Solar Panel Maintenance: What You Need to Know
The decision to install solar panels on your property is a great one both for the planet and for your finances. It is an investment that keeps on paying back over the years, especially if your solar panels are well kept and maintained so that they continue to work at high levels.
The good news is that when it comes to solar panels, they are not difficult – or expensive – to maintain. In fact, the most important factor in ensuring that they continue to work at an optimum level is to ensure that they are kept clean, giving them maximum access to solar sources.
PV solar panels are very durable. Most of them are made from anodised aluminium and tempered glass and have no significant moving parts. This means that there is not a great deal of maintenance required except for their cleaning.
We do recommend, however, that you monitor the output of your solar panels regularly to ensure that everything is working properly and to maximum effect, giving you the chance to get any problems fixed before they turn into a bigger issue.
How Solar Panels Work
Photovoltaic solar panels work by converting solar energy into usable energy. The amount of energy that is produced depends on the amount of solar energy that is ‘absorbed’ by the cells on the solar panels. If therefore, a solar panel is dirty, the cells will be exposed to less solar energy (or sunlight), reducing the amount of energy that can be converted.
The performance of photovoltaic solar panels is mainly affected by the amount of sunlight that they are exposed to – which is mainly impacted by their cleanliness and the environment that they are in. Some factors that can impede the performance of your solar panels include:
- Falling leaves
- Bird excrement
It is, therefore, important that your solar panels are regularly cleared and cleaned for the most efficient system.
Cleaning and Clearing Solar Panels
Ensuring that your solar panels are clear of debris such as fallen leaves and snow is fairly simple. Firstly, it is worth considering where you are going to place your solar panels in the first place. For the most effective system, your solar panels should be located somewhere that is a good spot for direct sunlight. This means away from trees that can obstruct the sunlight from getting to the panels.
If you get snowfall, it is important that you clear this from your solar panels so that they can work properly. You can use a leaf blower to blow the snow off, try to dislodge the snow by throwing a soft ball at the snow, try spraying lukewarm (but not hot) water on the snow to melt it or use a squeegee on the end of a long pole to brush the snow off. It is vital that you never use salt or hot water on the panels to defrost ice and snow.
Dust, grime, and moss can be problematic for solar panels, and to ensure that they are performing at their best, solar panels should be cleaned regularly – every 1 – 2 years. The best way to do this is to get specialist cleaners to do it for you. If you live in an area with lots of dust and little rainfall, you may wish to get your solar panels cleaned more regularly than if you live somewhere with regular rain and little potential for grime on your roof.
Reasons why you should Regularly Clean your Solar Panels
Keeping your solar panels clean is important for a number of reasons. Some of these include:
- Boosting efficiency – It has been proven that the difference in the efficiency of the solar panels between when they are clean and dirty is drastic. For the best yield, it is vital that the solar panels are, therefore, kept as clean as possible.
- Rainwater isn’t enough – Although rainwater can help solar panels to stay clean, much in the same way as your home or car windows, it can also bring debris or dirt with it. This is why, although rain can be useful, it is not an adequate substitute for washing your solar panels.
- Warranty – Some solar panel installers look for evidence that they have been regularly cleaned in order for their warranty to be valid.
- Look better – If you take pride in the way that the outside of your property looks, grubby solar panels can contribute to making it look old and unkempt. With a quick clean, you can get them sparkling again!
- Durability – Although it might not seem like a big deal at the time, the tiny particles in dust and dirt can damage the surface of your solar panels. By removing these particles, you will help your solar panels to stay in good condition, for longer.
The maintenance of photovoltaic solar panels really is very simple. Due to the fact that they are strong and durable, there is very little that needs to be done. By simply keeping them clean and clear of obstacles, you can ensure that your solar panels stay working effectively for longer.