Your time is valuable, so before you invest in a solar panel system, it’s great preparation to take stock of everything required of you as a new solar owner. You will find it is a small matter in the bigger picture of ending your dependence on fossil fuels. Photovoltaic panel producers design panels to be resilient enough to work outside for decades. Therefore, maintaining your solar panels is trivial when compared to the financial rewards of going solar.
Here’s what you’re in for
Panels can get dirty, but the rain does a fine job at cleaning and washing away dust from the panels. On the flip side, some places face climate conditions like drought, dusty air, or smog. Before the installation of your solar panels takes place, sap-producing trees should be cleared away and/or trimmed, otherwise you run the risk of accumulating debris from trees atop your system.
It is not necessary to call a maintenance team for a simple cleaning. Debris on your panels is usually water-soluble and responds to a little extra water pressure. Spraying the panels with the garden hose periodically will do wonders to refresh your solar energy production.
How to know if you need to clean your panels
A quick inspection yourself can clue you in on the following signs:
- Panels are visibly dirty with leaves, soot, bird droppings, etc.
- Production has dipped prematurely.
- Local trees and plants have released pollen.
Maintaining your solar panels with a simple rinse-down are really only necessary two or three times a year. Rainfall washes away a lot of dust and pollen, but the garden hose delivers more pressure. Before you get started, make sure that any losses in production are from ordinary debris, not a serious issue.
When to call a professional?
Maintaining your solar panels is a DIY task but servicing them is a job best left to the pros. These are all reasons to call for service:
- Cracks or scratches in the surface are cause for intervention. Any opportunity for moisture to enter the panels could be a problem.
- Power problems – lessened or unusual performance not consistent with normal PV panel degradation can indicate a problem with a panel or an entire string.
- Out of touch –if you cannot reach the panels with a hose or are unable to reach them with the hose from a ladder, call the pros. This applies to offsite solar farmers who may find hiring out more cost effective than personally going off site, too.
- No ladder, no hose, no problem – if your solar panel array is on top of a skyscraper, out on a solar farm, or otherwise in a position lacking in maintenance equipment, calling pros just makes sense.
While solar panels are guaranteed to last and devoid of movable, breakable components, there are still rare occasions where a professional comes in handy. It’s actually not as big of a job as you expect. The system designs are innovative; panels detach from the racking easily.
The majority of your investment into your solar energy system goes toward the initial components and installation, while its returns increase each year; it also adds resale value to your property. Which is why commercial and residential owners don’t mind giving a little TLC to their income-generating investment.
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