With the beauties of spring comes the pain of pollen. There are many reasons to detest pollen season: allergies, asthma, and struggling to see through a yellow film on your windshield all come to mind. If you have a solar array, you can also add millions of tiny pollen grains obscuring your modules to the list of seasonal annoyances.
So, how much of a problem is pollen to your solar array? And what should you do about it?
A Simple Fix
The good news is, unlike seasonal allergies, a pollen film on your solar array is an easy fix. In fact, Mother Nature takes care of most of it with her regular springtime rain showers. (Hey, at least there is some reason to be grateful for those April Showers that re-activate our collective Seasonal Affective Disorder.) However pollen is pretty stubborn stuff, and it can be a good idea to rid your solar array of any accumulation before it gets cemented to your modules by the summer sun.
What to Do about Pollen
Depending on the placement and accessibility of your solar array, you could take a few different routes.
Check out this list of common pollen producers in Western Washington. Look at the trees surrounding your array to get an idea of peak pollen production time. You’ll want to target your cleaning for shortly after this timeframe. (Don’t live in Western Washington? Here’s a national map of pollen counts.)
A simple rinse with the hose should clear away enough of the pollen, but it is a good idea to do a thorough cleaning of your solar array occasionally to keep up peak production. Since the best production days are those with the longest daylight hours, spring is a good time to do this cleaning, so the modules will be the least obscured during the peak production time of the year.
As we discussed in this blog post, follow Itek Energy’s Module Cleaning Guidelines for safety and the best results in cleaning your array. If climbing up and down ladders isn’t your thing, many solar contractors also offer cleaning packages.
What Happens If I Skip It?
Ideas on this vary, though it is generally agreed that the impact to production is minor. The benefits of regular cleaning, however, are hard to dispute. Like with any chore such as lawn mowing or vacuuming your car, if you maintain it regularly, it takes less effort each time to get a good result.
There are monetary rewards, as well. Depending on the terms of your solar program, the savings can be anywhere from $20 to a few hundred dollars in a season. So it really depends on what’s important to you. At the end of the day, it’s about what makes you happy.
Our team at Itek Energy welcomes the chance to assist you with questions on your solar journey. You can contact us via our website or call 360-647-9531 to speak with a member of our team.