Home » Solar Panels » Solar Panel Maintenance

To ensure uninterrupted use of your solar panels, you need to clean the solar panels routinely. It would be best if you can do this on your own. Here are some tips that you may follow.

Do solar panels need to be maintained?

Solar panels need very little maintenance. Periodically clean them with a soft cloth to remove dirt, leaves, and other debris blocking the sun’s rays. You may need maintenance only during periods of heavy snowfall or when the energy output starts to decrease.

How do you maintain solar panels?

If your solar panels are not tilted at an optimal angle, precipitation will simply wash debris back onto them. This can damage the panels and reduce the production of your solar panel system by as much as 25%. It is generally recommended that you perform solar panel cleaning between two and four times per year. The good news is that this doesn’t require much work. The National Solar Energy Society recommends that homeowners using a system of 100 or more watts make sure to clean their panels at least twice each year. However, performing these steps can prevent damage, reduce repair costs, and even extend the life of your system.

In order for your solar panels to keep putting out the amount of power you want, it’s important not to let them get clogged up with snow, ice, or dirt. The panels are made of tempered glass, and the extreme temperature disparity between hot water and cold panels can crack them.

Ground panels vs. roof panels: Is there a maintenance difference?

Panels that are mounted on roofs-known as roof-mounted panels-are harder to reach, which means periodic cleaning usually gets put off or overlooked. Once the snow and other debris build up on your panels, your system efficiency can drop by 10 to 20 percent.

How does extreme weather impact your solar panels?

Solar panels are designed to last for a long time. PV systems that feature top-quality solar panel installations can withstand all kinds of weather, from wind and rain to snow and more. You’ll be glad to know that solar panels hold up well against hail, as found by the Department of Energy. You’ll also be interested to know that current-generation solar cells can even survive hurricanes, as evidenced by the limited damage to solar systems in North Carolina during Hurricane Florence in 2018.

Should your solar panels experience any sort of damage, such as hail, hurricanes, tornadoes or lightning, you will likely be covered by a warranty or your homeowners’ insurance. Heat can affect your panels up to 5% in degraded efficiency. By elevating them just a few inches off the ground or roof, you allow for air circulation which helps cool them down and maintain their energy production.

How to repair or replace solar panels

It’s best to hire a professional if your panels need to be repaired or replaced. If they’re losing efficiency and still under a performance/power output warranty, then call your solar company. They’ll send someone to assess the situation and either fix the problem or replace the panels. Depending on the cause of the damage and your specific insurance policy, damage to your panels can often be covered under your insurance. It’s important to understand how and if your system is protected. Don’t do any repairs yourself unless you have a background in electrical engineering.

Tips for Maintenance of Solar Panels

  • Keeping your solar panels out of shade is an important thing when going green with solar energy. If you have solar panels that get covered by shade, you might lose up to half of your energy production. This is because solar panels need direct sunlight in order to work efficiently.
  • Inverters on the solar panels should have flashing green lights. If they are not flashing, you are losing money by no longer compensating for your electricity use.
  • It’s important to look at trends in solar panel performance over a period of time. Document the day-to-day performance to improve solar panel maintenance. Your solar panels have to be consistently maintained and this will help to determine what variables you can change.
  • There are staggering statistics for global warming and climate change, and certainly, the more we know, the more we can do. This website lists a range of monitoring systems from cheap to complex, with all providing data on what you’re emitting into the atmosphere and how much CO2 is being emitted.
  • If you’re considering solar panels, ask your installer if they come with automated cleaners. If not, you can install your own or schedule appointments with a solar panel cleaning company.
  • You can view the collected data of your solar panels at any time and from anywhere using your smartphone.

Summing Up

With all things considered, maintaining your solar panels is pretty easy. Just be sure to get a good warranty and good insurance, and can keep your panels free of dirt and debris buildup. Do that, and your panels should continue to operate at peak efficiency, bringing you clean, renewable solar power for years to come.