How does dirt, twigs and leaves affect the efficiency of my system?
Much like shading from other obstructions, anything, including dirt, bird droppings or leaves will reduce your output as it is not letting the sunshine through to the panel in that spot and will affect the efficiency of your solar power system.
The difference in clean and dusty/dirty panels in output electricity generation can be about 5%. Heavy rain can clean panels regularly cleaning will assist in maximising the solar output.
Caution: We do not recommend that house owners get on the roof and perform solar panel cleaning themselves but have the cleaning undertaken after a few years by a solar company.
In general it is recommended that solar panels be cleaned with water and not with anything abrasive. If you are near a high traffic area or there is an accumulation of dust due to the geographical location or construction activity, or lack of rain – regular cleaning after approximately 12 months may be required.
Some solar installers offer maintenance services where they come and check the electrical connections and clean the solar panels on a periodic basis.
It is good idea to negotiate a good price for follow up inspections in years to come for your solar system at the time you purchase it.