Solar panels are a great investment that can provide you with renewable solar energy for the next 25 years or more. But how do you maintain them? Are they like your car, requiring regular tune-ups to stay in peak condition? Or are you supposed to just leave them be? Solar panels are a popular choice for those wanting to generate their own electricity. They’re relatively quick to install, they use sustainable energy, and they can save you money while reducing your carbon footprint.
Ask your installer about maintaining your solar panels
Some solar manufacturers and installers will offer a maintenance package or contract, so if you are concerned about ensuring the health of your panels this could be something to consider. A solar maintenance service will likely cover things such as:
- Visual inspection of the panels
- Checks of the inverter, meter and other components
- Current and voltage check
- Inspection of roof condition
- Analysis of energy production
Please note that if you believe your panels do need visually inspecting you should always leave this to a professional as carrying out any work on a roof can be extremely dangerous.
Do solar panels need to be maintained?
The best way to keep your solar panels at top efficiency is to stay on top of their health. Although they are designed to handle a vast array of weathers and conditions, external factors do play a role. Here in the UK and Ireland, it’s rare for a homeowner to see a significant drop in their solar panel output due to lack of cleaning. The regular rainfall tends to mean panels stay fairly clean naturally, however in some areas you may see a slightly more significant build-up of grime and dust.
Solar panels generally require very little maintenance in order to function. They are pretty good at using natural rainfall to keep themselves free of heavy soiling, but in the same way that your windows still manage to collect grime from pollen, pollution and all forms of nature, so do your panels. To ensure that they operate to their optimum capacity it’s best to get them cleaned a few times a year.
How do you maintain solar panels?
If your panels are tilted, you’re in luck as the rainfall clears away debris that’s accumulated on them. However, during the dry season or extended periods without rain, it’s important to clean them manually. 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. All you really need is a leaf blower or a quick spray with a garden hose, and your panels will be in top condition again.
In winter, you may need to clean your panels after a heavy snowfall. If you’re using water to clear the snow away, make sure it’s lukewarm. You can also use a squeegee with a long handle. Just remember, never use hot water when clearing snow off the panels. The panels are made of tempered glass, and the extreme temperature disparity between hot water and cold panels can crack them.
How often to replace a solar panel?
“How often to replace a solar panel?” is a question you may ask when purchasing a system, or even after several years of ownership. So, how long will a solar panel last? Most of our solar panels have up to 25 years of performance guarantee and a long life expectancy.
How to clean your solar panels?
Remember that safety is always first! The best way to clean the panels is from the ground, with a long-handled implement. But if that’s not possible and you choose to go on the roof, you must take all the precautions. No one should be on a roof without a hard hat and a safety harness.
If the panels are dry, before tackling the modules with water, brush off any loose materials first – this will make cleaning easier and faster. Don’t use metal objects or harsh abrasive products for removing caked-on materials. Scratching the glass on a solar panel can affect its performance as scratches will cast shadows.
And if you’re asking yourself if you can use a pressure washer to clean your solar panels, it is encouraged to only use a normal hose. Using anything with high pressure may cause damage. Use a sponge to clean the mess made by birds and nothing stronger than the detergent you would use with your dishes. You don’t want any strong chemicals marking the panels.
More tips for maintenance of solar panels
- Keep solar panels out of shade as energy production becomes inefficient when they are kept from absorbing any sunlight.
- Keep an eye on the solar panels and make sure the inverters are flashing green lights. If they are not flashing, you are losing money by no longer compensating for your electricity use.
- Document the day-to-day performance to improve solar panel maintenance. It is important to write down how much energy has been produced at a consistent time every day and make special note of dates where it is very cloudy. Some of the results will be inconsistent. (Your manufacturer would be able to provide you with the best monitoring system for your solar panels.)
- Monitoring systems help you see how much you are benefiting the environment and how much CO2 you are emitting into the atmosphere. They can also help you know how much you could benefit from the feed-in tariff scheme.
- You can also see information about your solar panels servicing on a wall-mounted display when you are at home.
- If you have no time in cleaning solar panels, you can install automated cleaners that work like sprinkler systems or even schedule appointments with solar panel cleaning companies.
In most cases, you won’t even have to do anything but keep an eye on your solar panels.
Are Solar Panels Difficult to Maintenance?
All-in-all, 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. Learn more about installing solar panels in your home today!