Efficiency Loss: The Cost of Dirty Solar Panels | OBMG
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Dirty and dusty solar panels with the words wash me

Are Dirty Solar Panels Less Efficient? – How Dirty Solar Panels Affect Commercial Properties

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As a property manager, you’re likely aware of the benefits solar panel systems can provide to the commercial properties under your care, both environmentally and financially. However, it’s crucial to dispel the myth that solar panels require little to no maintenance due to their self-cleaning nature with rainwater. In reality, dirty solar panels need a more thorough cleaning than that. How come? Wouldn’t rain be enough to wash away all that solar panel dust? And is it really that important to clean them? Let’s explore these questions in detail below.

Does Dirt Affect the Efficiency of Solar Panels Over Time?

It’s essential to clean the systems of your managed commercial properties if you want them to avoid having problems with solar panels in the long run. That’s because the accumulation of dirt, dust and debris on the surface of the panels can hinder their ability to generate electricity. When solar panels are covered with a layer of grime, the amount of sunlight that reaches the solar cells decreases, which reduces the panel’s overall efficiency. 

This reduction in efficiency can be significant, with some studies showing that the energy produced by dirty solar panels can be lessened by 25% or higher than by clean panels. As such, regularly cleaning solar panels is essential for maximising their energy production and ensuring they operate at peak performance.

Can Rain Effectively Clean Solar Panels on Its Own?

Rain can help to clean solar panels to some extent, but it is not always effective in removing all the dirt and debris that can accumulate on the surface of the panels. That’s because some types of dirt may be tougher to remove and may require the expertise of professional solar panel cleaners. This is important to avoid damage while cleaning solar panels. Services of this nature also significantly trump the capabilities of rain because although rain can help to wash away some of this dirt, it may not be enough to keep the panels clean and operating at their maximum efficiency. Additionally, in areas with low rainfall or high levels of air pollution, rain may not be a reliable method of cleaning solar panels. 

Factors That Affect Panel Efficiency Other Than Dirt

Clean sparkling and highly reflective solar panels reflecting the sunset

Dust and Grime Accumulation

Any particles that accumulate on the surface of solar panels can reduce their ability to absorb sunlight, resulting in reduced efficiency. This is because dust and grime act as barriers between the sunlight and the photovoltaic cells. A simple commercial solar panel cleaning should prevent this from happening.

Temperature of the Panel Surface

Solar panels become less efficient when exposed to excessively high or low temperatures. When the temperature becomes too high, the photovoltaic cells will have difficulty absorbing sunlight effectively, leading to decreased performance. Conversely, when the temperature is too cold, it can cause damage to the photovoltaic cells and permanently deteriorate their performance.

Effects of Rain on Commercial Solar Panel Performance

While rain can help clean solar panels, the intensity can also affect their performance. For instance, heavy rainfall, as well as thick cloud formations prior, can reduce the amount of sunlight absorbed by solar panels, decreasing efficiency. In addition, excessive moisture can also cause corrosion and other types of damage to the surface of photovoltaic cells over time. It goes without saying that the combination of heavy rain and dirty solar panels can render your managed properties’ solar system practically useless.

The Business Benefits of Clean Solar Panels

Regular solar panel cleaning is essential for commercial properties as it ensures maximum efficiency and longevity of the system. Dirty solar panels lessen the amount of sunlight that reaches the photovoltaic cells, decreasing the amount of electricity generated. By keeping the panels clean, businesses can improve their energy output and save money on electricity bills. Clean solar panels also last longer, as accumulated dirt and debris cause wear and tear on the surface of the panels, leading to damage over time. With regular cleaning, businesses can extend the lifespan of their solar panels and avoid costly replacements. Overall, investing in regular solar panel cleaning is a wise business decision that can increase energy savings and promote environmental sustainability.

Should You Hire Professionals for Solar Panel Cleaning?

While it’s not a bad thing to learn how to clean solar panels, it is generally recommended to choose professional services for commercial solar panel cleaning in particular. That’s because pro cleaners have the knowledge, expertise and equipment to clean solar systems safely and effectively without causing any damage. Additionally, professional services can often be more thorough and efficient than DIY cleaning, ensuring the panels function optimally. Not to mention, hiring professionals can help you save time and effort, allowing you to focus on other tasks.

Ready to Hire Pro Solar Panel Cleaners?

Man in red uniform cleaning solar panels manually with long handle stick with microfibre
To sum it up, dirty solar panels are less efficient than clean ones, so it is important to prioritise keeping your managed properties’ panels clean for optimal performance. Taking the time to do this may seem tedious initially, but the energy savings and improved efficiency will be well worth it in the long run. And if you want to ensure a job well done, enlist the services of a solar panel cleaning contractor instead of going down the DIY route.

Moreover, we take pride in our comprehensive range of services, including commercial gutter cleaning for various facilities such as aged care and commercial properties. We understand the unique needs of these establishments and have the expertise and specialised equipment to ensure top-notch gutter cleaning. Our team is dedicated to maintaining proper water flow, preventing clogs and safeguarding against potential damage caused by overflowing gutters. Whether it’s a meticulous cleaning for an aged care facility or managing complex gutter networks in commercial properties, you can rely on O’Brien Maintenance Group to deliver reliable and professional gutter cleaning services.

For more information on gutter and commercial solar panel cleaning, feel free to browse O’Brien Maintenance Group’s website today and check out our gutter and commercial solar panel cleaning service.


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