"Commercial owners or solar farms clean their investments diligently. Homeowners with PV solar panels should consider cleaning annually to maximise the generation output."
Solar panel cleaning.
Lichen growth, birds muck, and algae are the enemies of PV self-generation.
The sheer time that solar panels generate for their owners (decades) means the odd clean may be necessary from time to time.
Keeping solar panels clean is an issue with PV solar panels (photovoltaic) rather than solar heating panels or evacuated tubes.
PV solar panels require direct sunlight to work efficiently thus why they should get installed on a southerly-facing roof.
Making sure they don't build up a film of dirt/dust over time is essential to squeeze the maximum out of this technology.
Many were sold the technology on the basis that they were "self-cleaning". The glass gets coated with a microscopically thin layer of titanium dioxide. When ultraviolet light falls on the glass, the coating reacts with organic matter in the dirt, breaking it down slowly over time.
However, you'll know by keeping your car windscreen clean clean that atmospheric dirt, dust, or bird poo will build up over time on any surface and so it makes sense to periodically clean if possible.
Build-up can amount to many microns that do reduce efficiency, albeit not to any significant degree. However, over the lifetime of the solar panels, this can stand to a considerable level of performance.
We recommend cleaning your photovoltaic panels once a year. To provide maximum performance and to keep them in generally good condition.
Maintained panels can still be generating at 80% capacity after twenty years, and some early examples are still produced from the 1960s.
I know from my window cleaning experience that it's important to keep the white UPVC plastic clean. This prevents any dirt from becoming ingrained. This damage can occur as a result of variable extremes of sunlight and weathering.
The same is true with solar panels.
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