Did you know that experts expect a 40% increase in solar panel installations between 2023 and 2027? It’s in part due to tax incentives introduced by the US government. However, it’s also because many homeowners realize solar power’s benefits.
Are you already the proud owner of solar panels? Congratulations! You’ve taken a big step forward in transitioning to renewable energy. However, maintaining each solar panel will ensure they operate at their peak efficiency for years. Fortunately, you can follow some quick and easy tips to get the most out of your investment.
Read on to discover four key maintenance considerations for all homeowners with solar panels.
Solar Panel Installation
First things first. What is there to know about solar panel installation? Namely, that there are several benefits of investing in solar for your home.
With the initial installation cost often recouped within a few years, you can start experiencing significant savings as soon as the system is activated. Solar power also adds value to your home by increasing property resale value.
In addition to savings, many governments offer incentives like renewable energy credits and free system maintenance for added peace of mind. If you’re interested in cost savings, it pays to do some research. Several sites offer information about some of the solar tax incentives that the US government currently offers.
Again, however, it’s not just about saving cash! Most modern solar panel systems are designed to last at least 25 years or longer with regular maintenance, so your investment in reduced energy costs will continue to pay off for decades.
The bottom line? Solar panel installation is a great way to help save money on monthly electricity bills and reduce your carbon footprint. In today’s shaky global climate, that’s worth more than any cost savings.
How Long Does A Solar Panel Last?
It’s an important question to consider if you’re looking to invest in a solar energy system. After all, an investment like this will affect the energy costs of your home or business for decades into the future.
Luckily, the good news is that solar panels are extremely durable. When taken care of properly and installed with care, these photovoltaic cells have been known to provide 20 to 25 years of reliable service.
But you don’t need to wait that long to start seeing returns on your investment. If you keep up with solar panel maintenance regularly and address minor damage quickly, you could enjoy lower utility costs for your solar system almost immediately.
How Often Do Solar Panels Need Maintenance?
Keeping your solar panels clean is important to have a clean and efficient energy source.
How often you clean them will depend on the environment that you live in. If the air is usually dry with low dust levels, then once every several months is typically fine. However, if there’s lots of rain, dirt, and other debris present, then cleaning more frequently, such as once a month, will be necessary to keep your energy production at its best.
Any good maintenance guide will usually suggest you monitor your solar panels closely for the first year. Check to see how much dust and debris accumulate each month. Based on what you see, you can plan a maintenance schedule accordingly.
Likewise, checking on your solar panels after large natural events is also a great idea. This includes torrential rains, hail, and tornadoes. Any time there’s a chance a solar panel could have been damaged, you’ll want to double-check to make sure everything is working properly.
How To Maintain Your Solar Panels
Now that you know how often to check on your solar panels, you’ll likely need a few maintenance tips, right? To ensure that your solar panels can generate sustainable energy for many years, here are some tips on maintaining your solar panels.
1. Check Inverters
When you first check your solar panels, your first task is to see if the inverters are flashing green. This signifies that the electricity generated from your system is being compensated for. If not, you’re probably missing out on energy efficiency and money. After investing thousands of dollars in solar panel installation, you don’t want that.
If you notice that the inverters aren’t flashing green, we suggest contacting the solar panel company that installed the panels for you. Most solar panels are under warranty for quite some time. Even if they’re not under warranty, you can benefit from calling to ask what the problem might be.
2. Monitor Systems
Monitoring systems are an incredibly useful tool for homeowners who have installed renewable energy sources, such as solar panels. The data gathered from these monitors can be extremely helpful in making decisions about your energy consumption and how much you can save.
Not only can they help you to monitor your solar panel system performance objectively, but they also allow you to monitor the impact of your positive changes on the environment. This way, you will learn how much CO2 emissions you’re reducing and maximize your potential to benefit from feed-in tariff schemes.
3. Check For Corrosion
Corrosion occurs when metal or other materials react with their environment, so it’s important to keep an eye on the surface of the solar panel. Check for any rust spots or powdery deposits and keep the surface clean by washing off dust or debris that may have accumulated during storms or windy days.
In this case, we don’t typically recommend you try to fix or clean this yourself. If you notice anything suspicious, it’s best to contact a professional right away so that they can assess any damage before it gets worse.
4. Remove Debris
One of the best and most important tips for keeping your solar panels running optimally is regularly removing debris such as leaves, twigs, branches, and dirt. Not only will this help preserve the life of your panels by preventing any clogging or blockages, but it will also maintain their performance over time, resulting in much better long-term cost savings.
How often should you do this? It’s typically only necessary after a big rainstorm or windstorm. You’ll also want to plan to remove leaves and other natural debris after the colder winter months.
How Often Do Solar Panels Need Cleaning?
Cleaning solar panels is slightly different from maintaining them. Cleaning refers to removing dust and debris to ensure they can receive the maximum sunlight to power your home or business.
Like the question above, the answer to this ultimately depends on your climate and solar panel usage. Generally speaking, if you live in a dry and dusty region with little rain, you’ll need to clean your panels three or four times a year. You might not have to clean your solar panels in less harsh climates as often.
How To Clean Your Solar Panels
Like maintaining your solar panels, cleaning them frequently can help increase their efficiency and more than pay for itself in the long run. But how exactly should you clean them? Fortunately, keeping your solar panels free from dust, pollen, leaves, and other debris is fairly easy. Just follow these three tips.
1. Turn Solar Panels Off
Cleaning your solar panels is important to keep them running efficiently, but you should always turn them off before you start cleaning.
Solar panels create electricity when exposed to sunlight, so if they are left on while you clean them, you could be putting yourself and others at risk of electric shock. Turning off your panels before you begin cleaning will ensure you can clean them safely without risking electrocution.
Furthermore, leaving your solar panels powered up while cleaning can damage their sensitive electrical components since water and electricity generally don’t mix very well.
2. Solar Panel Cleaning Kit
Once you’ve turned the panels off, consider investing in a solar panel cleaning kit. They usually come with everything you need to clean safely and efficiently. This includes products such as the following:
- Biodegradable soap
All that’s left to do is mix up the soapy solution and start scrubbing. The wiper and soft brush will do wonders in removing any dirt or grime buildup that can prevent solar energy from being produced to its fullest potential.
3. Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals
While harsh chemicals can remove dirt quickly, they can also degrade the integrity of the solar panel by corroding the materials or killing off any nutrients that help it function properly.
Additionally, harsh chemicals can be hazardous to your health. So, when cleaning solar panels (or anything else in your home, for that matter), it’s important to avoid harsh chemicals and instead use mild soaps with water that can still get rid of unwanted dirt without risking damage.
More Homeowner Tips
Solar panel cleaning tips are great for homeowners interested in protecting their solar panels. However, investing in solar energy is only one small part of being a responsible homeowner these days. To learn more about how you can use technology to your advantage as a homeowner, read our home-related articles.
Image credit: Maria Godfrida from Pixabay.