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Everything you Need to Know About Solar Panel Maintenance

October 25, 2021

Installing solar panels might be a process, but maintaining them is fairly simple. Solar panels will require simple maintenance throughout their service life. By practicing the proper maintenance, you will enjoy the solar energy service for around 25 years.

Thus, don’t let fear of their maintenance hinder you from the solar energy source in your home. While solar panel maintenance is essential, much of the care involved is cleaning the debris and dirt. You can do so in just a couple of minutes.

Occasionally, your solar panel might require depth care. The rate at which you will be required to carry out solar panel maintenance will depend on your residential location and the weather conditions you mostly experience. For instance, heavy snowfalls will decrease solar energy generation.

How Can You Maintain Solar Panels?

Solar panels require little maintenance for them to function well. But how do you maintain the solar panels? Are they like vehicles requiring regular check-ups for them to remain in peak conditions? Or should you leave them after installation? Don’t worry anymore. If you have not been practicing proper maintenance, you’re not late. The right time to observe care for your solar panels is now. The following tips will help you learn everything you want to know about maintaining your solar panels for efficient power generation.

  • Cleaning and Removing Debris from the Solar Panel

Have you ever cleaned your solar panels after installation? During rain seasons, the rainwater is enough to clean your solar panel. But, during dry seasons, your solar panels may accumulate dust particles, thus reducing the system's capacity. Also, pollen, factory fumes, bird droppings may accumulate on the solar panels and reduce energy generation. If your home is next to a busy highway, dirt from dust and fumes may affect your solar panels. If your solar panels are ground-mounted, you will have an easy time cleaning them since they’re low in height. But they’re prone to dirt due to their exposure. You will require the following tools when cleaning your solar panels:

  • Leaf blower

  • Hosepipe(low-pressure)

  • Sponge(non-abrasive)

  • Broom(non-abrasive)

Cleaning the Solar Panels

When cleaning the solar panels, you will require different solar cleaning detergents and tools based on the state of your solar panels. If your solar panel is dusty, the following steps will help you clean them:

  • You should first understand the instructions provided by the manufacturers about switching off the solar system. By switching off the solar system, you will avoid damages to the power system.

  • Next, use your broom to eradicate any debris from your solar panels. Also, you may pick the debris if you reach them.

  • After removing the debris, you will then spray water on the solar panels. It's recommended you use soft water or lukewarm water. Excess cold water may damage the solar panel cells, while hard water will form residue, thus reducing the solar system's output.

  • Using the non-abrasive sponge, clean the ground-mounted solar panels. For the roof-mounted, you should use a sponge with a handle.

  • During winter, ensure you remove the snow on the solar panels. Use a brush to clean the snow. Snow left on the solar panels will reduce the panel’s efficiency.

  • Tightening the Solar Panel’s Loose Parts

Ensure your solar panels' nuts, bolts, and joints are intact for maximum energy production. So, keep an eye on your energy generation monitoring machine, as it will help you discover faults. If you experience a drastic change in your energy generation, check for any faulty parts. Remember, loose wires may reduce your energy production. In addition, the defective parts may pose the risk of fire. Thus ensure all cables don't come in contact with the metallic parts. If you notice loose nuts and you don’t know where to start, call your solar power installation expert right away.

  • Monitoring the Solar System

Monitoring your solar energy components is another way to keep the solar panels working efficiently. The solar panel components are inverters, panels, storage batteries, power meters, and cables. All these parts must work together for efficient power production. Thus keep checking each part to ensure it's working correctly.

The inverter works by switching the system into fault mode in case of faulty parts. So, the inverter prevents damage to the other components. The inverter also has indicator lights you should continually monitor. It usually lasts for around ten years, but you can also replace it.

All the components of the solar panel system should remain functional throughout to avoid blackouts. Top up the lead-acid batteries with battery water annually. When adding the acid to your batteries, ensure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Use distilled water to clean the battery terminals. After cleaning, use a high-temperature grease or sealant to coat the battery nodes. For the system cables, ensure there are no naked wires.

Ensure the power meters for the system are in good conditions for accuracy. If you note significant increase or decrease in consumption indicates a signal of fault in the system gadget. Also, ensure the regulator is not faulty for maximum efficiency. Remember, all the components of the solar system are essential; they work like our body. When one body part is aching, it affects the overall body function. Then do not neglect any solar accessory.

  • Replacing and Repairing Solar Panels

It's important to note, even when your solar panels are of high quality, they will still require replacement and repair one day. Thus, If your solar panels need replacement or repair, it's recommended you hire a solar energy expert. Again, if you’re losing efficiency and still under warranty, you may call your solar energy company. The company will send one of their solar energy experts to come and assess the problem and replace the solar panels or fix the problem.

When your solar panels are physically damaged, the equipment warrant or homeowner insurance will cover the problem. Therefore, find out whether your solar panels are covered for any damages. Lastly, don’t attempt to replace the solar panels unless you are an expert on the solar energy system. If you don’t know any solar energy experts, you may call our solar energy professionals from Sun Solar Electric.

  • Maintaining Efficiency

Do you know you can increase solar power generation by maintaining efficiency? To keep the efficiency of your solar system, you should expose the solar panels to much light. So you will be required to remove any shades near the solar panels. Growing trees is a common problem facing residential solar panels.

Therefore, if your home has tall trees, they might affect the solar energy production in your solar system. Thus examine whether the trees are putting your panels under shade. Upon identifying the branches causing shadows on your solar panels, you may trim them immediately. Trim the branches professionally to avoid damaging the tree or dropping branches on the panels. Remember, trees will always grow after pruning. Thus you want to repeat the exercise after a few years.

  • How Extreme Weather Conditions Might Affect Your Solar Panels

The solar panel manufacturers design them with durable materials. So, the top-quality solar panels will withstand all types of weather like rain and wind. The solar panels are also able to hold up against hail. Also, they can survive hurricanes.

But, the solar panels are not 100% indestructible as they might suffer damages from tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, or hail. However, if you have a warrant, the homeowner's insurance will cover the solar panels. So any damages from your solar panels will be replaced or repaired. In most cases, the weather condition which significantly affects the solar panels is extreme heat. When the temperatures rise above 90 degrees, the solar panels lose efficiency by around 1% per degree. But you might solve this by elevating the solar panels a few inches above your roof or ground to allow air circulation as it helps in cooling down and maintaining energy generation.

Roof Panels vs. Ground Panels: The Difference in Their Maintenance

Do you know the difference between roof and ground panels when it comes to their maintenance? You will be surprised to learn there is little or no difference in the maintenance process for roofs and ground solar panels. The only difference is, the ground solar panels are easier to access and clean than the roof solar panels. When cleaning ground solar panels, you will often sweep the snowfall or dust when cleaning them.

The main thing about the roof solar panels is they’re placed at an elevated angle. So, the installers have a mean time installing them direct to the sun rays and away from sunlight obstacles. If you want to install ground solar panels, you should have enough space to install them. The surface should also be free from tall buildings, trees, or any object which might obstruct the sun's rays. If your home doesn’t meet these criteria, you should go for the roof solar panels.

What is the Approximate Solar Panel Maintenance Cost?

Finding out your solar system has issues might be stressful. Anxiously waiting to know the total cost of maintenance and repair will be more. Even the best PV systems will require maintenance and repair. But you may save yourself energy and time by going for the best solar energy system installer. When you experience a problem with your solar energy system, you will contact the installer and let them solve the issue. The solar energy manufacturers will cover almost every component of the solar energy system. The components include:

  • Batteries

  • Inverters

  • Frames and racks

  • Solar panels

Another part that requires maintenance coats is the roof. If you want to repair or replace the roof, you will first need to remove the solar panels. After repairing the roof, the installer will reinstall the solar panels. Therefore, if your roof is aging, you will need to replace or repair them before installing the solar panels. By doing so, you will save a lot of money on repairs or replacements in the future.

What is The Standard Warranty for Solar Panels?

Before going solar, ensure you obtain an excellent solar panel warrant. The fact is, when your solar panel efficiency begins to decrease, you will require service, which might end up costing you thousands of dollars. Many good solar panel companies will issue you with a warrant between 15 to 25 years. Also, you will have a guarantee your solar energy generation remains above 85% for that period. Thus ensure your solar energy installer doesn't provide you with a warrant much below the standard one.

The Benefits of Solar Panel Maintenance

Solar panel maintenance will come with several benefits to the homeowner, including efficient power generation. Professional maintenance of the solar panels is the best method to keep your solar system working well. Also, your solar panel installer may require you to practice regular professional care as part of your warrant. When scheduling maintenance visits with your installer, you should keep any document or receipt for the records.

Regular maintenance is essential when you want to obtain the most services from your investment. A slight reduction in energy efficiency might limit power production and increase dependency on traditional utility services. Although the solar panels are durable, maintenance is critical to determine any issue in the early stages. The earlier you detect a problem, the more likely you will avoid excessive replacement and repair bills.

Contact a Solar Panels Expert Near Me

As discussed above, maintaining solar panels is simple. You need to obtain good insurance and a warranty and keep your solar panels free from debris and dirt buildup. Do so, and your solar energy will continue to function at peak efficiency and bring you renewable energy for decades. Alternatively, you will not enjoy solar power generation if you don’t observe proper solar power maintenance practices.

If you doubt your solar panel maintenance habits, you want to contact your solar energy experts for more details. At Sun Solar Electric, we will help you maintain your solar panels work efficiently for about 25 years. Call us at 707-658-2157 and speak with one of our solar energy experts right away. We serve our customers across Northern California and the Bay Area.

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