Climate change is real. With more people being aware of this universal fact, sustainable and environmentally friendly living is becoming a must in this modern age. One of the biggest steps towards reducing environmental impact is renewable energy – the most popular one being solar panels.
Installing solar panels in your home or business can be an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint and save costs on energy bills, especially a portable solar panel if you are running tight on a budget. While solar installation is expensive, the system can last up to 30 years, so you have plenty of time to get a significant return on your investment.
However, if you want to get the most out of your solar panels and make sure that they last as long as possible, you need to properly maintain them. In this guide, learn the steps on how to properly maintain your solar panels.
1. Consult Your Solar Panel Installer
Whether you want the solar experts to be in charge of more complex maintenance like checking and cleaning the battery or leave all routine maintenance to them, consulting is the first step to properly maintaining your panels.
In general, the contractor that installed your solar panels offers maintenance service. It can provide it for free along with your warranty or include it as an add-on or bundled service with your solar panel installation.
Hiring reliable solar panel professionals like Solar Run allows a thorough maintenance and cleaning schedule for your solar panels. They have the experience and the right tools needed to keep your solar panels in tip-top shape. What’s more, these experts can help in diagnosing or noticing issues on your solar panels, no matter how small, so you can solve the issues right there and then before anything becomes a major issue.
That said, even if you hire a professional to do scheduled maintenance and cleaning of your solar panel, as the homeowner, there are still necessary maintenance activities you still need to do.
2. Do Visual Inspections
Solar panels – whether roof- or ground-mounted – are at the mercy of the harsh outdoor elements. This makes them vulnerable to damage caused by falling tree debris or the weather. Also, due to their location, they tend to accumulate dust and dirt from the environment.
That said, you need to inspect your solar panels regularly to check for any potential damage or dust buildup. You can inspect every two weeks or once a month.
However, if your area recently experienced extreme conditions such as typhoons or hailstorms, you need to check on your solar panels once it’s safe to go outside. Look for broken glasses, loose panels, and other possible damage. If you see visible damage, contact your solar installer right away to replace or repair the damaged panels and components.
In addition, check your panel’s mounting structure. Inspect every bolt, joint, and nut for rusting or loose parts. Also, check on the wirings that may increase the risk of electrical injury or reduce the efficiency of your solar panels.
3. Wash The Panels
After doing a visual inspection and you notice dirt accumulation on your solar panel, you should take the time to wash the dust and dirt away. Like on your windows, dirt, and dust can accumulate on your solar panels, preventing your panels from absorbing solar energy efficiently.
While occasional rain can take care of the debris buildup, it’s best to wash your solar panels, at least once a month. In most cases, light rinsing using a hose to spray water over the panels should be enough.
However, for stubborn buildups – for instance, water spots and hard water stains – you need to do some elbow grease. Using a soft rag and a cleaner, wash the panel to clear away buildup. For water stains, you can use a mixture of water and baking soda for washing. Also, consider purchasing a long-handled wiper to help you scrub the hard-to-reach panels.
4. Maintain A Record
Most people think that solar panels are ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ systems. Once installed, they expect solar panels to continue providing consistent power output. However, you need to keep a record of your solar panels’ performance to monitor efficiency.
While it’s unnecessary to log performance daily, you can take note of how many kilowatt-hours are produced every month. Also, take note of any issues with shading and inverters. By logging your panel’s performance, you get a clear picture of energy production and consumption.
To make it easier for you, there are numerous solar monitoring software programs that can track and monitor the necessary data every single day.
From keeping your energy costs low to helping Mother Earth breathe and all other benefits in between, solar power is indeed the energy of the future. While solar panels require a hefty investment than most household appliances, with proper maintenance, they can serve you clean and efficient energy for years to come.