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If you have installed solar panels on your property you will know that maintaining your solar panels, including regular cleaning and professional check-ups, will help prolong the lifespan of your solar panels.

Solar panel installation is a smart move for energy independence and sustainability, but it’s not just a ‘set and forget’ solution. To ensure they’re always at peak performance, you’ve got to keep them well-maintained.

In this article, Warmable will share some top tips for solar panel maintenance that’ll help you maximise their lifespan and efficiency. Read on as we explore simple yet effective ways to care for your solar panels, ensuring you get the most out of your clean energy source.

 

Why Is It Important To Maintain Your Solar Panels?

 

Maintaining solar panels isn’t just about keeping them clean; it’s critical to their overall performance and longevity. Without regular maintenance, panels can succumb to the wear and tear of the environment, leading to a decline in energy production. And with a high upfront cost for installation, it is worth getting the most out of your investment.

Dust, leaves, bird droppings and other debris can shade cells and reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the panels. Even a small amount of shading can significantly affect solar panel performance. Our experience has shown that well-maintained solar panels can perform about 10 to 30% better than those that aren’t cared for properly.

Besides cleanliness, you must also consider the electrical and mechanical components. Loose wiring or damaged inverters can not only reduce efficiency but also pose safety hazards. Regular professional inspections can help identify and rectify these issues before they escalate, safeguarding not only your energy output but also your homes and businesses.

By prioritising solar panel maintenance, you also maximise your return on investment by prolonging the panels’ lifespan. Panels are often warranted to last 20 years or more, yet neglect could cut that time drastically short. Protecting your investment means ensuring that it will continue to provide environmental and financial benefits for as long as possible.

 

What Is The Lifespan of Solar Panels?

 

Typically, solar panels are warrantied for 25 to 30 years, but with meticulous care, they can last even longer. During this time, you may experience a gradual decrease in efficiency, generally around 0.5% to 1% per year. Knowing the expected lifespan of solar panels is essential for you to plan for maintenance and eventual replacement.

Solar panels are an attractive option for cleaner household energy and come with many benefits, but they don’t last forever. The materials used to manufacture solar panels, such as silicon, are designed for durability. However, environmental factors like extreme weather, temperature fluctuations, and physical impacts can all affect their longevity.

It’s your responsibility to mitigate these effects through proactive upkeep and protective measures. You should regularly monitor your panels for any signs of degradation, such as:

  • Discolouration
  • Delamination
  • Corrosion on the framing
  • Burnt looks on cells

Enhanced durability can often help you in achieving a more sustainable energy profile. While the industry standard guarantees solar panel performance even after two decades, proactive maintenance might extend their prime well beyond the warranty, ensuring you get the most out of your investment.

 

What Is The Best Way To Clean My Solar Panels?

 

Proper cleaning is incredible important for solar panel maintenance. Dirt, dust, and bird droppings can reduce solar efficiency significantly. However, it’s vital to clean them safely to avoid damage. We’ll share the best practices for keeping your solar panels in top condition.

Before you begin, check the manufacturer’s guidelines. Each type of solar panel may have specific cleaning suggestions. Ensure safety first: turn off the system if possible and use a sturdy ladder.

Here’s a straightforward approach to cleaning:

  • Use a soft brush or a leaf blower to remove loose debris.
  • Apply soapy water with a soft sponge or cloth; don’t use abrasive materials.
  • Gently rinse the panels with clean water from a hose. Avoid high-pressure water as it can damage the panels.

For optimal performance, we recommend cleaning your solar panels during the early morning or evening. Doing so prevents rapid evaporation that can leave streaks. Also, in cooler temperatures, you’ll be less likely to harm the panels with cold water on their hot surfaces.

In areas with hard water, consider a deionised water system to prevent mineral buildup. It can be more costly but is an investment in your panels’ efficiency.

Regular cleaning, aligned with the advice above, will uphold your solar panels’ performance. Monitoring them post-cleaning  will allow you to see the immediate improvement in energy production.

 

Monitoring the Performance of Your Solar Panels

 

Regular monitoring of solar panel performance is essential to ensure they are operating at peak efficiency. By keeping a close eye on energy production statistics, you can quickly identify and address issues like shading, inverter problems or degradation in panel performance. It’s a straightforward process that can help you to maximise your investment in solar technology.

Here’s how to effectively monitor your solar panels:

  • Use the solar inverter’s monitoring system, which usually provides real-time data and historical performance.
  • Deploy third-party monitoring services that might offer more detailed analytics.
  • Manually check the physical condition of panels alongside energy output to identify any discrepancies.

Periodic performance checks help you understand the impact of your cleaning efforts on the solar panel’s effectiveness. Unexpected drops in energy generation can signal the time for a maintenance check, often before visual signs of dirt accumulation become apparent.

Performance monitoring should also include checking the balance of system components. These are pivotal in the overall functioning of a solar panel system.

For instance, the charge controller, battery bank and inverters all play critical roles in ensuring that the solar power harvested is properly managed and stored. Each of these components requires individual attention to guarantee your system’s longevity and efficiency.

In addition to technological solutions, you can schedule a visit from solar panel maintenance professionals who can provide in-depth analysis and routine checks. Their expertise often leads to the identification of potential issues that might escape your routine inspections.

 

How Often Should I Schedule Professional Maintenance For My Solar Panels?

 

It’s advisable to schedule professional inspections annually to catch potential issues early. While do-it-yourself care is crucial for solar panel upkeep, there are times when professional maintenance becomes vital.

Professional solar panel technicians offer expertise that goes beyond routine cleaning and visual inspections. They’re equipped with the tools and knowledge to carry out in-depth system checks and repairs that may be unsafe or too technical for the average homeowner.

Certain situations may necessitate immediate expert attention:

  • After severe weather events like hailstorms or heavy snowfall
  • If the system is underperforming according to your monitoring data
  • When there are visible signs of damage like cracks or burn marks on the panels

Engaging a professional not only addresses current problems but can also prevent future issues. Qualified technicians can apply preventative measures such as:

  • Tightening loose connections
  • Updating system software
  • Replacing worn or damaged parts

These actions ensure your system operates at optimal performance levels, safeguarding your investment. Additionally, many warranties require regular professional maintenance to remain valid, so it’s not just beneficial but may also be a condition of your solar panel’s warranty agreement.

Professionals also offer advice tailored to your specific setup and regional conditions, be that in Birmingham or Glasgow. They can provide recommendations on how often your system should be checked based on local weather patterns, the age of your system, and other factors like shading from new construction or tree growth.

 

Conclusion

 

We’ve shared vital steps to ensure your solar panels operate at their best. By sticking to a regular cleaning routine and monitoring system performance, you can tackle potential issues early on. It’s essential you don’t overlook the value of professional inspections and maintenance to safeguard your investment. Commit to these practices and you can enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained solar energy system for many years.

If you are looking to install solar panels on your property, complete Warmable’s simple online form and a member of the team will call you back promptly to find you a competitive quote.

 

Frequently Asked Questions On Solar Panels

 

How Often Should I Clean My Solar Panels?

Regular cleaning is necessary to maintain solar panel efficiency. It is generally recommended to clean them at least once a year, but this may vary based on local environmental conditions like dust levels and bird activity.

What Is The Best Method To Clean Solar Panels?

Use a soft brush or leaf blower to remove loose debris. Then, apply soapy water with a soft sponge or cloth, and gently rinse them with clean water. Avoid cleaning during hot periods of the day to prevent streaks.

Can High-Pressure Water Damage Solar Panels?

Yes, using high-pressure water can damage solar panels. It is recommended to gently rinse the panels with clean water to avoid causing any damage to the surface or the framework.

Is Hard Water a Concern When Cleaning Solar Panels?

Hard water can leave mineral deposits on solar panels. Utilizing a deionized water system for rinsing can prevent mineral buildup and maintain panel efficiency.

Why Is It Important to Monitor Solar Panel Performance?

Monitoring your solar panel performance is crucial to ensure they are operating at peak efficiency. Regular checks can help identify any issues early on before they escalate.

When Should a Professional Inspect My Solar Panels?

Professional inspections should be scheduled annually. However, circumstances such as severe weather events, unexpected underperformance, or visible damage may necessitate immediate expert attention.

Can Professional Solar Panel Maintenance Impact My Warranty?

Yes, professional maintenance may be a requirement to keep your warranty valid. Professionals can perform intricate checks and carry out repairs which are essential for maintaining the warranty conditions.