Solar Energy Care and Maintenance
Solar photovoltaic panels offer a large range of benefits – they’re inexpensive, highly efficient and, once purchased and installed, provide electricity that’s completely free of charge.
Compared to other renewable energy systems, solar panels are also extremely easy to maintain. Their design, which has no moving parts, means that common failures of other renewable energy systems simply aren’t an issue with solar.
Despite this, it’s important to keep your solar panel system in good condition so that it runs as efficiently as possible. It’s also important to install your solar photovoltaic panels in a location where they’re unlikely to be damaged by wind or debris.
In this guide, we’ll look at the maintenance and care involved in using a solar energy system. We’ll also share tips to help you select a safe, efficient and low-maintenance location for your solar PV panels.
How much maintenance do solar panels need?
Since solar panels have no moving parts, they require very little maintenance. The average residential or small commercial solar panel installation only need regular cleaning in order to operate as efficiently as possible.
Over time, dirt and dust can collect on solar panels. This is particularly common if your solar panels are installed in a windy area with loose gravel or sand nearby or underneath trees that shed leaves, sticks and bark.
When a layer of dust or dirt develops on top of a solar panel, it can prevent it from operating at full efficiency. Large accumulation of dust and debris can significantly reduce the amount of electricity a solar panel generates even in ideal conditions.
Solar panels should be cleaned at least twice per year. Cleaning solar panels is very simple – most installations can be cleaned using a garden hose sprayer.
It’s best to clean solar panels early in the morning or late in the evening, as this is when the panels will be coolest. Cleaning hot solar panels with cool water can lead to cracks and other damage that prevents them from operating properly.
Use a low-pressure hose to clean your solar panels to avoid damaging the surface. If your sprayer has several spray settings, use the cone or shower setting to ensure the water is spread evenly across several panels instead of focused on a single section.
If your solar panels are exposed to rain, cleaning them is typically a simple process than only takes a few minutes. Solar systems in rainy locations can stay completely clean throughout the year simply due to regular rainfall.
During autumn, you may need to remove leaves from your solar panels if they are located below large trees. Fallen leaves are unlikely to damage your solar panels, but they can reduce efficiency by blocking sunlight from contacting solar cells.
When properly installed and maintained, solar panels can supply renewable energy to your home or commercial building for more than 25 years. Other components of your system, such as inverters and batteries, require more frequent replacement.
Can snow and hail damage solar panels?
Modern solar panels are designed and built to a high standard using materials such as tempered glass, letting them tolerate the weight of snow and ice that can develop during winter.
Snow can prevent your solar panels from operating efficiently, but it’s extremely unlikely to cause any damage to your solar energy system. If snow falls onto your solar panels, you can clean it off on your own or simply wait for it to melt away.
Because solar panels typically produce heat while generating electricity, snow that settles onto the panels during heavy winter weather typically melts during the day, often at a faster rate than show on your home or building’s roof.
Likewise, modern solar panels are designed to withstand the impact of hail – even large or heavy hailstones. The total force of normal hail falling at terminal velocity isn’t enough to damage modern, high quality solar panels.
Can strong wind damage solar panels?
Since solar panels have a large surface area, wind damage is an extremely common concern for many people. Wind, which creates mechanical load rather than impact force or static load, is one of several factors considered when solar panels are built.
Modern solar panels from high quality manufacturers are tested to tolerate a high level of mechanical load. The solar panels available today are designed to tolerate winds of up to 140 miles per hour, ensuring they are safe to use in any conditions.
Solar panels that are installed incorrectly can become damaged due to wind as a result of excessive force and poor mounting. This is common when panels aren’t installed by a professional and are secured to a weak, inappropriate frame.
If your solar panels are installed by a professional, it’s extremely unlikely that any wind, with the exception of extreme Category 5 hurricane conditions, will lead to significant damage.
Solar panels installed in areas that receive heavy storms and extreme weather can be strengthened using heavy-duty mounting hardware to further reduce the risk of weather-related damage.
How can you reduce solar panel maintenance?
The easiest way to reduce the amount of maintenance your solar PV panels require is to choose the right installation location. A location that’s protected from dust and debris and far from trees will typically require the lowest amount of maintenance.
Your solar installer will calculate the optimal angle for your solar panels. Installing solar panels on an angle not only improves their efficiency – it also lets rain run off the panels and clean away dirt, dust and other unwanted substances.
Before installing your solar panels, your technician will assess your property and work out the most suitable angle and location for your system to optimise energy generation and minimise maintenance need.
Are you interested in solar energy?
Are you interested in solar energy? From reducing your environmental impact to lowering your monthly energy bill, solar energy offers a wide range of benefits for your home or commercial property.
We offer high quality solar panels and solar water heating equipment for residential and commercial properties. Our team of solar energy experts and installers can help you learn more about the best solar power system for your property.
Contact us today to learn more about the solar energy solutions available for your property and discover the benefits of switching to solar energy.