Investing in solar panels is good because it can supply you with renewable energy for a period of more than 25 years. However, most people know very little about solar panel maintenance. If you don’t maintain these solar panels in the right way, you can be sure that they will not give you the best service. Besides, the panels can last for a very short period because of poor maintenance.
The beauty about solar panels is that they are incredibly durable and need minimal maintenance. Besides, these systems have long warranties just in case anything goes wrong. If you decide to lease the solar panel system, maintenance and repair will be the responsibility of the leasing company and not yours.
There are people who will tell you that solar panels are maintenance-free. However, this is just a marketing language because everything under the face of the earth calls for proper care. Here are some of the solar panel maintenance tips that you need to put into consideration all the time.
Points To Note About Solar Panels
The fact remains that solar panels don’t have any moving parts. As a result of this, there is very minimal tear and wear overall. It is one of the benefits that you will hear from most companies that deal in solar panels.
Besides, the warranty of most solar panels runs from between 20 to 25 years. These are some of the things that help most installers to close sales. A reputable company will always offer workmanship warranties that protect customers from defects that are labor-related.
Are Solar Panels Maintenance Free?
However, solar panels are not fully maintenance-free. You have to take good care of these units in order to get the best service. An issue can arise over the warranty period that calls for some form of intervention.
If the company discovers that it was your fault, you can be sure that it will not cover for that. That is why you need a clear understanding of the solar panel maintenance tips.
Unlike the other electronic mechanical items, solar panels that are working properly will save you a lot of money. It is one of the best ways to reduce your utility bills, especially on electricity consumption. The good thing is that solar panel maintenance cost is not very high. Here are some of the things that you should not forget as you endeavor to take good care of your solar panels.
How To Tell When You Need Solar Panel Maintenance
It can take your solar panel system over 20 years before it can experience a major fault. You can discover that your solar panel is not functioning properly once you receive your monthly utility bills. The reason is that the amount on the bill will tell you how much you did not save.
The loss in savings can exceed over hundreds of dollars depending on the scope of the problem. That is why you need to monitor your PV system on a real time basis.
To say that your solar system requires maintenance, it may not be clean, damaged, or malfunctioned. You can either install a solar monitoring system, system software, or monitor your electricity bill to reduce these degradations. Paying close attention to any changes in production will help you identify and address these issues proactively and on time.
How Does Solar Panel Monitoring Work
In solar monitoring, you have to attach a meter to the PV panels to help you collect energy generation power and then forward it to your remote monitoring station. You can always get this information online and use it to make informed solar panel maintenance decisions. The best solutions will allow you to check the performance of your PV system in real-time.
You can also configure modern solar panel monitoring systems to send you alerts whenever something goes wrong. With these notifications, there will be no need to check the systems for things like faulty wires and built-up dust among other things.
You don’t have to take any intervention unless you get an alert. If you have a solar monitoring system in place, you can be sure that your installation will produce what it should be producing. That is why you can be sure of getting your monthly solar savings. Once you get an alert, you can take several solar panel maintenance measures including the ones discussed in the remaining section of this article.
Solar Panel Maintenance: How To Do It?
As mentioned earlier, solar panels have minimal maintenance requirements over their lifespan. These systems are constructed from tempered glass which helps them to withstand most rough weather conditions like hail.
Apart from the tracking mounts, solar panels have no movable parts. This significantly reduces any chances of these systems developing problems. In most cases, all you need to do to maintain your solar panel is clearing any debris.
Most of the issues with the performance of solar panels are related to the production of electricity. That is why most installers recommend that you monitor the production of your system. When you pay close attention to the changes in the production of electricity, you will proactively identify the issues and address them.
1. Solar Panel Cleaning
So many people still wonder whether they need to clean their solar panels. Since these systems are normally installed at an angle on rooftops, rainwater tends to clean them naturally. However, if you reside in an area that is characterized by dirt, dust, and smog, you will record a reduction in your production over time.
The main remedy to this problem is cleaning your solar panels from time to time. If you are not sure of how to do this, it is advisable to hire a professional cleaning company to do this work for you. Your installer can always recommend a local expert to help you out in times of need. Besides, there are so many solar panel maintenance companies and you can choose one of them.
Most homeowners acknowledge the fact that solar panel cleaning is the easiest thing to do when it comes to meeting the various solar panel maintenance requirements. Debris such as pollen, dirt, and dust will accumulate on the solar panel over time. This tends to limit the amount of sunlight that hits the PV system.
That is why it is important to know how to clean and clear this debris. The accumulation has a negative impact on the amount of energy that the energy solar system will generate per month. It will, in turn, affect the monthly solar savings that you get.
It is better to occasionally rinse your solar panel system with a garden hose than doing nothing. If the water that you are using is not treated, it can leave behind grime or residue.
The other common problem with solar panels is streaking as is the case when washing windows. You only need to clean the solar panels during particular times of the day i.e. when the weather is not too hot.
Remember you have to use a roof or any other means to get to the roof of the house. When you clean your solar panel, you will definitely protect the production of energy. Therefore, solar panels don’t qualify to be categorized as maintenance-free.
2. Internal Malfunction Fixing
There are so many internal malfunctions that happen to solar panels. These include shoddy workmanship, glitchy inverters or panels, and faults in the wiring systems. All this tends to reduce the savings in your wallet and cause performance dips in the system.
Remember, each time you put an electronic gadget outside exposes it to adverse elements like heavy rains. This, in turn, increases the chance of this item getting breakages.
The beauty about solar panels and their components is the fact that they come with a warranty. However, you may have to pay for the removal of faulty panels from your pocket and then get free installation replacements.
The sad news is that the warranty does not often cover workmanship and wiring. Therefore, you have to read through the warrant requirements carefully before you purchase a solar panel system. Check whether the solar panel maintenance covers most of these issues.
Whether the solar panel is fully covered or not, make sure you correct all the underlying issues to get maximum benefits from the system.
3. Repair External Damages
Tree limbs, hail, and hurricanes among the other “Acts of God” can either dislodge or break the solar panel. It is something that can hamper your savings severely and end up damaging the roof.
Most warranties don’t cover this kind of damage. However, there are so many insurance policies that include solar panel protection in their package. Therefore, you need to check the solar panel maintenance clause with your homeowner’s insurance. It is good to confirm whether they cover your solar installation or not.
4. Solar Panel Warranties
This offer is available to protect you just in case something goes wrong with your system. Manufacturers of solar panels offer a broad range of warranties to guarantee you their support in case of an unlikely event like falling tree branches and hail.
There are power output warranties that guarantee consumers that the output will not go below a certain level over the warranty period. For example, a solar power manufacturer may guarantee you that that output will not go below 85% of peak power for a period of 25 years.
There are manufacturers who also provide an extra warranty that guarantees you a higher level of output for a short period. For instance, it can state that the production will not be less than 90% of the initial output in the first ten years.
Solar panels typically have a workmanship warranty to protect you against any defective parts. In most cases, this warranty will cover you for the first five years of operation. Solar inverters also come with an average warranty of ten years. With these warranties, you will pay either little or no solar panel maintenance cost over the system’s lifespan. The attractive warranty is among the main selling points that solar manufacturers have at their disposal.
Roof vs. Ground Panels: Is There A Difference Is Maintenance
There is no big difference between maintaining ground-mounted and rooftop solar panel systems. The main difference is that it is much easier to access ground-mounted solar panels hence making it easier to keep them clean. In case you notice any buildup of debris or snow, all you need to do is sweep it off.
How To Replace Or Repair Solar Panels
If your solar panels call for repair or replacement, it is a wise move to hire a professional. It is one of the solar maintenance tips that you should not overlook.
If the efficiency of the solar panel is going down and they are still under the power or performance warranty, just call your solar company. The company will always send an expert to come and assess the situation and then replace the panel to fix the problem.
If there are physical damages on your panels, there is a separate equipment warranty that normally covers them. You can always find this under the homeowner’s insurance. It is good to gather all this information before you pay for the solar panels.
The worst you can do is to wait for the day of trouble before you start looking for what the warranty covers and what it does not. The other mistake is trying to install solar panels or even make the repairs on your own. If you are not certified to handle solar panel systems, it can render your warranty null and void. Using the right professionals for this kind of work will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
All said and done, solar power maintenance is an easy task. All you need is good insurance and a good warranty for your solar system. You also have to make sure that there is no buildup of debris and dirt on the solar panels.
With the right solar panel maintenance processes in place, the system will continue to run at peak efficiency. You will be sure of getting a supply of clean and renewable solar power for several years.