More and more people are going green nowadays and opt for installing eco-friendly features in their homes that contribute to energy-saving and environmentally responsible lifestyle. One of the most frequent upgrades is a solar energy system. However, just having it put up is not the end. In order to have it work properly and effectively, regular maintenance is the key issue to ensure its functionality and durability.
Here are several easy tips on solar panel maintenance.
Check the landscaping
If there’s a lush plant life around your house, there’s a possibility it may grow substantially and block the sun and cast a shade over your panels. To ensure maximum sun exposure of your solar panels, start with trimming the overhanging branches so that the sun can hit the panels directly. Hopefully, you are on good terms with your neighbours, so you can also make arrangements to trim any branches that cross over to your side and hinder the sun.
Clean the panels
The next step is to tackle the dirt that accumulates on the panel surface and diminishes the energy generation. Unfortunately, dirt piles up constantly, even with regular rainfall, and it sticks to the panel surface like glue, forming a thick layer of grime. This can reduce panels’ energy production by 5-10%.
The easiest and most practical way to clean your panels is with a long handle squeegee. In this way, you’ll be able to reach from the top to the bottom effortlessly. It’s also a useful hack to have a squeegee with a sponge on one end and a brush on the other as it will significantly facilitate the application of the cleaning solution.
As for the cleaning solution, go green here as well. Be careful and don’t use strong, abrasive chemical products. It is best to go with typical household ingredients, such as vinegar and baking soda. Make a mild solution in warm water, so even with runoffs, you won’t contaminate your surroundings with harmful chemicals, and you’ll have your panels’ surfaces squeaky clean and unscratched.
Clean panels use their full potential, which is the ultimate goal of any buyer. For instance, if you install a Solar System of 5kW, it will produce 20 kw/h daily as an annual average, which is equal to $1800 worth of energy savings a year. So, if you keep it clean, it will be in top condition and generate energy to its full potential.
Check the cables
It’s highly recommended that you rely on professional help if you notice any suspicious cable issues. However, for a simple visual inspection, you really don’t have to be an electrician. Inspect the cables running from the panels to the inverter and search for any visible damage or deterioration, or if any object found its way up there and might cause rubbing against the cables. Simply remove it and keep the area clean.
Inspect the inverter
Every solar panel system has an inverter. It’s a box on the wall that converts free electrons into mains voltage. They usually come with a warranty, but it doesn’t hurt to give it look from time to time. Make sure the outer cover isn’t dirty or corroding. If that’s the case, clean it gently with a small broom or a brush. Apply weak pressure so you don’t knock out any cables. Keeping it clean will ensure its longevity.
When doing any kind of energy upgrades, you expect the best value for your money and a sure ROI. However, without proper maintenance, this is not guaranteed. The good news is that all of these maintenance tasks can be performed solely by you, the owner, without the need of any specific qualifications or professional help. If done on a regular basis, you will have a maximum output all year long, plus you will get to enjoy all the perks of a modern solar PV system.