Everything You Need To Know About Solar Panel Maintenance
Solar panels for your home are a terrific investment that will give you access to low-cost and renewable solar energy for decades to come.
The question a lot of people ask is what maintenance do they require? Can you compare them to a car that needs a regular service and part replacement? Or do they just run by themselves?
We address these and other questions in the below article.
– Quick Guide to Solar Panel Maintenance
Solar panels do not require much maintenance. It helps if your solar panel installation was done at a tilted angle, as rain helps to wash away most dust and dirt. This reduces the need for maintenance.
Solar panels will require cleaning around two to four times a year. You will be able to keep track of the amount of energy your solar panels create, via a monitoring app. If you notice a decrease in energy generation, it may be time to clean the panels.
The cleaning or maintenance of your home solar panel is not covered under your warranty, however if it sustains damage, this may be covered.
– Do Solar Panels Require Maintenance?
Solar panels require very little maintenance in order to perform, so in general, you can just let them be. To make sure that dirt, dust, leaves or other debris does not block the sun’s rays from reaching the solar panel, they need to be cleaned occasionally.
More extensive maintenance may be needed during seasons of heavy snowfall, when inches of snow cover the panel, preventing it from performing properly.
– How Do You Keep Track of the Panels’ Performance?
You can keep an eye on the energy output of your panels, by making use of an app. Lower energy output could indicate that your panels are blocked from producing their usual quantity of electricity, likely by dirt.
It is possible to keep track of the energy quantity your solar panels generate each day, as well as their overall energy production. This is achieved by the solar panel installer incorporating a monitoring system for solar panels into your setup. This enables you to monitor exactly how various outside conditions affect the performance of your panels and how well they hold up over the course of their lifespan. For you to be aware that a panel needs fixing or replacing if it breaks or malfunctions, the monitoring system will notify you of this.
Let’s examine the factors that will prolong the lifespan of the solar panels for your home.
How Are Solar Panels Maintained?
If your solar panels are installed at a slanted angle, this certainly helps with the maintenance. Rain will simply wash away most dirt that can build up on the panels over time. During the dry season or during a prolonged dry spell, regular washing of the panels will need to be done, to keep them clear and enable them to soak up the sun’s energy.
The general recommendation is that you clean your solar panels two to four times a year. This may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that the process of cleaning the panels is a very simple one. You can keep your panels clean and in good shape, just by applying the leaf blower to blow away debris, followed by the garden hose, to spray them down.
In winter however, the work may increase a little bit. After heavy snowfall, you need to clear your panels of snow. Make sure the water is lukewarm, if you are applying water to melt the snow. A squeegee with a long handle is another way you can clean the snow of each home solar panel.
It is very important to know that you should never use hot water to melt the snow build-up from your solar panels. The extreme temperature difference between the hot water and cold panels can cause the tempered glass that they are made of, to break.
What is the Difference in Maintenance Required Between Ground-Mounted or Rooftop Panel?
The only true difference between ground-mounted solar systems and solar roof installed panels, in terms of maintenance, is that ground panels are easier to reach. This is what makes them easier to clean. It is easy to clean any dirt or snow build-up from the panels with a soft bristled broom.
What Impact does Extreme Weather Conditions Have on Solar Panels?
Solar panels are created to last. If your Solar panel installation was carried out by reputable solar installers, you can be sure that the PV systems will withstand all types of weather, including wind, rain, and snow.
Furthermore, you will be glad to know that, according to the Department of Energy, solar panels have been found to withstand hail quite well. During Hurricane Florence in North Carolina back in 2018, it was found that only minimal damage was done to solar roofing panels. This just shows how durable these panels really are.
Any solar panel company will tell you that these panels are not completely indestructible of course. It can happen that they are damaged by extreme weather conditions like hurricanes, tornadoes, or lightning. However, broken panels will most likely be covered if the solar company provided you with a solid warranty.
Ironically, heat is the type of weather that causes the most damage to solar panels. For every degree above 77 degrees Fahrenheit (or 25 degrees Celsius), solar panels lose one percent efficiency.
However, you can allow for air circulation by having them installed a few inches above the ground or roof. The air circulation will assist in cooling them down and maintaining their energy output. There is no need to worry about solar panel performance in hot weather, as your solar installer will take the local climate conditions into account to ensure an optimal solar panel installation.
How to Fix or Replace Solar Panels
Should your solar panels need repairing or replacing, it is advisable to contact a professional solar company. It is best to contact your solar panel installer if you find that your solar panels are decreasing their power output. This is the best step to take, especially if your panels are still covered by a performance or power output warranty. The solar company will send someone out to evaluate the situation and either repair the problem or replace the panels.
For panels that are physically damaged, this is often covered by a different equipment warranty. The solar panel company will be able to give you better insight into who can best replace your damaged panels. In any event, unless you have previous experience with solar panels for home use, avoid attempting to install or repair solar panels by yourself.
What is the Solar Panel Industry Standard Warranty?
Make sure that the solar panels you install come with a solid warranty. If the efficiency of your panels starts to decrease over time it might end up costing you thousands of dollars, if you are not covered properly.
The solar panel company will replace your panels if it is covered under warranty. You can expect a solar company to offer you a warranty of between 15 to 25 years. In addition to this, you should receive a guarantee that the energy output will remain at a minimum of 80% for the duration of the warranty.
Let’s Summarize the Most Important Aspects of Solar Panel Maintenance
Overall, it’s not too difficult to maintain your solar panels. Your panels will function well if you clean any accumulated snow, dust, or debris. Make sure the panels you purchase are backed by a comprehensive warranty, to ensure replacement if needed.
Follow this advice and your solar panels should keep producing clean, renewable energy at their highest level of performance for many years.