Solar panel maintenance and care are important parts of getting the most out of your solar panel system. As you probably know, solar panels are a great way to harness the power of the sunlight to power your home. Having solar panels installed on your property is an exciting investment because not only will you be saving money on utility bills, you will be helping to do your part to lower your carbon footprint and provide clean energy to your home.
After your solar panels are installed, you won’t need to worry about additional costs. Solar panel systems last for many years and are easy to maintain, for the most part. Your solar panels will typically work flawlessly for many years on their own, but there are certain steps you can take to make sure you are getting the best performance out of your solar panels, and in turn are getting the most of your money.
Some of the ways you can maintain your solar panels include:
Solar Panel Cleaning
Solar panels are designed to be self-cleaning, using the wind and rain to remove most dust and debris. However, you may be located in an area that goes extended periods without much rainfall, or your panels may have been installed with only a small tilt angle, in which case your solar panels may need some manual cleaning. If you fall into one of these categories, it’s best to develop and keep a schedule for cleaning your solar panels, to make sure they are able to take in as much solar power as they can.
When looking into cleaning your solar panels, you may decide to clean them yourself, or you may want to contact a professional service to clean them. Many homeowners choose to spray off their solar panels, mimicking rain with their garden hose, while others purchase a soft brush attachment for their garden hose to help wash their solar panels. It’s important to use care when washing your solar panels and make sure not to crack the glass.
Dirty solar panels can result in less sunlight being able to penetrate through the devices, and therefore will be less efficient in providing you with power. By making sure your panels are clean and uncovered, you can be sure that they are working as they should.
Debris-as well as dirt-can also prove to be a problem when it comes to your solar panel performance. Remove any debris that may be covering your panels as part of your regular solar panel maintenance routine. Debris can include leaves, branches, and any other fallen items that may hinder your system from making the most of the sun’s solar power. You might also find bird droppings on some of your panels. You can cautiously attempt to clean the bird droppings using only water and a soft brush/cloth. It is not recommended that you use any cleaning solution when cleaning off your solar panels. If you have further questions about ways to clean your panels properly, and what products you can or can’t use, be sure to contact your solar panel company for further information.
Shade directly affects the performance of solar panels and can limit their ability to function properly, so shade should be limited. Shade keeps the solar energy from hitting the solar panels, possibly causing your solar panels to miss their expected production rates. Be sure to trim back any trees or foliage that may be casting shade on your solar panels.
Inspect your Solar Panel System Connections
It is important to inspect the electrical and mechanical connections of your solar panel system annually. By doing so, you can be sure that everything is hooked up correctly and working properly. Check the inverters to ensure that the LEDs are indicating the correct status. Make sure that all LEDs are green and are indicating normal operation. It is recommended that you inspect your system’s connections at least annually, though checking more often is never a bad idea!
Document System Performance
Another way to catch any issues that may arise with your solar panel system is to document your system’s performance. This solar maintenance step is one that is often overlooked, though it shouldn’t be. Write down how many kWhs are produced by your solar system each month. Make sure to note any issues like shade or debris that may have affected that month’s numbers. Also note any inverter LED indicators that are not green. Through out the year, check over your entries so you’ll have those numbers for future reference. There are digital programs that can track this for you, making the record keeping easier. Keeping note of your system’s performance will also let you know if your panels need to be worked on, or if they are degrading faster than your warranty states.
When in Doubt, Reach Out
Sometimes it’s best to leave things to the experts, and we are here every step of the way! If you feel like your system isn’t performing the way that it should, or you simply want a professional to review your system to give you peace of mind, contact us online or give us a call at (888) 909-6377. Ethical Energy Solar is here for all of your solar needs!