Solar

Solar Panel Maintenance in Four Simple Steps

  • 29 Jun 2022

As more and more people look into alternative energy sources, the popularity of solar panels grows as well. According to Eurostat, renewable energy represented a tad above 22% of the energy consumed in the EU in 2020 — about a two percentage point upgrade over the target value. And experts notice a similar trend in other parts of the world.

However, before homeowners decide to install solar systems on the roofs of their homes, they usually have some concerns they want to address. Besides requiring assistance to find the best offer from a vast pool of available green loans, many people worry about the costs associated with their solar infrastructure’s maintenance.

If you are a part of this group, let us assure you that maintaining optimal power generation of a solar system is less problematic than you might think. Below, you will find four easy-to-follow steps to keep your solar panels working without a hiccup.

Solar

Check the Roof

Although solar panels require little maintenance, leaving them unattended for an extended period of time is not a wise decision. On the contrary, you need to check in on your solar system once in a while to see if everything works properly.

The first step you should take is examining your roof, which might sound surprising. Nevertheless, keeping your roof in good condition is indispensable to reap all the benefits of solar power.

A poorly maintained roof can decrease the efficiency of your solar system. In some cases, it might even damage it, resulting in high repair costs. To prevent this from happening, you should inspect your roof a few times per year.

Things you should watch out for include:

– signs of erosion at the base of the mount system

– loose roof penetrations

– inadequate drainage

– broken and damaged roof shingles

Other than that, you might want to ensure there are no signs of animal infestation and no loose hanging wires in the array. While you are at it, you may also check for corrosion on the outside of enclosures and the racking system.

Clean Your Solar Panels

Another vital step is to clean your solar panels from dust and dirt. Once placed on your home’s roof, solar panels endure numerous weather conditions, from scorching sun rays to freezing temperatures. It can leave a mark on them, preventing the system from efficiently absorbing the sun.

To keep your solar system running as efficiently as possible, you should clean the panels on a fortnightly basis. You might even want to carry out cleaning duties once every week if you live in a dusty area without much regular rainfall. Still, how often you should clean your solar panels will differ from one homeowner to another.

The good news is that you do not need special equipment to clean your panels — a regular garden hose should be sufficient for the task. You can use it to wash the face of the panels in the morning or evening.

With this said, avoid cleaning your panels while they are hot. Otherwise, you might damage them. Furthermore, consult your installer if self-cleaning your panels will not terminate the warranty.

Monitor Your Solar Panels Output

Checking in on what happens inside your solar panels is just as important as ensuring they are clean on the outside. Sadly, many people forget about this step and never measure their solar panels’ output besides examining the initial output levels. It is a huge mistake.

If you do not monitor how much energy your solar panels generate, you might find yourself unable to determine whether your solar panels operate with 100 percent efficiency. This situation could pose further issues, making it challenging to estimate how much of your energy needs your solar system can cover.

Fortunately, you can monitor your solar panel output with energy management software. Connecting your panels to this software, you can easily monitor the output over time. Doing so allows you to detect any unexpected decreases in power and act accordingly.

Some applications even provide an option to set alarms for various solar meters. For example, the software could inform you when your panels’ output drops below the minimum amount of energy they should generate.

Call in an Expert for Specific Checks

Even though you can take care of general preventive maintenance yourself, it is wise to schedule an appointment with a professional every six to twelve months. They can use special

equipment to examine your solar system and see if you need to execute some much-needed adjustments.

Keep in mind that your provider may require you to set your maintenance a specific amount of times per year. For instance, some companies will opt for annual inspections, while others will advocate for quarterly maintenance checks.

Once an expert reaches your home, they will read and record the inverter data, inspect the solar panels for any damage to the glass or frames, and ensure there is a sufficient gap between the solar panels and the roof. Other tasks they may undertake include:

– ensuring there is no gap between the male and female connector parts

– conducting an insulation resistance (IR) test

– performing a cable check.

Additionally, you can use this opportunity to ask your installer about specific maintenance requirements for your solar system. This way, you may learn something new and keep your panels in good working order all year long.

The Bottom Line

Nowadays, many homeowners decide to install solar panels on their roofs to save money and reduce their environmental impact. Nonetheless, if you want to join this group, remember that a solar system is not something you can set up and forget about.

Upon installation, your solar panels are instantly exposed to the elements. Because of this, they require constant maintenance to work as intended. It includes keeping your roof in good condition, as well as clearing your solar panels and monitoring their output.

If you fail to take care of your panels, they will not reach maximum efficiency, limiting their electricity output. So, keep your solar panels in good condition, schedule regular maintenance checks with your provider, and enjoy the long-term benefits of getting energy straight from the sun.

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