Does Heavy Rain Clean Solar Panels?
The world is transitioning to a worldwide movement to utilize renewable energy sources, such as solar energy. Solar energy is a clean and efficient way to generate clean energy and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. For solar energy to work effectively and efficiently, solar panels have to be kept clean and free from dirt, dust and debris. But does heavy rain really clean solar panels?
Impact of Dirt and Debris on Solar Panels
Dirt and debris can negatively impact solar panel performance. When dirt, dust and debris accumulate on the surface of the panel, it blocks the panel from absorbing the sun’s radiant energy, resulting in a loss of up to 25% in system efficiency. Common sources of dirt and debris include bird or bat droppings, dust, and pollen. Depending on where you live, these elements accumulate more quickly, which can lead to quicker build up on the panels.
Advantages of Rain on Solar Panels
When it comes to rain, it is a double edged sword; while too much rain can lead to poor panel performance, the silver lining is that rain at least helps in keeping dirt and debris away. Heavy rainfall will freshen and clean the solar panel – this helps in washing away dust and pollen that accumulate on the panel’s surface. As an added bonus, as the water droplets fall across the panel, it will also help buff away and soften any scratches or scuffs on the surface.
Disadvantages of Rain on Solar Panels
Heavy rainfall, while advantageous to some degree in keeping panels refreshed, does not work as a reliable cleaning strategy. It is not always ideal to rely on rainfall for cleaning solar panels, as bird or bat droppings and other stubborn dirt particles may still not be washed away by rain. This is especially true for panels located in rural areas, where rainfall is less frequent and not consistent throughout the year. Moreover, wind-driven rain can bring dust from neighbouring fields onto the solar panel surface, which again require manual clean up.
In conclusion, rainy days help keep solar panels relatively clean and efficient. However, it is not an ideal method to rely on rain for cleaning solar panels and other debris, especially bird or bat droppings, may not be washed away. For optimal performance, regular manual cleaning of panels is a necessary step to ensure that the panels are free of excess dirt, dust, and debris. All in all, while not totally ideal, there is an upshot to heavy rainfall: it helps keep solar panels clean and function efficiently!