Installing solar panels on your home or official buildings is a great way to reduce utility bills. Moreover, a solar panel on your home roof offers other benefits, such as you become energy independent and taking a step towards little to no carbon emission. Typically, a solar panel has an average lifespan of 25 years; however, you can increase it by adopting proper solar maintenance tips. In addition, solar panel maintenance enables you to benefit from your investment for an extended period.
So, if you don’t know how to maintain solar panels and maximize their output adequately, we got you covered. Let’s discuss everything in detail!
Solar panel stripes on a 3 story home
Solar energy is quickly becoming popular, and many people are installing solar panels. Accordingly to a study, more than 3 million solar energy systems were installed in the US in 2021. And to get the maximum out of this, it’s mandatory to adopt proper solar system maintenance tricks.
Surprisingly, solar panels don’t need much maintenance, and you can easily clean and inspect them to ensure the system keeps running. Here are the tips and tricks that you can adopt so you don’t stay behind when it comes to excellent solar panel maintenance:
You may not know this, but a solar panel covered by dirt and debris doesn’t offer much output. It’s because the dust collected on its surface blocks the sun’s radiations from reaching the panel; hence overall efficiency reduces significantly. So, to keep your solar panel running smoothly and get 100% output, you should wash it at regular intervals.
Let’s discuss the step-by-step procedure for washing a solar panel!
Don’t start the cleaning procedure before shutting down the whole solar panel system, or you will either get electrocuted or end up with a damaged solar panel. You can follow the instructions given in the user’s manual to turn the solar panel off. The DC system should be completely switched off, while the solar supply main switch allows you to shut off the AC system.
Next, take a soft cloth and remove all the dirt and debris from the panel’s surface. If the stains are stubborn, it’s better to use warm water and a soft cloth to remove them. Don’t throw water directly on the solar panel top, as it’ll result in cracking. Once all the dirt and stains are removed, give the panel a final cleaning and let it dry to ensure nothing left that can block your solar panel’s working. It’s recommended to clean your solar panel surface between two and four times a year.
First, check if your solar panel has dried or not. If yes, then turn the panel back on by switching on the AC and DC systems.
The cleaning process of a solar panel remains unchanged; it doesn’t matter if you do it yourself or hire an expert. However, there are a few don’ts of the panel cleaning process that you should know to avoid any consequences. Here are a few of them:
• Never ever use any detergent or soap on your solar panel, as it can leave a film on the surface, making a huge impact on the panel’s working.
• Don’t wash the solar panels when they are hot because using water on a hot panel can cause cracks. Moreover, throwing hot water on a snow-covered panel can also cause cracking. In such situations, just
remove the dirt using a non-abrasive brush or something else.
• Make sure you wash the panel in such a way that the water doesn’t go in between the panels or around the wiring.
• It’s also recommended not to clean the panel yourself unless you know the procedure well. Otherwise, hiring an expert with proper panel cleaning knowledge can be fruitful.
The next step that helps you in the solar panel maintenance journey is the regular inspection of your panel’s meter. The solar panel meter monitors the energy production of your panel and tells you about the amount of power being generated. That’s why it’s essential to check its performance regularly and get help immediately if there’s some issue. Typically, the energy output on the meter is shown in Kilowatts, so you should check whether the Kilowatts on your meter are decreasing.
If it’s decreasing, your solar panel is malfunctioning and needs expert services. However, in case there’s no change in the meter readings, the solar panel is fully functional. Remember that sometimes the meter can be damaged instead of the solar panel, so scrutinize the meter before taking any decision. Here’s how you can easily inspect or read your solar panel meter:
Reading or inspecting your solar panel may seem complicated, but once you know how to do it, it definitely helps you in the long run and in solar panel maintenance. The solar panel meter shows negative and positive numerals on display. Generally, the positive numerals share the amount of power being imported from the grid, and you can easily measure it using an electric meter.
While the negative numerals tell you the quantity of power taken from the solar module to the grid. In case the positive numerals value increases than the negative value, it means the solar panel is exporting more energy than its importing. In this situation, you are recommended to call the parent company or any solar panel expert to fix the problems in the solar panel or the meter.
A damaged panel means you have lost your huge investment. This damage is caused by the elements present that harm the surface of panels, and there’s a decline in energy production, partially or completely. So to ensure you don’t end up in such a situation, it’s recommended to adopt proper solar panel maintenance tips and inspect the panels regularly.
You can check for any visible cracks, clusters, dirt, rust, or wiring issues. Solar panel maintenance costs aren’t much, and you can easily do it by hiring a team of experts or using thermal camera drones. Here’s how the solar panel inspection with drones is carried out:
Thermal camera drones aren’t like typical drones as they have sensors inside that collect radiometric data to check if there’s any defect and quantify the size of the problem. Let’s consider what you should consider while performing a panel check using thermal camera drones!
Altitude matters the most when it comes to drone inspection of solar panels. Because the higher you fly, the fewer details are available. To capture the radiometric thermal map of the whole site, the ideal altitude is 300 ft. to 400 ft., and for defects inspection, 200 ft. works fine.
However, if the primary aim of panel inspection is to analyze the issues in diodes and cells, you should aim at 120ft. These stats are for a general thermal camera. In case you have an advanced thermal camera with top-notch magnification and features, these stats can change.
Now that you know what height you should fly to inspect panels, the next step is selecting the day. It’s suggested to carry out this inspection on a sunny day as the sun shines fully on the panel, telling you about the defective and hotspot components. You can easily find out the malfunctioning components because usually, such parts get hot instead of utilizing that energy for power production. Thermal sensors immediately analyze these areas to help you see the real problem.
Once you’ve collected information about the malfunctioning areas, you can call solar panel professionals to fix the issues quickly. It’s because the more you delay, the more the chances of your panel getting completely damaged.
It may seem like an indirect solar panel maintenance tip, but you should always check the warranty of your solar panel before sealing any deal. Most solar panels in the market come with a 25 years warranty; however, it changes from seller to seller. Solar panels usually come with two guarantees: equipment and performance.
The performance warranty means that the solar panel will generate a maximum of 90% power at ten years and 80% at 25 years. At the same time, the equipment warranty guarantees that all the solar panel parts will stay functional for 10 to 12 years.
In most cases, a solar panel can run smoothly for decades, but this doesn’t mean it cannot fall victim to issues or technical problems. If your panel has stopped working, has cracks on the panel, or the meter isn’t working, you don’t have to worry about the cost of solar panel maintenance as long as you have the warranty.
Just call the dealer and discuss your issue with them and quote the years of warranty you’ve. The company will send a team of professionals who’ll fix all your solar panel issues within no time at little to no cost. However, if the warranty has ended, you don’t have many options and need to call the professional yourself, which can be a bit costly.
The benefits of solar panel maintenance include enhanced lifespan, maximum energy efficiency, saving on energy bills, and much more. With regular solar panel maintenance, you also mark yourself safe from the safety risks that come with faulty solar panels or their wiring. Moreover, if your solar panel is completely damaged and maintenance doesn’t do any good, you can recycle it because it’s made of silicone, a recyclable material. In this way, you step towards saving landfill sites from further depletion.
Many people ask how often solar panels need maintenance and cleaning. There’s no hard and fast rule for this, as your panel needs maintenance depending on the installation location and the factors it’s exposed to. Washing the panels, meter, and panel inspection, and warranty checking is the main maintenance on solar panels tips. Ensure you follow all of them to have a completely functional panel.
However, if you are reluctant to carry out the inspection and maintenance yourself, Solgen Power is here to save your day! We have a team of experts proficient in solar panel inspection, installation, and maintenance, freeing you from all types of stress. What makes it best is that we do a detailed location check to guide you on whether the destined location is good for the solar panel to avoid future issues. We are affordable and experienced, so don’t wait; get your solar panel installation to maintenance from us now!