If you wish, you can clean your solar panels once a day during the spring, fall, and summer months. However, during the winter months, solar panels should be cleaned at least once a month due to the weather differences during this period.
While this is just a reference, there are other facts that can give you an idea of when is the right time to clean your solar panels. There are many factors that can reduce the power production of a solar PV system: shading, heat, and mismatch losses, to name a few. Fouling is another parameter to consider. Maintenance is the only solution to avoid fouling. That's why you need to know when and how to clean your solar panels.
What can cause fouling losses in solar panels?
The presence of a layer of dirt, mud, leaves, dust, snow, bird droppings, or a lot of rain can cause a solar panel to be less receptive to sunlight if these things are blocking a part of the solar panel. It also prevents it from effectively converting light into electricity. In very extreme cases, this can drastically reduce the conversion rate of a solar panel.
Dirty losses will depend on a variety of factors such as location, industrial and mining activities in the immediate area, rain, snow, dust, sandstorms, etc.
Areas around the world, like the Middle East require ongoing maintenance to compensate for losses due to dirt and dust storms.
As strange as it sounds, the United States is not immune to sandstorms. In fact, places as diverse as Arizona, Utah, and Colorado have experienced dust storms in the past few years. This is a very unfavorable environment for PV systems.
How do you know it's time to clean solar panels?
In addition, your solar panels are likely to accumulate some dust particles at any time. If time goes by, then the dust will accumulate further. Most solar panels are dark blue, so you will notice fairly easily when too much dust collects on parts of the solar panel!
Winter can be an annoying season for solar panels because snowfall can constantly leave snow on your roof or inside your solar roof shingles. If the few hours of sunlight that are available will be completely blocked by snow, then your solar panels will perform less well in the winter. This doesn't mean you have to go out on your roof every day to clean your PV array, because solar panels also get hot and can melt the snow themselves. That said, whenever you see intense snowfall outside, keep in mind that your solar panels may need a little help. During the winter months, it's ideal to check your solar panels installed outside your house at least once a month.
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