Solar panels create 20 gigawatts (GW) of power in Australia, as 3.3 million households use this system to power up their homes. The solar energy model is widely convenient for Australian homes, as the country receives more sunlight than any other continent. Although solar panel systems can be costly to set up, they provide long-term economic rewards, as they can last about twenty-five to thirty years with proper solar panel maintenance.
However, if you want to increase the lifespan of your solar panel systems, you must regularly carry out effective maintenance. Regular maintenance protects your system from exposure to dirt, debris, pests, and air pollution, increasing its lifespan and performance.
In this guide, we will discuss detailed solar maintenance tips to ensure your system operates at peak efficiency. You can follow these solar panel maintenance tips to increase the operational efficiency of your solar panels:
Buy and Use a Solar Panel Maintenance and Cleaning Kit
Solar panel cleaning kits have all tools necessary to keep your solar panels working at optimum levels. Most of these kits include biodegradable soap, a brush with a long handle, and a wiper. All the tools are designed to clean the solar panels without damaging or scratching the panel’s surface.
To clean the panels, follow these steps:
- Shut off the solar system to reduce the risk of electrocution.
- Once your solar panels are safe to approach, mix soap with water in a bucket.
- Dip the brush in the water-soap solution and use it to soap up the panel.
- You can wash off the soap and grime using water
- Use the wiper gently to get rid of the excess water.
Avoid Abrasive Cleaning Materials
Harsh and abrasive cleaning materials can cause scratches and wear off the anti-reflective coating of the panel. They can also cause damage to the silicone seals and frames. Therefore, it’s best to use a soft and biodegradable soap to clean away the dirt. You must also avoid using a scratchy wiping cloth or brush, as it can scratch the panel’s surface.
Inspect the Solar Panels Regularly
Inspecting the solar panel systems regularly is essential to ensure there is no dirt build-up on the surface. Any accumulation can block the light from reaching the system, preventing the adequate production of electricity. Therefore, it’s best to get a professional assessment once a year and schedule a cleaning session bi-annually. However, if you detect any issue with your solar panel system, you must call a professional to detect and repair the issue as soon as possible.
How Often Should You Clean Solar Panels?
Solar panels require minimum maintenance. However, you need to care for the system to ensure it works optimally for a long duration. Here are a few factors you need to consider:
- Regular Cleaning: If you live in a rainy area, you only need to clean the panels at least twice a year, as rain removes the dirt automatically. However, if you live in a dry and dusty area that rarely sees rain, clean the panels once a month to maintain their efficiency.
- Annual Inspection: Call a professional solar panel maintenance company or your solar panel provider to inspect your solar system. They can identify any issue with the system and fix it on time.
- Additional Maintenance: Monitor the energy production levels to ensure your solar panel system works properly. If you detect an issue with the panels, don’t wait for an annual inspection and schedule a professional appointment immediately to resolve the issue.
Check for a Bird’s Nest
Birds love nesting under solar panel systems, as they produce warmth. Unfortunately, they can also cause much damage to your solar panels. Bird droppings can lead to the development of rust and corrosion, while birds may also chew on electric cables.
Considering this, it is best to remove bird’s nests as soon as possible. However, it is important to note that moving a nest with eggs or birdlings is illegal without a proper permit. In such cases, you can contact nest removal services to ensure proper handling of the situation.
Document Daily Performance
Keeping track of your solar panel system’s performance allows you to calculate how much energy output you receive daily. This information can inform you of any issues in the system so that you can repair them in time. As a result, the problems will not escalate, saving you costs in repair.
To track your solar energy system’s performance, you can install a solar monitoring system that provides automated energy production reports.
Maintain Solar Panel Battery
Taking care of your solar panel’s batteries increases their performance and lifespan. You can perform an annual or bi-annual checkup to ensure they are working properly. You must also clean the battery terminals regularly using a mild mixture of baking soda and distilled water, and a soft bristle brush. This will get rid of all the build-up, ensuring adequate functioning.
Once the terminals are clean, you can coat the metal components with commercial sealant or a high-temperature grease to prevent rust. You can then tightly secure all terminals and connect the batteries back to the solar panel system.
3 Signs Your Solar Panels Need Maintenance
If you are unsure about when is the right time to clean your solar panels, look out for these issues:
- Reduction in energy output
- Increase in electricity bill
- Constant red or orange light on inverter during daylight orders
3 Signs Your Solar Panels Need Repair
Solar panels can suffer unexpected damage from time to time. For instance, birds may fly directly into the screen, as they are unable to see glass.
Considering this, you need to identify and repair the damage on time. Here are three signs that can tell if you if your solar panels need repair:
- Inconsistent power supply
- Broken glass
- Issue on inverter
Solar systems are the best way to power your house with economic and sustainable energy. Even though solar panels don’t need a strict maintenance routine, regular cleanup can increase their efficiency and lifespan. Therefore, it’s best to clean your solar system monthly or bi-annually to improve energy production.