The latest figures from the SEIA show that residential solar installations broke all records once again in the last quarter of 2022. It’s hardly surprising when one considers the many benefits associated with renewable, reliable energy. If there’s one thing that makes homeowners hesitant to install solar, it’s the cost associated with it. Others are hesitant to take on the added responsibility of maintaining and caring for the solar panel.
Keep reading our solar panel guide to discover the ins and outs of solar panel maintenance.
Solar Panel Maintenance Begins With Monitoring
One of the biggest solar panel benefits is their ability to produce abundant electricity. If your solar panels aren’t performing as they should, this may indicate potential maintenance issues.
Keeping tabs on the solar energy produced by your panels serves as an early warning sign for underlying issues. Keep a daily performance record so you can analyze its output over an extended period.
If you notice a drop in output, get hold of a solar technician to identify the cause of it.
Modern inverters have software that does this automatically, so ask your solar installer to set up one of these for you.
Daily monitoring should involve checking your inverter to ensure it’s working properly. The indicator light on your system should always be glowing green.
If it’s not on, refer to your manual for potential issues.
Keep Your Solar Panel Clean
You should check for dust and debris build-up on your solar panels at least once a month. Dirt blocks the sun’s rays and will interfere with your system’s performance.
It’s vital to take every safety precaution when cleaning your solar panels or arrange for an expert to carry out this task.
A leaf blower will remove most of the dust and debris from your solar panels. Never use a pressure washer or high-pressure nozzle to clean solar panels, this will damage the panel cover.
If your panels are still dusty, use a microfiber cloth, water, and glass cleaner to wipe away the dirt. Don’t use any abrasive materials or cleaners on your solar panels.
When in doubt, ask your solar installer for tips on how to best clean your solar panels without voiding the warranty.
In many cases, you’ll only need to clean your solar panels once a year, as rain does help keep them clean. If you live in a drier area, you’ll need to clean your solar panels up to three times a year.
Let the Light Shine Down on Your Solar Panel
While setting up your solar panels, your installers would have placed them in a position that maximizes the sunlight. This can change over time, though.
Trees grow and can easily become tall enough to impact the amount of light your panels receive. Keep tabs on any trees near your house and trim them well back from your solar panels.
Excessive snowfall may also block your solar panels from the light. Snow and ice cause under-cooling, which leads to micro-cracks in your solar panels’ glass
Never shovel snow off your solar panels, it’s too easy to damage them in the process. Rather, let the snow melt and slide off the roof by itself.
During prolonged bouts of snowy weather, you can rinse your solar panels with warm (not hot) water and squeegee them dry.
Protect Your Panels From Critters
Rodents, small mammals, and birds prefer to nest in secluded spaces, like the gap underneath your solar panels.
If these animals chew on your electrical wiring, they can cause major problems. Animal droppings and fur can also cause a dirty buildup on your panels, blocking the sun’s rays.
You can check for these home invaders by doing a visual ground-level inspection of your solar setup.
A metal critter guard is the best way to stop animals and birds from setting up a home near your solar panels. This is a mesh panel that attaches to the perimeter of your solar installation to prevent anything from falling or creeping underneath them.
Arrange Annual Inspections
Solar panel companies aren’t only skilled at installing solar panels, they’re also the go-to for preventive maintenance. An annual inspection can reveal small problems that might escalate down the line.
These inspections include reviewing daily outputs to analyze the performance of your panels. Inspectors will also look for signs of damage, like:
- Moisture penetration
They will check the mounting hardware and make sure the panel cabling is secure and producing voltage within range, look for water damage in fuse and junction boxes, and ensure switch breakers are working normally.
They will take steps to repair any problem areas quickly and get your panels back up to their maximum performance.
Although solar panels are durable and have few moving parts, potential issues can creep in over time. An annual inspection is by far the best way to avoid any chance of solar panel damage.
Click to discover an estimate of annual costs for solar panel maintenance.
Solar is a Simple Solution for Energy Savings
If you want to maximize the perks associated with installing solar, it’s always best to work with a professional installation team. These experts will ensure you get the most out of your solar panels and they can take care of all solar panel maintenance aspects, too.
There are so many ways to enhance your home’s efficiency and save money in the process. Discover more of them by browsing through the Home & Dec section of our blog.