can you just accept a lower output and decide to let the rain wash your solar panels? Here is why this isn’t a great idea either.
There are all sorts of threats to the well being of your solar panels. Branches might fall and crack the casing. Birds might nest under them. Squirrels might chew the wires. The neighbor kid might throw rocks at it. A rogue golf ball from the nearby golf course might sail through the air and land smack on your solar panel. A professional cleaner such as Shine Up Solar will check your solar panel for damage, thus giving you the opportunity to fix it before it becomes a major problem. If the damage is left unaddressed, it could result in your panel not working at all anymore. Worse, your warranty might be void if you haven’t had a professional come in to check out your panels and make sure everything is fine. Call Shine Up Solar today to schedule your cleaning and inspection, and keep your solar panels functioning at max capacity.