In recent years, building an environmentally friendly home or updating an existing home to be more energy efficient has become much more mainstream. While building an entirely green residence isn’t always fiscally possible, simple eco-friendly building techniques and upgrades will ultimately lower your water and electricity bills.
We have had our new Tesla battery for a couple of weeks now and we have just done our first electric kiln firing on sunshine. We have had 3 kW of solar PV panels on our kiln shed roof for over a decade now, but we have only recently managed to get our hands on […]
How much clean energy does the world need? In the solar power generation olympics, as of 2017, the US takes the bronze medal. China wins the gold, and India is in second place with silver. The world’s largest solar farm covers 10 square miles and now has 4 million solar panels. It’s the Longyangxia Dam […]
A question I get all the time from home owner’s, after installing their solar generation system, is “Do I need to clean my solar panels?”. Solar panels will typically be cleaned off during a rain-storm, but to get an idea of how much efficiency and savings would be gained cleaning them yourself we need to look at where you live, how often it rains, the pitch of your roof, and how much your utility is charging (price per kWh).
If you live in an area with regular rain storms like Portland, Oregon or Houston, Texas, it probably does not make sense for you to clean your panels as the added effort your putting in would have a very minimal effect. A study done by Engineer at UC San Diego found that, during a drought, solar panels lost less than 0.05% of their efficiency per day. This means in an area of frequent rain, your panels will likely lose less than 1% efficiency and the savings you get from cleaning your panels will be a couple of dollar (at most) on a typical residential solar system.
Even if you live in an area with infrequent precipitation, it probably won’t make sense for most individuals to clean their solar panels. An Engineer team at UC San Diego tested a 5-kW system that hadn’t received any rain or been clean in 145 days and found that it lost only 7.4 % efficiency in that time which cost the system $20 on their electric rate. If you are the one who would be getting on the roof and cleaning them then this may be worth it, but most any company that would provide this service is going to charge you more than $20.
This study was done in California, so it is important to note that these efficiency losses (due to dust and dirt) could be greater or less depending on where you live. For example, desert areas with lots of wind blown dust will have an increased efficiency loss and for greater periods of time when compared with this study done in California. In these situations, it starts to become more advantageous for homeowners to clean their panels during a drought. Even in this situation, I do not believe it makes sense to pay someone to come by and clean your panels, as I don’t think you would see a return on that investment (average solar panel cleaning services charge $120-$160).
One Situation where it really makes sense to clean your solar panels is when you have them on a very low tilt. When your panels are relatively flat pitched, they will collect a lot more dirt and be much less likely to “self-clean” during a rain storm. A low pitched solar cell will collect puddles of dirt and mud that will make it extremely difficult for the sun to get through and have the panel work efficiently. It is important to note that your solar panels should not have been installed at a near flat pitch (in most regions), but if they are, then it would be very beneficial for you to clean them or maybe even have a company come do it if you are not comfortable being on the roof.
The final factor to consider is your electrical rate. A 2% efficiency loss will have a different financial impact depending on how much your utility charges you per kWh. The higher your rates are, coupled with the other factors discussed, the more it makes sense to clean your panels or hire someone to do it.
About a year ago, we got solar panels installed on the roof of our condo. In that time, our panels have generated around 6.58 MWh of power (/work?). Enough to power our home, eliminating our electric bills and then some. Our home is up in the cold, dark, often rainy Northeast. The roof with our […]
Clean Focus Renewables Inc. has completed Ewauna 2, a 3.87 MW ground-mount solar project in Klamath Falls, Ore. It will distribute renewable energy to PacifiCorp for the benefit of Oregon residents. Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, a Clean Focus company, will maintain the solar array, and Clean Focus Yield Ltd. will operate the system as part of its portfolio of commercial, industrial, small utility, and community solar projects.
“Adding more solar to the grid to benefit customers is a major goal for us,” says Todd Andres, regional business manager for Pacific Power, the PacifiCorp company that serves 590,000 customers in Oregon. “This project helps us achieve that goal on our customers’ behalf and makes the entire grid a bit more clean.”
Ewauna 2 consists of 12,084 solar modules and 58 inverters on 22 acres of privately owned land leased for the project. The solar array is expected to produce about 7.24 million kWh of clean energy annually, which could power 672 homes.
“Clean Focus worked hard to complete the Ewauna 2 project before tight deadlines required by the incentive programs of the Oregon Department of Energy and the Energy Trust of Oregon. We appreciate the support of Klamath Falls and PacifiCorp. This solar array adds increased renewable energy to the existing power grid,” states Stanley Chin, president and CEO of Greenskies and Clean Focus Group. “The Ewauna 2 project is one of many in our large portfolio of small utility and community solar projects. We look forward to a long relationship with PacifiCorp and the community of Klamath Falls over the lifetime of the project.”
PacifiCorp will buy the power produced at the Ewauna 2 project through a power purchase agreement. In addition, the project will receive additional incentives through the Oregon Department of Energy and the Energy Trust of Oregon.
The renewables are coming. The history of technological innovations shows us that when a technology reaches a certain critical level, it makes a quantum leap – witness television, cell phones, digital photography, the internet. For renewable energy, that time is now. Your state, city, county, utility companies, or country, – can lead, follow, or […]
Duke Energy and Walt Disney World officials announced details of the Mickey-shaped solar farm near Epcot this morning.
The five-megawatt solar farm is being called the Walt Disney World Solar Facility. It is visible from the air as a giant Mickey Mouse shape. It’s just off the east shoulder of World Drive, near its intersection with Epcot Center Drive. It’s just west of Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort.
The farm is about 22 acres, part of a 15-year agreement that allows Duke Energy to build, own and operate the farm on Disney’s land. In return, the farm will provide solar power to Walt Disney World.
Read the full article and check out more pics below!
Wind farm outside Fort MacLeod, Alberta, Canada [photographer: Joel Bennett] Enlarge Photo Renewable-energy generation costs are falling like photons onto a solar panel. By 2020, it’s expected all types of renewable-energy generation will be able to compete with fossil fuels on cost. That’s right: saving our environment will actually save electric utilities some money, too. […]
The world is quickly abandoning coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels. But that’s not the end of the road for coal mines—in many countries they’re coming back to life as solar farms. Over the weekend, the world’s biggest floating solar project began operating in the eastern Chinese city of Huainan, which accounted for nearly 20%… via […]