Solar panels generate clean, renewable energy for individuals and businesses. They also power electronics, appliances, and even homes.
Solar panel manufacturers usually offer warranties for their products. The specifics and details of these warranties vary by product. It’s important to work with solar maintenance professionals that are licensed and experienced.
Over time, solar panels can build up dirt and dust that interfere with their ability to absorb sunlight. This is particularly common in areas that experience frequent wind and dust storms. You may be able to clean your solar panels by using warm water with mild soap. However, it’s best to call in a professional solar technician to ensure you don’t damage the system or cause shock hazards.
Another issue that solar panel owners face is loose wiring connections, which can cause a decrease in power output. This is often a result of physical damage but can also be caused by aging, corrosion, and other factors. It’s a good idea to hire a certified electrician for solar panel repairs, as they will be able to use meters and other tools to identify the issue and repair or replace the cable as necessary.
Corrosion can also affect solar wires, especially in harsh environments with salty air or high pollution levels. This can lead to oxidation, which reduces the cables’ overall lifespan.
You should be able to spot these problems by checking your solar panel performance on a regular basis. Some solar companies offer mobile apps that track the energy production of your panels in real-time, and you’ll be notified if there’s a sudden drop in performance.
Finally, one of the most common issues is pest infestation, which can have serious consequences. Birds, rodents, and other small animals will frequently build nests on or near your solar panels. These can block sunlight from reaching the solar cells, and they’re also known to chew through electrical wiring, which is a major safety risk.
You can prevent this problem by installing a low-profile guard around your solar panels. These can be made of thin but strong metal and are just thick enough to keep out curious animals. Alternatively, you can hire a solar specialist to install a cage-like structure, which is more effective than simply leaving your solar panels exposed to the elements. It’s important to choose a solar service provider that offers this option and check if their installations come with a warranty.
Solar panels are built to withstand the elements but can be damaged by severe weather and pests. When your PV system suffers damage, it can cause a loss in energy production and increase maintenance costs. It is important to check your solar panels regularly for any physical degradation. If you notice any damage or even slight discoloration, you should have it inspected by a qualified professional as soon as possible to prevent further complications.
Solar panel efficiency will decrease over time due to foreign substance buildup, such as dirt, pollen, and dust. This is especially true in arid regions, where dust storms are more frequent. Cleaning your solar panels on a regular basis is the best way to reduce foreign substance buildup and keep them in good condition. A garden hose with water is usually sufficient to clean your solar panels, but you can use more rigorous methods, such as pressure washers, if necessary. Just be careful not to damage the delicate solar cells with harsh chemicals.
Another common issue with solar panels is damage from wildlife. Rodents and birds are known to chew through wires in PV systems, leading to a loss in energy production. This can also lead to fire or electrocution, so protecting your solar panels with a strong roof is important. You should install bird netting or spikes to deter pests, and you can set up traps to catch mice or rats if they become an issue.
The physical degradation of your solar panels is often a sign that they are nearing the end of their lifespan. However, this depends on a variety of factors, including the quality of your solar installation and maintenance, how long you have had your system, and the type of PV panel you have.
If you have a quality PV system installed by a qualified company, it will likely last up to 30 years or more, depending on the panel type and quality. The key is to ensure that your system receives proper maintenance and inspections after severe weather events. This will minimize damage and help you maximize your energy savings.
While solar panels are built to last and typically need minimal maintenance to operate, if they become damaged, they need to be repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage or loss of efficiency. In some cases, the best thing to do is call a professional immediately and allow them to inspect and repair the damaged panel on site.
While big-ticket items like broken panels and electrical outages are the most obvious reasons for solar maintenance, smaller things can cause just as much damage over time. For example, it’s not uncommon for solar panels to be broken due to inclement weather. But the biggest culprits are usually smaller debris particles like twigs, leaves, and sand grains blown across your panels’ glass. These cause ‘micro scratches’ that, over time, can dramatically impact your panels’ ability to absorb sunlight.
You can prevent some of these types of damage by checking that your solar panels are secure before a storm hits. Ensure that your panels are not being held down by tree branches or other debris, and check that they are not showing signs of corrosion or damage. In addition, some solar providers offer a service to monitor your solar panels and alert you of potential damage.
Solar panel maintenance can also be a good opportunity to look at your roof’s condition. You will need to clean your solar panels on a regular basis, but how often you clean them depends on the climate and environment where you live. For instance, if your solar panels are by the sea, you might need to clean them more regularly because salt can influence their performance.
If you’re concerned about your solar panel performance, you can also ask a trusted professional to check it using an I-V curve tracer or IR camera. This is the most accurate way to identify any issues or potential problems with your solar panels. Alternatively, you can also ask your solar provider to apply a methacrylate coating to your solar panels to protect them from damage. This is a more cost-effective option, but be sure to ask your solar provider first, as this type of spray-on monomer can affect the way your panels absorb sunlight and may void any warranties on them.
With ongoing technological advancements, growing environmental awareness, and lower energy prices, solar power is more accessible than ever. However, like all major investments, solar panels will require maintenance from time to time. This is why choosing a reputable solar installer and manufacturer with outstanding warranties on their products is important. These warranties are designed to protect homeowners from high maintenance costs in the long run by covering parts replacement and repair and lowering electricity rates.
The frequency of maintenance depends on the size of a solar installation and environmental conditions. For example, if you live near the ocean, your solar panels may need to be cleaned more often than those of a homeowner in a dry climate due to salt build-up. Most homeowners only need to clean their solar panels once every five years, but it is a good idea to schedule an annual inspection with a qualified local technician for preventative maintenance and warranty coverage.
A professional solar inspector will be able to check for dirt and dust accumulation, which can reduce your PV system’s performance. They can also make sure your inverter and battery are functioning properly. They can also recommend any upgrades that may be needed for your solar power system to perform at its best.
Finding a solar maintenance provider that offers transparent and competitive pricing is also important. It’s not worth it to overpay for maintenance, especially when it comes to replacing a broken panel. In some cases, a broken panel will need to be replaced altogether, which can cost up to $200 for the panels themselves, plus additional labor to install and connect them.
In addition to the tips above, looking for an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) plan that covers your solar panels’ maintenance needs for 20-30 years after initial installation is good. An O&M package will help you avoid costly repairs and minimize energy outages, which can result in significant financial losses. By choosing a plan with great warranties and quality customer service, you can rest assured knowing your solar investment is protected.