We just came through spring in the Northeast, and as anyone with seasonal allergies will tell you, pollen is A Thing in our region. Pollen coats our picnic table, our windshield, the insides of our nostrils (ugh), and… our solar panels.
Which raises the question: does pollen affect solar panel production?
We decided to run a Highly Unscientific* Experiment with the panels on our own home. Dave used a vehicle snow brush to clean all of our panels except one.
Then, we monitored panel production from our microinverter system, which allows us to see the power output of each individual panel.
In the image below, the left hump represents production on a cloudy Sunday, before the panels were cleaned, and the right is a sunny Monday, after they were cleaned. The lone pollen panel is graphed in light blue – the top line in the pop-up chart.
What did we discover?
No noticeable difference in production between the pollen-coated panel and the rest of the panels.
For residential PV systems, certainly not worth the effort of cleaning your panels, especially when spring in the Northeast brings frequent rain showers that will do most of the work for you!
*If you are interested in a Real Scientific Experiment studying the effect of pollen deposition on solar panel production, check out “Influence of Pollen on Solar Photovoltaic Energy: Literature Review and Experimental Testing with Pollen” by Sanz Saiz, C. et al, published in Applied Sciences. As the article title suggests, it has 114 references that should keep you busy for a while.