Q) Why should I clean my panels?
A) Maintaining clean panels protects an investment made when purchasing solar. As time passes dust builds on the panels the solar collection decreases. You start to notice a rise in the electric bill that eventually overshadows the benefit you first received. Unfortunately there’s not many ways of escaping from the elements.
Q) Who should clean their panels?
A) Anyone who owns anything solar related. From large scale industrial plants to garden lights, every solar panel accumulates dust over time. Realtors who are selling a home with solar on it would be wise to have the panels cleaned to give the home a fresh and appealing look.
Q) What positives can I benefit from keeping the panels clean?
A) Maintaining clean panels keeps money in your pocket. Clean panels also gives the system and home a fresh brand new look.
Q) What value am I getting with washing my panels?
A) The panel cleaning should offset the cost of the wash by allowing the system to produce more, thus reducing your electric bill.
Q) How often do you recommend cleaning the panels?
A) Typically panels should be cleaned every 4-6 months depending on wind and dust factors. This is a great time frame because it continues the idea of the panel washing paying for itself. Of course you can get them cleaned every month but then the cost would outweigh the benefit.
Q) Does rain wash the solar panels?
A) It depends on the rain. In Southern California we don’t experience too much torrential rainfall that would justify a panel cleaning. Nothing is going to replace the fresh clean surface of a panel that’s been scrubbed and squeegeed dry. I have seen in a rare instance where the rainfall was so heavy it was hailing that would qualify clean panels (at least postponing a required cleaning). Other than that it compares to a dirty car that gets wet in the rain, it remains dirty. Systems that haven’t got cleaned in 5 years are a lot more dirty panels that haven’t been washed in 3. They have experienced more rain but they are still soiled more.
Q) Do solar panels require any regular maintenance?
A) For the most part, no.
Other than cleaning which I wouldn’t classify maintenance. If executed correctly a system should run 20+ years without a hiccup.
Q) Is there anything I can do to try and fix my system before I call anyone?
A) There’s not much a homeowner should attempt on their own but try to power cycle the system to see if it makes a difference. A power cycle is shutting off the AC and DC disconnects, cutting off the power supply for five minutes to allow the system to reset. I’ve seen this fix things temporarily so if it does work keep an eye on it to see if an error occurs again. Sometimes when you power cycle an inverter it will display a code on startup (take photos) that you will have to acknowledge for it to start up.
Q) Who should I call when I need a repair?
A) The first person you should contact is the provider who installed your system to see if they can help you at no additional cost. If that is not available than call a qualified professional in your region that has experience in troubleshooting.