Solar panel soiling, or the accumulation of dirt, dust, and other debris on solar panels, can lead to a loss of energy production and a decrease in overall efficiency. In fact, studies have shown that soiling can cause energy losses of up to 30%.
You may be asking what the top causes are for soiling loss on your PV array. Here are the top 10 causes we've noticed from our extensive experience while monitoring over 6GW across the globe.
Dust and Dirt: The most common cause of solar panel soiling is the accumulation of dust and dirt. This is particularly common in dry and dusty areas, such as deserts.
Pollen and Seeds: During the spring and summer months, pollen and seeds can accumulate on solar panels, particularly in areas with a high concentration of plants and trees.
Wildfire ash: ashes from forest fires spread easily across surrounding buildings, becoming an additional source of panel pollution, especially in areas that have a fire season.
Leaves: Fallen leaves can accumulate on solar panels during the fall months, particularly in areas with a high concentration of trees.
Rain and Snow: While rain and snow can help to clean solar panels, they can also leave behind mineral deposits and other debris that can reduce energy production.
Air Pollution: Air pollution, including particulate matter and industrial emissions, can also contribute to solar panel soiling. This is particularly problematic in urban areas.
Salt: Salt is a common cause of soiling loss in coastal regions, as salt particles can accumulate on solar panels and reduce energy production.
Sand and Gravel: In areas with high winds, sand and gravel can become airborne and accumulate on solar panels, particularly in desert regions.
Insects: Insects, including spiders and flies, can also accumulate on solar panels, particularly in rural areas.
Construction Debris: During construction projects, debris and dust can become airborne and accumulate on nearby solar panels, causing a significant loss in energy production.
So, what can be done to prevent solar panel soiling loss? Regular cleaning and maintenance are key. In particular, cleaning at the correct intervals is key to financial optimization.
Fracsun's ARES soiling monitoring device has been specifically fine-tuned to monitor soiling loss from these pollutants to optimize the washing cycle of solar panels and save on cleaning and maintenance costs. You can request an ARES demo to learn more.