Clean solar panels save money

October 4, 2018 2:56 pm Published by

Cleaning dirt, pollen and debris off your solar panels helps them run more efficiently and boosts their overall energy production. And that increase – even if it’s just a few percentage points – saves you some money in the long run.

Last year, HESOLAR owners Eric and Derrick Hoffman let a 4-kilowatt solar panel installation their company set up in Austin get covered in dirt to see what impact cleaning solar panels has on their function¹. They cleaned half this installation with a soft rag and water and let the other half stay dirty for the course of their experiment.

The dirty solar panels yielded 3.5 percent less energy than the ones the Hoffman brothers had cleaned according to their website. That comes to a loss of about 17 kilowatt-hours of electricity each month based on the installation’s size and its location².

People in Fresno would see a slightly larger energy loss each month due to dirty solar panels – about 19 kilowatt hours a month — because the San Joaquin Valley gets more solar radiation than Austin. That comes to about $3 in lost energy savings each month given PG&E’s current residential rates.

It’s also important to note that Austin gets about three times the amount of rain that Fresno does each year. Fresno also experienced a lot of smoke from area wildfires.  These two factors mean your solar panels are probably collecting a lot more dirt than the Hoffman brother’s array.

They’re producing less electricity and that’s just costing you money. Mennonite Insurance’s staff members have seen a noticeable increase in energy production after cleaning their solar panels and wanted to pass that tip, along with the savings it could yield, on to you.

Thinking about putting solar panels on your home? Call Mennonite Insurance today at 559-638-2327 or e-mail mennonite@mennoniteinsurance.com to find out how these devices could impact your homeowner’s insurance rates and make sure your investment is protected.

Sources:

  1. “Dirty Solar Panels: Should you clean them?.” HESOLAR
  2. Kilowatt-hour production for Austin and Fresno calculated with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PVWatts Calculator
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