As the proud owner of a set of solar cells, you get many benefits from your environmentally conscious choice. You offset energy costs, do something good for the Earth, enjoy the accolades of friends and family, and may even get credits from the local, state or federal government.
As wonderful as solar panels are, though, they’re not a free-and-clear investment. They require maintenance, which in turn requires expert help. If you doubt that your solar panels need cleaning, or that you need help in that department, let’s take a closer look.
It’s important to understand how solar panels work. While this is the subject of many a long academic paper, we’ll simplify it here:
The sun’s rays contain photons, tiny particles of light. When these photons strike atoms, they knock electrons free. A steady flow of electrons is a force that we know as “electricity.” Therefore, solar panels make use of the sun’s rays to knock electrons free, and by using an electric field generated inside solar panels, they can then funnel those electrons toward a rechargeable battery for storage. In some cases, whatever electricity doesn’t get used by the home right away goes directly to the grid.
The salient point in terms of cleaning is that those glass panels on top must be clear for the sun’s rays to penetrate and do their ecologically friendly, energy-producing work.
The short answer is… yes. You absolutely must clean your solar cells. Dirt impacts efficiency for the very simple reason that it is opaque. The efficiency of solar cells depends on the ability of light to penetrate them, and a layer of dirt obstructs that light.
Even worse…over time, mold, mildew, tree pollen, bird droppings, freeway soot and fire ash can adhere to the panels. This turns into a thick layer of sticky gunk that’s hard to remove. It can drastically diminish their usefulness, which in turn reduces the ROI of your investment. Don’t let that happen.
This is a common question that solar panel owners have. After all, we clean our own windows and roofs routinely. Isn’t a solar panel just a fancy pane of glass on the roof? How hard can it be?
Well, cleaning your own roof is a dubious activity. If you only go up there once or twice a year, without proper gear, then the chances of slipping and falling are quite high.
Did you know that according to the most recently available data, there are more than half a million falls from ladders each year, 300 of which are fatal?
More importantly, did you know that more than 97 percent of those falls occur in a non-occupational setting?
In other words…at home.
This alone is answer enough. However, you should also keep in mind that improper cleaning methods can also ruin your panels and void your warranty. That’s where an expert comes in, so let’s take a closer look at that now.
Are you wondering if it’s really necessary to call in a pro? We can’t tell you what’s right for you, but we recommend you read through the following list of benefits before you make a choice.
Experience: Solar panel cleaning experts have the experience and the equipment needed to ensure that no one gets hurt, that your solar panels remain in one high-efficiency piece, and that you don’t spend your valuable time on a job to which you’re not suited.
Personal Safety: Personal safety is huge. Solar panel cleaning experts have a) the gear needed to keep them safe and b) the expertise required to navigate rooftops with ease.
No Damage: Solar panels are delicate structures and can suffer harm from an abrasive or incorrect cleaning process, as well as cleaning them during the wrong time of year or at the wrong outside temperature. Your maintenance expert knows exactly how to do all of this to avoid damage to your solar panels.
Warranty: Many warranties forbid cleaning panels in certain ways or with certain materials. Moreover, they also forbid you going too long between cleanings, which can cause buildup that is difficult to remove. By hiring a cleaner to come on a regular basis, you’re keeping that warranty in crystal-clear shape … just like your panels.
If you want to receive all these benefits, you must contract the services of a true expert. That means making sure your cleaner has experience and the proper insurance. And, don’t forget to ask for recommendations.
Most likely, you have invested money in solar panels for the long-term financial and environmental benefits. So, it is important to protect your investment by hiring qualified experts.
Don’t be one of the rooftop accident statistics because you were looking to save a few dollars. It is a guarantee that your medical bill will be more than the cost of hiring someone to do it for you.