A funny thing happened as I noodled about investing in solar and looked at my community environmental behavior toward solar. Walking, driving and riding my bicycle past Lemoore City solar farms, Lemoore Unified School District Meadow Street solar farm, School District solar farms, and most homes in general, I noted the majority of solar panels layered in dirt. Rain isn’t coming to help out folks!

Generally, solar panels are between 15% and 20% efficient, high-quality solar panels can get to 23%. Unfortunately, the majority of solar panels don’t pass 20% efficiency according to Energysage, SolarReview, Greenmatch and others. Given low design efficiency, how much degraded and less efficient are dirt covered ones. And did anyone notice we are surrounded by frequently airborne farmland?

How is it that governments, from Federal-to-county to city-to homeowners, advocating environmental responsibility, are paying so little heed to this cost defraying, expensive solar technology? Whether public solar or private solar, your tax dollars installed the panels which you continue to finance! Isn’t the solar owner/operator obligated to sustain peak operating efficiency to ensure energy is produced and advertised rewards are gained?

If this inattention to operations is how they manage an easy-to-maintain investment, how good is their attention to their primary investment, the one they actually were elected to sustain?

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Solar panel cleaning, once the manufacturers recommendations are known, is as simple as getting a bucket of water, soap and a soft sponge and applying elbow grease. Garden hoses are inefficient and solar to delicate to power-wash. No other really special equipment is needed except the will to maintain the solar investment.

Parents and homeowners with solar, after they tend their own systems, ought to be down at local government and school boards shaming them for investing and, then, paying lip service to the investment by not properly maintaining the solar investment.

Gary Smith


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