In recent years, solar energy has been getting much attention from the general public. Environmentalists praise it as the cleanest, most widely available energy source we currently have. For once, these claims aren’t just exaggerations.
Solar energy is a completely renewable energy source that doesn’t require resources to harness. Furthermore, it doesn’t generate any toxic waste the way burning fossil fuels does. Plus, it helps homeowners save money long-term, both by reducing their property taxes and the amount they have to pay on electric bills overall. In short, it’s the ultimate solution to reversing global warming.
However, despite the benefits, many remain skeptical. Namely, solar detractors claim that once the panels accumulate enough dirt, they stop working. But is this true? Do solar panels obtain dirt over time? Here is everything you need to know about solar panel care and how you can improve it.
Solar Panels 101
In order to understand solar panel care, you first have to understand what solar panels are. Solar panels are a type of solar architecture that can harness sunlight and convert it into thermal or electrical energy. The panels are outfitted with a thin layer of silicone that contains multiple photovoltaic cells, or PV cells for short.
PV cells are linked to one another via two semi-conductive materials — phosphorus and boron. These materials have an opposing magnetic charge, which generates an electrical field once separated. So, once the PV cells absorb light particles, the particles force electrons out of their atomic bonds. These electrons then travel through the panel’s electrical field and generate an electric charge.
The end result is electricity you can use to power your home or provide heat during the colder months. The average panel system can generate anywhere between 250 and 400 watts of power per hour. However, this is just an estimate.
The actual amount of electricity your panels will generate depends on many factors, such as the size of the system, your location, its capacity, and weather conditions. Nevertheless, it’s important to flag that even a smaller system is more than capable of meeting the energy needs of an average family home.
Do Solar Panels Obtain Dirt Over Time?
Solar panels may be a great eco-friendly energy source, but are they as efficient as traditional energy sources? Two of the biggest concerns many solar skeptics have is that the panels will stop working in bad weather or if they get dirty. Truth be told, this is somewhat accurate.
Solar panels depend on direct sunlight to produce electricity. While the sun doesn’t completely disappear when it’s overcast outside, bad weather will make the panels work at a reduced capacity. However, it won’t make the panels stop working altogether. Similarly, since most people add panels to their rooftops or backyards, the panels can accumulate a lot of debris over time.
Dirt, bird droppings, dust, and grime can hinder sunlight from reaching the PV cells in the panels. While this won’t make the panels stop functioning, it will make them produce less electricity than normal. Therefore, to get the most out of your panels, it’s vital you clean them regularly.
Most solar panel experts recommend you clean your system once every six months to a year. However, if you live in an environment with high levels of pollution, you may have to clean them more frequently.
You can clean them yourself using mild dish soap, soft brushes, and low-pressure hoses. But, you can also hire a professional in case you don’t want to risk damaging the system.
Solar panels are a fantastic, eco-friendly way to power your home. However, just like any other appliance, they require regular maintenance. The panels can accumulate a lot of dirt, dust, and debris on their surface, which can prevent sunlight from reaching the PV cells. This, in turn, can cause the panels to run less efficiently.
Therefore, it’s vital you clean your system at least once every six months. Regular maintenance will keep the panels working at full capacity to provide you with a steady supply of clean energy.