Renewable energy like solar energy is the fastest-growing energy source in the US, increasing by 100% between 2000 and 2018. There are plenty of reasons why most folks are gravitating towards renewable sources of energy, particularly solar energy. Maybe it’s because it’s a cost-effective energy source or because people have realized how non-renewable energy sources are detrimental to the environment.
Whatever the reason is, you can never go wrong with solar energy. However, installing solar panels is the easy part for most folks; what many people are having trouble with is maintaining solar installations. Understandably, solar panel maintenance isn’t something you learn in science class, hence the difficulty.
Many households tend to put solar panel maintenance on the back burner. As long as the solar installation works, it’s good enough for them. Your solar installation might indeed work like a charm for now, but for how long?
You need to regularly maintain your solar installations for them to work properly and last as long as they should. Today’s post will highlight the importance of solar installation maintenance.
To Enhance Their Efficiency
Solar panels are meant to be a cost-effective alternative to traditional power sources. For instance, a 3kw system can reduce electricity costs by 65% while also adding value to your home. However, you can only reduce electricity costs if the solar installations work at maximum efficiency.
When dirt builds up on your solar panels, it makes it difficult for them to absorb enough sunlight. This reduces their efficiency, making it less cost-effective. As such, you need to clean your solar panels regularly to remove any dirt and grime on the surface of the system.
If you’re scared of heights or don’t have the necessary tools, you can hire a professional cleaner to do your bidding. If your solar panels are spick and span but still have efficiency problems, then maybe it’s low voltage that’s making your system inefficient.
To Increase Their Longevity
Most solar panel installations typically come with a twenty-year warranty. This warranty guarantees that the solar installation will produce at least 80% of its rated power after the first twenty post-installation years.
Solar systems, like other systems, are bound to wear and tear with time. The degree of degradation depends on how well you take care of your solar installations. Even minor maintenance practices go a long way in extending the solar panel’s lifespan.
If you don’t want to replace your solar system after every few decades, then you best take good care of it. Solar panels are a huge investment that you need to get the most off.
To Identify Problems Early On
Solar panels are prone to their fair share of problems but identifying them early on can help address them before they spiral out of control. Solar panel problems can occur whenever, but regular maintenance can help identify them before they occur. This can save you a bundle in repair costs and ensures your solar installation works seamlessly.
Regular maintenance also helps reduce the risk of fires caused by faulty DC isolators or wiring connections. That way, you can rest easy knowing your roof won’t burst into flames one night.
What Can Affect My Solar Installations
Solar installations typically require minimal maintenance. However, that’s no reason to give let solar panel maintenance take the back seat. That said, here are a few things that can affect the normal working of your solar system.
Dirt and Grime
As mentioned above, the build-up of dirt and grime prevents your solar panel from absorbing as much sunlight as it should. This hurts the system efficiency, meaning you have to pay more for your electricity. The solution is to clean the panels yourself or get a professional cleaner to do the cleaning.
Severe weather such as hurricanes and hail storms can do a number on your solar panels. If you live in an area prone to such conditions, you should consider getting anti-hail nets or using protective covers. Alternatively, you can purchase wind and hail-resistant solar panels.
Trees are great for the environment but not so much for solar panels. Leaves from trees can blow onto your solar panels and block sunlight from reaching the panels. Sometimes the tree branches may cast shadows onto your panels hence decreasing the system’s efficiency.
Some animals, particularly pigeons, may choose to nest under your solar panels. That’s because the angling of the panels provides a cool and dry shelter that is perfect for their nests. This doesn’t seem like much of a problem until the birds decide to poop on the panels.
The bird droppings prevent the sun from reaching the panels, which hurts its efficiency. What’s more, since the droppings are acidic, they can compromise the panel’s structural integrity and lead to degradation. Concentrated droppings on a single area may lead to subsequent failure of cells within that area.
The above are reasons why you should always maintain your solar installations. Given that fall is right around the corner, the importance of maintaining solar installations becomes more relevant. So how do I maintain my solar installations?
Solar Panel Maintenance
As a rule of thumb, you should never attempt solar panel maintenance by yourself, regardless of your DIY skill set. A better alternative is to call in the experts to do it for you. A typical solar panel maintenance exercise typically involves:
You may be tempted to use cleaners and detergents on your solar panels, which won’t end well. Certain chemicals and cleaning tools may damage your solar panels. Avoid using anything abrasive which could scrape the panels because you’ll have to replace them.
Professionals have the right cleaners and equipment to ensure your panels are spotless without damaging them.
Remember those pesky birds we talked about; now it’s time to shoo them away. Again, it’s best to leave wildlife removal to the pros. Removing nests from under your panel is a risky job, and sometimes the birds might fight back.
To keep you, the animal, and the solar panels safe, you best hire a professional. Plus, you need someone that can remove the animals humanely without hurting the animal or its offsprings.
Identifying Potential Issues
The next step is to inspect the solar panels to check for any problems before they escalate into full-blown issues. These potential issues may include loose cables, tree shadows, or dirt build-up.
The expert will inspect every component of your solar system to ensure they’re in proper condition. If anything is faulty, you’ll have to find replacement parts ASAP. It’s worth noting that solar panels rarely have defective components, but checking them out doesn’t hurt.
The last thing the professional does is check whether the system is performing at its best. The performance test will check the system’s efficiency and give you a report on each of your panels. If your panels aren’t operating at their maximum capacity, talk to your solar energy provider to find a proper solution.
Solar Panel Cleaning
Solar panel cleaning is an integral part of solar panel maintenance that you should never overlook. As mentioned above, you should leave solar panel cleaning to the experts. That said, here are a few things you should know about solar panel cleaning.
How Often Should I Clean My Solar Panels?
Solar panel cleaning isn’t as easy as cleaning your car. As such, you might not be able to clean your solar panel as often as you want. That said, arrange for expert solar panel cleaning at least once every twelve months.
Modern solar systems come with an app that lets you know how much energy the system is generating. If you notice a gradual reduction in energy produced, your panels are due for some cleaning or at least an inspection. Also, ensure that you only hire licensed solar panel maintenance professionals to clean your panels for the best results.
If you live in an area with frequent dust and wind storms, you might want to call the clean-up pro at least twice every year. This ensures your panels are free from any dirt and debris, plus the pro will check for any cracks or damages because of tree debris or hail.
Does Rain Water Clean Solar Panels?
It seems obvious, water from the skies splashing on my panels, carrying all the dirt and debris with it. You’ve probably wondered whether rainwater cleans solar panels. Well, the short answer is, no, rainwater doesn’t clean your solar panels.
Think of your solar panel like your car windscreen. When the rain pours on your windscreen, it leaves the windscreen looking pretty clean. However, give it a few hours, and all the rain evaporates, leaving a dusty and messy windscreen.
Imagine how your windscreen would look if you didn’t clean it for a few months and left the cleaning to the rain. That’s how your solar panels would look, which is all the more reason to organize for solar panel cleaning ASAP.
Make Maintaining Solar Installations a Priority
Maintaining solar installations should be a walk in the park, especially if you get the right people for the job. If you want to get the most power and life out of your solar system, you have no choice but to maintain it. Also, ensure you get the right people for your solar panel installation, so your system requires minimal maintenance. For more informative content, keep reading our posts.
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