Why Taking Care of Your Solar Panels and System is Important
Maintaining your solar system is essential to ensure it produces maximum power throughout the year. Properly maintaining your solar panels will help you enjoy the benefits of solar energy and maximize your savings. At Solar Technologies, we understand the importance of keeping your solar system in top condition. In this blog, we’ll provide you with some do’s and don’ts of maintaining your solar system to help you get the most out of your investment.
Reasons to Maintain Your Solar Panel System
Maintaining your solar energy system is crucial for maximizing its efficiency and ensuring it produces the most electricity possible. Not only will this save you money on your energy bills, but you’ll also reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the environment.
Here are a few key reasons why you should make solar panel maintenance a priority:
- Maximize energy production: Over time solar panels can get dirty, which reduces their ability to generate electricity. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help ensure that your system is operating at peak efficiency and producing the most energy possible.
- Prevent system failures: Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to problems with your solar panels, energy storage system, inverter, and connections. By staying on top of maintenance, you can help prevent costly repairs and ensure your system operates smoothly.
- Protect your investment: Installing a solar energy system is a significant investment and proper maintenance is essential for protecting that investment. By taking care of your system, you can help extend its lifespan past the 25-30 year lifetime and maximize the return on your investment.
- Reduce environmental impact: Solar energy is a clean and renewable source of power, and regular maintenance helps ensure your system operates efficiently and produces as much clean energy as possible. By reducing your reliance on traditional energy sources, you can help protect the environment and combat climate change.
What Happens When You Don’t Maintain Your Solar System?
Here are some things that can happen if you don’t maintain your solar energy system:
- Energy cost increases – Without regular maintenance, your solar panels may not operate at their full capacity, so you’ll have to rely more on traditional electricity from the grid, leading to higher energy costs (especially during peak times).
- Decrease in energy output – A lack of maintenance can also cause a decrease in the energy output of your solar panels, which means your system won’t generate as much electricity as it should.
- Noticeably dirty – Solar panels get dirty over time, which affects their efficiency. Without regular cleaning, dirt, dust, and debris buildup can significantly decrease your system’s energy production.
The Do’s of Solar Energy System Maintenance
Keeping your solar energy system running at optimal efficiency requires proper maintenance. With the right care and attention, you can ensure your system runs smoothly and efficiently for many years to come.
Here are some important maintenance do’s to ensure your system is always in top shape:
Professional inspection and services may include:
- Running system diagnostics: Regular system diagnostics can help you detect any potential issues with your solar energy system and make necessary repairs.
- Visual inspection: Regular visual inspections of your solar panels, inverters, and other components can help you spot any physical damage that could affect their performance.
- Electrical inspection: Having a professional perform a regular electrical inspection can ensure all your system’s components are functioning properly and safely.
- Checking connections and parts: Regularly checking all connections and parts for corrosion can prevent damage and ensure optimal system performance.
- Keeping panels free of obstructions: Removing any debris or obstructions from your solar panels can prevent shading and ensure optimal energy production.
- Checking switches: Regularly checking that all switches are working properly can help you detect any issues before they cause more serious problems.
- Securing cables and fittings: Making sure all cables and fittings are secure can prevent damage to the system, its components, etc.
- Testing emergency shut-off: Regularly testing the emergency shut-off ensures it will function properly in an emergency.
You can maintain your panels, inverter, and storage with these tips:
- To keep your solar panels functioning optimally, use a leaf blower to remove any leaves or loose debris.
- Keep shade from blocking your panels by trimming back any brush and trees.
- If you live in a windy or dusty area, check your panels for dirt or dust and rinse them with your hose.
The Don’ts: Things to Avoid When Taking Care of Your Solar System
While there are several best practices for maintaining your solar panels, here are some things you should avoid for safety reasons and to maintain the longevity of your system.
Some key points for proper solar energy system maintenance are:
- Don’t use any abrasive tools to clean your panels because they can scratch and damage the surface.
- Don’t use chemical solvents – they can leave a residue and affect the efficiency of the panels.
- Don’t climb on your roof without proper protection (both personal and climbing protection) and without a climbing partner.
- Don’t pour extremely cold water on hot panels or hot water on cold panels, as both can cause cracks in your panels.
- Avoid hard water, or high-pressure, hoses that you might also use to power wash your home as they can also create cracks or damage the system.
Can You Monitor the Health of Your Solar Panels?
You can easily monitor your panels’ energy output via the mySunPower® App. You can track your panels’ energy production and performance over time and catch issues like obstructions or malfunctions early. You’ll also receive alerts if a panel breaks or is not functioning correctly, so you can fix or replace it promptly.
Does extreme weather impact your solar panels?
Solar panels are designed to be durable and can withstand a variety of weather conditions. Top-quality solar panel installations are designed to hold up well against wind, rain, snow, and even hail, according to the Department of Energy. Hurricane Florence in 2018 is also a testament to the resiliency of solar panels as there was limited damage to solar systems in North Carolina.
However, extreme weather conditions like hail, hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning can damage panels. That’s why it’s important to have a good warranty so any damaged panels can be repaired or replaced.
Additionally, high temperatures can affect panels as they lose about 1% per degree in efficiency when the temperature is above 77°F (or 25°C). To counter this, elevating solar panels a few inches above the ground or roof can help maintain energy production and allow air to circulate. Professional solar installers, like Solar Technologies, will take your local climate factors into consideration when installing your solar panels to ensure maximum efficiency.
Call Solar Technologies for Solar Panel Systems in the Bay Area
At Solar Technologies, we’re committed to providing reliable and efficient solar energy solutions to help you gain energy independence. If you’re ready to save money and power your home with clean, reliable energy, contact us today for a free customized solar quote.