Tips for Solar Panel Maintenance for Longer Lifespan

solar panel cleaning
Solar panels can last for approximately 30 years. But in between installation and the period, the solar panels requires maintenance. You should ensure that your cells, inverters, cables, brackets, and controls are in good working condition. Although one solar panel dysfunction does not affect the whole system, you should clean, fix, and tighten any dirty, broken, or loose parts. Although solar panels maintenance is DIY-friendly, you should consider a professional solar cleaning company like once a year. Unlike other energy sources, solar energy requires the least maintenance practices because it does not have exposed or moving parts. The warranty period is also long term (up to 25 years), but it does not cover negligence. Therefore, you should ensure that the solar panel system is in to-notch condition throughout. In power purchase agreements and solar leases, it is the provider’s responsibility to maintain the system. However, you should not interfere with the panels’ functioning by constructing block structures, overgrowing trees, or roof restructure. If it is a case of necessity, you can contact the solar leasing company for directions to avoid penalties. In case of any damages, the solar panel company may request for reimbursement, which can affect your solar savings. Let’s now see how you can keep solar panels in good working condition.

How to Maintain Solar Panels

There are various maintenance practices for the solar panel system. Here are some:
  • Solar panel cleaning
  • Remove any debris
  • Tightening any loose parts
  • Monitor solar accessories

a) Cleaning solar panels & Removing Debris

If your region has rainfall throughout the year, the rainwater is enough to clean the solar panels. However, when it is dry, solar panels may accumulate dust, reducing the system’s capacity. Apart from that, birds’ droppings, pollen, and factory fumes accumulation can also reduce energy production. Buildings near busy roads are also prone to dirt from fumes and dust. Ground-mounted solar panels are easier to clean because they are in low height. However, they are more prone to dirt because of exposure. Here are the tools you require in cleaning solar panels:
  • Leaf blower
  • Non-abrasive broom
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Low-pressure hosepipe

How to clean solar panels

You might require different tools and solar cleaning detergents depending on the condition of the solar panels. For dusty solar panels, here is the cleaning process:
  1. Firstly, read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to switch off the solar panel system. Switch off the system to avoid short-circuiting or damage to the electrical system.
  2. Use the broom to remove any debris from the solar panels. You can also pick them if they are within reach.
  3. Spray water on the solar panels after removing any debris. It is advisable to use lukewarm and soft water. Excessively cold water can damage the cells, while hard water forms white residues, which reduce the system’s output.
  4. Use the non-abrasive sponge to clean the solar panels for ground-mounted solar panels. You can use a sponge with a handle for roof-mounted solar panels.
You should also get rid of snow, especially during winter. Snow water also cleans solar panels. You can use a brush to remove accumulated snow, which can lower the solar panels’ efficiency.

Essential tips in cleaning solar panels

  • Avoid the use of hot or excessive cold water.
  • Do not use abrasive brushes or scouring sponge.
  • Do not use detergents on solar panels.
  • Hard water can leave deposits on solar panels, thus reducing efficiency.
solar panel maintenanceYou can hire a solar cleaning company if the solar panels are in scary heights. You should also consider the services of professional solar panels cleaner once in a while for proper maintenance. There are also inventions in solar cleaning like robots which use no water. Solar cleaning bots are ideal for areas where water is a limited resource. It will come in handy for cleaning solar panels in deserts where water is not available, and if available, it is definitely for other vital uses like drinking.

b) Tightening loose parts

You should ensure that any bolts, nuts, and joints are intact for maximum output. You should keep an eye on the energy production monitoring device, which can help identify faults. In case of drastic changes in production, you should check out any faulty parts. Any loose or disconnected wires can also reduce the output. Apart from that, they can pose a significant danger of electrocution or even cause fires. Ensure that the cables are not in contact with any metallic parts.

c) Monitoring Solar Accessories

Solar panel system components include inverters, energy storage batteries, panels, regulators, cables, and power meters. All these must work in tandem for optimum energy harnessing. Therefore, you should keep a check on each to ensure they are functioning correctly. The cost of replacing the components can increase your solar panel system’s payback period. The function of solar inverters is to switch to fault mode in case of any faults. This prevents excessive damage to other parts of the system. You should clean the air inlets annually for cooling down. The solar inverters have indicator lights which you should monitor. The lifespan of solar inverters is about 10 years; therefore, you may have to replace them before the solar panels. The solar energy storage system is an essential part of off-grid solar users. The system should be functional throughout to avoid any blackouts. Lead-acid batteries require water topping up every year. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions when adding the acid. You can use baking solar and distilled water to clean the terminals. After that, use a sealant or high-temperature grease to coat the panel monitoring For cables, you should ensure that there are no naked wires. The power meters for grid-tied solar panel systems should be in good condition to ensure accuracy. Any drastic increase or decrease in consumption readings can be a signal fault in the gadget. For maximum efficiency, you should ensure the regulator is not faulty. All the parts of a solar panel system are essential; they work just like our bodies. When one part is aching, it affects the other organs. Therefore, no solar accessory should be neglected.

Solar panel system warranties

Most solar installation companies offer long term warranties that cover for any faults. The warranties for solar panels and inverters are approximately 25 years and 10 years, respectively. The solar energy storage system also has a warranty that ranges from 10 to 25 years. Although there are warranties to cover for any accidents, it is essential to note that the guarantee does not apply for negligence. Therefore, it is vital to maintain the solar panel system. Solar panels system maintenance practices increase and maintain the output of the panels. Therefore, ensure that the batteries, inverters, cables, regulators, and power meters are all working correctly. You can do the maintenance practices on your own or engage a solar cleaning service provider near you.