Dirty solar panels? If you have a solar energy system installed, you might wonder if dirty solar panels make your system less efficient.
True, unclean solar panels perform less efficiently than clean ones. A solar panel’s ability to function at its best is hampered by leaves, dust, and bird droppings. The ideal functioning of solar panels, which are adversely affected by general uncleanliness, is the basis for the efficiency rating of the panels.
Paying someone to clean those panels, or going outside and cleaning them yourself, are the solutions. It’s a decent idea if a dust storm has blanketed your panels in dirt or if magpies have had a poop party on your roof! Visit our page about Cleaning Solar Panels: Why, When, and How You Should Do It.
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Dust’s impact on solar PV panels
In 2016, an extensive investigation of the energy and efficiency of buildings’ solar panels in India was evaluated using their electrical performance. Regarding various kinds of power losses and performance ratios, the authors expounded on annual performance.
The authors designed a hostel building’s isolated rooftop solar PV system, and simulation was used to assess its performance. The wiring, upkeep, controller, and labour cost estimates were completed.
The researchers investigated the impact of dust buildup on PV module surfaces. For the six-month research, they demonstrated that dust collection caused a 50% reduction in power. The authors also looked into how solar collectors’ effectiveness degrades over time. It assessed the influence of various dust densities on the energy yield and the economic performance of the small power station.
However, when you have regular solar panel maintenance, you can expect clean and secure panels with no deteriorated or corroded parts. You can also ensure that the wiring, switches, fittings, and cables are securely attached.
Maintaining your system will ensure that your system performs efficiently for years.
The importance of solar panel maintenance
Regular maintenance is essential for your solar system as it ensures that your system maintains efficiency and operates safely. Your solar panel system’s performance could be affected if dust and other contaminants accumulate over time on the panels.
Additionally, your system may be harmed by water and moisture seepage, rodents, hail, wind, and sunlight.
Although dirty solar panels don’t necessarily mean they’re dangerous, they may be less efficient. A damaged system, however, can pose a safety risk.
There is a small risk of solar panel fires. In 2020 there were 50 fires initially reported across Australia. Even though solar panels have not made it to the top 10 causes of house fires, it’s best to practice prevention as early as now.
Solar panel maintenance ensures the system is safe for everyone on the property. Failure to maintain the system might void the warranty. We recommend reading the PDS of your system’s components to ensure you follow their policy requirements. Speak with your solar installer if you are ever unsure.
How often should you conduct solar home maintenance?
The Clean Energy Council (CEC) recommends a yearly solar maintenance schedule to ensure the system is safe and running efficiently. The quality of your solar system and the reliability of your monitoring system also play crucial roles in the frequency of your solar panel maintenance.
Generally, there are three alternative schedules to consider:
- Annual inspection: Hire a professional to check your solar panels annually to ensure they operate correctly.
- Cleaning: Generally speaking, schedule twice-yearly cleanings for your solar panels. If you reside in a region with frequent rainfall and your solar panels don’t tend to accumulate much dirt or debris, you might only need to clean them once a year. Plan for additional cleanings, though, if you live in a region where your solar panels don’t get much rain or tend to accumulate a lot of dirt or debris.
- Additional maintenance: You can arrange a maintenance appointment if you discover a problem with your solar panels between annual inspections.
You can track your system’s performance with a high-quality monitoring system. From there, you can get alerts and notifications that will help ensure your solar system is running in good condition.
Who conducts solar panel maintenance?
A licensed electrician or a CEC-accredited solar panel system installer is the best person to conduct solar panel maintenance. The reason is that your solar system can potentially be dangerous; therefore, you need a licensed professional to do the maintenance and inspection instead.
You can also ask your solar installer to do it because they know everything about your system. However, it won’t hurt to gather several quotes from a few companies before you make your final decision.
Ensure that the inspector will check the following as a minimum:
- solar panels are clean, secure and undamaged, and no parts have deteriorated
- vents are free of debris
- switches are undamaged
- wiring is intact and has not deteriorated
- fittings and cables are secure
- the isolator switches are not blocked off
- emergency procedures for shutdown and isolation are displayed.
The inspector should also run electrical tests to guarantee that all components function as intended. They should also check the inverter display panel for any recorded problems.
DIY-ing solar panel maintenance is also an option; however, it isn’t recommended when you’re not licensed or experienced. Going up the roof can be dangerous, and a professional must inspect some components. Attempting to fix any issues yourself might also void your product warranty.
How to recognise the need for maintenance of my solar panels
Reduced energy generation is the best sign that your house solar panels require maintenance. It’s a good idea to schedule a repair appointment if you discover that your solar panels aren’t producing as much energy as they usually do and that your power bill has increased.
Contact us for professional guidance on your home or business’ high-quality solar panel installation. We can connect you with our trusted local solar installers in Melbourne, who will provide up to 3 FREE solar quotes for your home and business solar energy system.