Solar panels produce energy from UV rays with hotter days usually producing more sunshine and longer days for the panels to convert into electricity. Many customers are not aware that too much heat on the solar panel can have a negative effect on power production. This is actually true for most electrical devices.
This is why our team at iBreeze highly recommend our clients regularly maintain their solar power systems and quickly repair any faults before more serious problems arise.
The highly trained and qualified technicians at iBreeze Solar Power Mandurah provide repairs and servicing on all types of residential and commercial Solar Power Systems, in addition to completing full installations. Our qualified technicians are fully accredited with the CEC.
A Guide to Solar Panel Maintenance
Solar systems contain no moving parts, so little maintenance is required compared to other kinds of installations such as our ducted air conditioning or wood heater systems. But it is important that they remain clean and operating efficiently, so that they produce the amount of energy they are designed to produce and help reduce your electricity bill.
Here are a few tips for maintaining your solar panels.
Monitoring your solar system
It is very important to first and foremost monitor your solar system. Most systems have monitoring Wi-Fi equipment either included or sold as optional add-ons, and keeping an eye on your electricity production can tell you if your system is performing to expectations.
Monitoring of your solar power system does not require Wi-Fi and can be as simple as watching to see that the green light on your inverter is always on. If it goes off or starts flashing, it means your solar system has stopped working and will require a technical inspection.
Monitoring can also involve accessing an online portal from your laptop or smartphone which update almost live information and history details.
Another form of maintenance is to keep an eye on your solar panels. If they have been on your roof for some time, you’ll need to check that surrounding vegetation and trees have not grown to the point where they are now shading your panels. If they are, remove or trim the offending plantation.
Solar panels also work more efficiently when they are relatively cool, so during really hot weather, it would pay to run the garden hose over them to cool them down during the hottest part of the day.
Finally, a visual inspection of your solar power system will tell you if your panels are clean. They can build up a residue of dust, grime and bird droppings over time which blocks out UV, so keeping them clean will help to keep them running at maximum efficiency.
Cleaning your solar system
If you live in an area with regular rainfall, the rain will do half the job for you, but if you live in a region that is dusty, close to the ocean, estuary or beside a busy freeway, chances are your solar panels will get dirtier faster and require more regular cleaning.
Ideally your solar panels should be cleaned from the ground as this is the safest practice. This can be done using a long-handled window cleaning pole with a soft sponge and wiper on the end and a bucket of soapy water. You can also use a garden hose, but the panels should ideally be wiped before they dry, as tap water contains minerals which will form deposits on the glass.
The best time to clean solar panels is in the early morning, when dew will help to soften up any bird droppings or deposits. Avoid cleaning them in the heat of the day, as the water used can evaporate quickly and the dirt will become smeared on the panels.
If parts of your solar system are too hard to reach from the ground, consider using a professional solar panel company, as the small financial outlay would be preferable to damaging your expensive solar system or falling off your roof.
Every couple of years, you should have an expert check your solar system over to make sure it is still safe and performing well. A qualified solar maintenance technician will be able to;
1. Analyse overall performance of the system
2. Inspect for solar panel damage, wiring issues, moisture penetration or frame corrosion
3. Check cabling for integrity and measure voltages
4. Inspect junction boxes for tightness of connections, water accumulation and integrity of seals
5. Visually inspect inverters for damage
6. Check alignment and rigidity of the framing system
Why it’s worth doing
Maintaining your solar system requires very little outlay in terms of care and the benefits are well worth the effort. One solar farm found that cleaning solar panels regularly doubled their electricity output.
The next time you’re out in the yard, look up at your solar panels. If they look a bit neglected, consider giving them a clean, so they can go on doing what they’re designed to do, which is saving you money on your energy bills.
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