If you want your big investment in a solar panel to bring you long-term benefits, it is necessary that you conduct consistent solar panel maintenance. Although you are in luck because you have very little maintenance to worry about when it comes to your solar panel system!
Solar panels are exceptionally easy to maintain because they are made of tempered glass which holds up well even in the toughest weather conditions. There are just simple procedures like cleaning and checking of parts that you or a hired solar installer can do to make sure that your system is functioning efficiently.
Routine Inspection and Maintenance
If you want your panels to maintain their proper function despite the normal wear and tear, you should conduct a semi-annual inspection. You can hire a professional solar installer to thoroughly check the important equipment. Here are useful tips for a maintenance routine and regular inspection:
- Make sure that your solar panels are always efficient in energy production, keep them out of shade so that sunlight absorption is always at maximum.
- The inverters of your solar panel should always be flashing green lights. If they don’t. You are losing money because it means that your solar system is no longer compensating for your electricity use.
- Write down the day-to-day performance of your system. Note how much energy has been produced at a consistent time every day and the days when it is very cloudy. The manufacturer of your system should be able to provide you with the best monitoring system.
- Make sure that your solar panels are clean, secure, and free of defects.
- There are no parts that have deteriorated or corroded.
- The vents are free from any form of debris.
- The switches are working properly and do not have defects.
- The wiring has not been damaged in any way.
- Electrical checks are on schedule to make sure that all components are operating as expected.
- Fittings and cables are attached securely and they are not moving or unstable.
- Review the inverter display panel for recorded faults.
- Check the access to the isolator switches and ensure that they have not been impeded.
- The emergency procedures for shutdown and isolation are clearly displayed in case of an emergency.
Solar Panel Cleaning
Cleaning solar panels as part of solar panel maintenance is not a very difficult task especially when you live in areas where it rains often. Rainwater will be more than enough to clean off the dirt, dust, or debris from your solar panels. However, if you live in a place where it hasn’t rained for quite a while, follow these tips on cleaning solar panels:
- Use a garden hose with a nozzle attachment to spray water and rinse off your solar panels. Let them dry.
- If you live in an area where there is a lot of pollen, sandstorms, or ash, regularly wash your panels.
- With flat roofs and filthy panels, wipe down the dirt with clean water and a cloth-covered sponge or squeegee.
- With a pitched roof where climbing on the roof to wipe off the dirt from your panels, clean with a harness or roof anchor and a personal fall arrest system. Otherwise, hire a cleaning crew to do the job.
- When snow builds up on your panels, and you have a roof access hatch, you can knock off the snow with a broom. You can also use a leaf blower if your solar panels are reachable. Don’t bother cleaning up a thin layer of snow which can be melted when it gets sunny the next day.
- Avoid these cleaning products that can damage your solar panels:
- Hard water that leaves white residue and decreases photovoltaic output
- Abrasive sponges that can scratch your panels
- Very cold water on a warm panel can cause thermal shock and permanent damage
- Very high-pressure water can damage the joints in the panel frame. Do not use Karcher-type high-pressure cleaners
- Solvents and detergents that can cause damage to the surface of the solar collectors on your panels.
Preventive Maintenance by a Licensed Electrician and a Professional Installer
A professional installer can help you with technical maintenance that should take place once in every year. They will verify that all the parts and equipment in your solar panel system are in top condition and functioning efficiently. Licensed electricians can also give a thorough check on all electrical wirings to help prevent potential hazards.