How Do I Maintain My Solar System?
5 Tips to Make Your Solar Panels Last
Solar panels are incredibly durable. Aside from the tracking mounts, there are no moveable parts, so they require very little to no maintenance. Any failures that do occur are usually related to energy production. However, providing some care to your system will ensure you have long-lasting equipment. These tips could help you achieve decades of clean energy.
1. Regular Summer Rinses
Summer is the most productive season for your solar panels. However, this is also the time when dust, animal droppings, and tree pollens cloud their surface. Summer storms can be enough to clean off your equipment, or you can use a garden hose for a quick rinse. For thicker layers of dirt, you can wipe the surface with a soft sponge. Do not use a metal brush or soap/detergents on your panels. Some home improvement stores also now sell solar panel cleaning kits.
2. Autumn Debris Clearing
Autumn winds tend to carry debris into the air, such as leaves and twigs, which could stay on your roof and build up over time. Not only can this reduce the integrity of your roof (falling leaves can clog your gutters, lead to water blockages and leaks) but also cover the surface of your panels and decrease its output. The best option is to hire roof cleaners to clear off the leaves and other debris from your roof. This prepares your roof for winter and ensures that your solar panels are at the top of their game.
3. Snow and Ice Removal
Upon installation, solar panels are tilted at least 15 degrees to allow snow to slide off on its own. While the heat of the sun is enough to facilitate the melting process, sometimes it takes time. You may clear off the snow using a solar panel snow rake or a similar tool that won’t damage the system. Do not walk on the surface of your panels because they can become slippery and you run the risk of hurting the panels or most importantly, yourself. We recommend consulting with a maintenance professional to avoid any long-term damages.
4. Spring Inspection
Spring is a good time to inspect your panels for visual defects. Catching issues early allows for immediate intervention, prolonging the life of your solar system. You should include a thorough check for any of the following:
Obvious cracks, chips, de-lamination, fogged glazing, burn marks or discoloration.
Excessive rusting on bolts or other parts of the mounting system (a little rust is okay)
- Loose or missing bolts
- Corrosion on electrical enclosures or the rack system
- Loose or exposed wiring or wiring that contacts the roof surface
- Excessive cracking or wear on the inverter
- Roof drainage issues and signs of water damage
5. Use Your Monitoring Portal
It is one of the best tools to know whether your system is functioning properly or experiencing some issues. A monitoring portal lets you see the status of your inverter and each of your solar panels. It also shows the output by day, week, month, quarter, year and compare years. It not only ensures that you get back what you’ve invested, but also gives you peace of mind that the system is functioning well.
With solar, there is very little that is needed in order to ensure that the system is functioning well. While you can do inspections and simple cleaning from time to time, it is also important to consider your personal safety. There are certified solar maintenance services available for tasks that you can’t do by yourself. Your installer will be happy to put you in touch with someone local in case you ever need help.