Dirty solar panels can cause problems. In fact, dirt buildup and grime can reduce your solar panel system’s power output (which ultimately reduces your energy cost savings and slows your return on investment). The hard truth is that your solar energy system needs regular maintenance and cleaning services to operate at maximum efficiency over its lifespan. And, even more importantly, these services need to be done right.
Here’s what you need to know about commercial solar cleaning to make sure you’re getting the most energy production out of your solar power system.
Why Do I Need to Clean Solar Panels?
Over time, bird droppings, soil, and pollutants build up on your solar panels. This coating of grime blocks the photovoltaic panels from the sun, reducing the amount of renewable energy they can produce.
You may think you can let the rain take care of this kind of debris – but it’s not that simple. Depending on where you live, the soil goes through a process called “cementing” due to dropped temperatures at night, and can become difficult to remove – far too difficult for any rain storm to properly wash away.
A regular cleaning keeps your solar system operating at peak efficiency. And, the process comes in at a low enough price that the money you’ll save on energy bills can deliver a return on investment.
How Often Do I Need Commercial Solar Panel Cleaning?
Solar panels don’t require too much maintenance to operate after installation, but it’s still good to stay on top of your system’s health. Regular maintenance checks should be done two times a year – and regular cleaning should happen at the same rate.
Depending on where you live and how much dust is being blown onto your commercial solar system, you may need to have additional cleanings done. If you can see a dirt coating on your solar array, then it’s likely time to use professional cleaning services.
Commercial Solar Panel Cleaning Process: Do’s and Don’ts
Solar panel cleaning needs to be done right. After all, solar panel systems are a complex piece of technology. Just like with window cleaning, pressure washing might crack or damage your panels…so that’s out.
Abrasive cleaning solutions can also damage your commercial solar array. Even soap should be avoided. Soap residue, while not visible to your eye, can build up over time just like dirt, and reduces your solar panel system’s efficiency. Not only that, but a soap residue can encourage fresh dirt to stick to your solar panels.
Good solar panel cleaning service providers use deionized water and a non-abrasive rotating brush when cleaning your solar panels. Pure water without minerals is important so that it doesn’t leave a residue behind on your panels, which defeats the whole purpose of the cleaning.
Can You Clean Your Solar Panels Yourself?
While some homeowners choose to wash their residential solar panels on their own, this isn’t something we would recommend for commercial solar panels. The size of a commercial system (and the height of the building) makes it dangerous for you to handle on your own.
Reducing Exposure to Dust on Your Solar Panel System
Technologies are being developed that help reduce the amount of pollutants that gather on solar panel systems. Vibrating solar panels can shake off regularly accumulating dust – though they’ll still need cleaning from time to time for more stubborn debris like bird droppings.
There are also nanoparticle coatings that help keep dust off of panels, making them easier to clean. There’s even a self-cleaning nanoparticle coating being developed that makes 74% of dirt easily come off with just water.
How Long Will Solar Panels Last With Regular Maintenance and Cleaning?
Solar panels are a big investment, so you want them to last as long as possible. If you take care of your solar panels, they can last for 40 to 50 years, though there can be some natural loss of power over time.
Trustworthy Commercial Roofing and Solar Solutions
Your commercial building is your greatest asset – so you need to make sure that its care is put in capable hands (not just when it comes to commercial solar panel cleaning, but in every aspect of your roofing system’s health). There’s no one more trustworthy than TEMA Roofing. We offer solar installation and roofing services that are backed by warranties and decades of experience. If you’re looking to maximize the lifespan of your commercial roofing or solar panel system (or simply looking to make the leap toward renewable energy), contact us today and put TEMA on your team.