Long-Term Effects of Dust and Debris on Solar Panel Efficiency

Transform Energy

Fossil fuel, move over. Solar energy is now the cheapest energy on the market.

Commercial solar panels can help your business trim down or cut out your electric utility bill entirely. They help you to meet your commitments to green initiatives and benefit from hefty government incentives. Yet every solar panel has one noteworthy weakness: they function poorly when dirty.

Unfortunately, solar panels are not a fire-and-forget solution. Maintaining solar panels regularly is critical, even if the maintenance is minimal. Today, we discuss the long-term impact of solar panel dust and debris.

Debris Effects on Commercial Solar Panels

It's not hard to see why solar panel debris and dust harm a system's efficiency.

A panel's photovoltaic cells convert the sun's electromagnetic light rays into electricity. As cells accumulate particulate matter from the environment, they suffer a drop in efficiency. Obstructing incoming light, even only partially, reduces a panel's output.

These performance losses may only seem small, but they add up over time. One of the main selling points for solar panels is the cost savings for your business. A few hundred dollars worth of energy lost to utility bills is not an insignificant expense.

It's for this reason that you need a consistent maintenance schedule for optimal performance. It may seem like a hassle, but just going up to do a quick check is worth the effort.

Effect on Equipment Integrity

Another long-term concern, aside from lost energy, is damage. There are a lot of environmental pollutants in the air. Exhaust gasses, ash, residue from tire rubber, and more settle on your panels every day.

These pollutants can degrade your system's materials, even if only to a small degree. They may thin wire insulation, corrode metal contacts, or abrade the panel's glass surface. This reduces the longevity of these parts, requiring a replacement much sooner.

This effect intensifies during the winter. Snow can carry contaminants with it, causing additional damage aside from meltwater rusting the leads. No maintenance plan is complete without winter maintenance.

How to Avoid These Problems

The solution is simple. Keep your panels as clean as possible. Take careful inventory of the condition of the parts in your system.

Have your solar panel company drop by regularly to handle maintenance for you. In most cases, it will be quick. Workers brush off the panels, take a look at the batteries, and run some voltage tests.

Maintenance also presents opportunities to optimize your system. A professional may realize you're underutilizing your panels. A simple change like, say, adjusting the angle, could lead to noticeable gains.

Work with Transform Energy

Commercial solar panels function at peak optimization only if they get regular maintenance. This means cleaning off dust and debris and checking the individual components. Doing so frequently makes the most of your solar panel investment with clean energy returns.

Transform Energy can install any commercial solar panel system you need, and then keep it in good condition. Make sure your panels function at 100% efficiency with our maintenance and optimization services.

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