SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY

Solar panels dirty from Friday’s mud storm? Call in the cleaners

Feb 10, 2021, 3:14 PM | Updated: 3:22 pm
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Rain does help your solar panels operate more efficiently after the storm because the water washes away any dirt, dust or pollen. However last week Utah experienced a different kind of storm.
 
As the wind kicked up so did the dust and dirt. When it snowed, the dust and dirt stuck to it like glue causing a mud storm. 
 
All over Utah, businesses and residents are cleaning up after the brown snow of last week, but the grime may also be hitting electric bills this month if you have solar panels.
 
The dirt and mud covering the solar panels can cause an interruption which directly affects their efficiency. So, residents and businesses are taking action and calling the cleaners immediately. 
 
“I never would have thought I’ve even had to clean my solar panels,” said resident Sarah Bentley. “That was pretty disgusting. It looked like someone dumped a milkshake over it or like cement almost.”

Clean your solar panels

Wash Me Solar owner, Austin Lyon, reported dirt on solar panels can cut their efficiency by as much as 20 percent. “Because of the storm, I mean we’ve got 50, 60 jobs probably on our schedule right now,” he said.
 
The Sandy company said it’s their offseason but they are out on about eight jobs a day because of Friday’s storm. “All the little dust particles cast shadows on the photovoltaic cells. So anywhere those shadows are being cast, it’s limiting the performance in those areas [of the panels],” Lyon added.
 
If you haven’t cleaned up yet, Mother Nature may help out with another storm in the forecast for Friday, bringing with it a 70 percent chance of rain. 

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Solar panels dirty from Friday’s mud storm? Call in the cleaners