Have you ever thought about solar panel maintenance after you’ve had your panels installed? Maybe you think they look after themselves. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
Solar panels have become a very popular way for homeowners to embrace renewable energy and save money on their electricity bills. However, they are not entirely maintenance-free alternatives. So with this in mind, there are two key solar panel maintenance tips you need to know.
Solar panel maintenance starts with keeping them clean
Residential solar panels can quickly become dirty with airborne particles, bird droppings, algae and moss which can inhibit their performance. To keep your solar panels in good working order, and ensure that they remain efficient, it’s vital that they remain clean. This allows panels to absorb the maximum amount of energy from the sun.
You may have been told that your solar panels are ‘self-cleaning’ or that typical rainfall will be sufficient for keeping them clean. In reality, this is often not the case. The only real way to keep your solar panels clean is to clean them yourself.
How to clean your solar panels
Thankfully cleaning your solar panels needn’t be a complex task and solar panel maintenance cleaning kits are readily available through solar panel installers and the internet. If for whatever reason you cannot get hold of a specific solar panel cleaning kit then don’t panic. Most solar panel cleaning fluid is not dissimilar to window cleaner or car cleaner so you can substitute it for these.
Alongside cleaning fluid you will also need a brush and a glass wiper. These are often available on extendable poles which can make reaching your solar panels easier if you do not have easy roof access.
First, dip your brush into a mixture of the cleaning fluid and water and scrub off any visible dirt, algae or bird poo. You may need to do this several times for dried-on dirt to help it come clean.
Next, scrape away any excess residue and dirt with your wiper and repeat until the solar panels are clean.
If you don’t have roof access or are not comfortable trying to reach your solar panels then always leave this to a professional.
Dealing with bird nests
Solar panels offer great protection for nesting birds. When undertaking solar panel maintenance you may find that birds have taken up residency. Nesting birds can cause a quick accumulation of debris and droppings.
You can clean bird droppings from your solar panels yourself. However, it’s best to discourage birds from nesting between or beneath them completely by installing barriers between any gaps. These barriers are often lightweight and nearly invisible and so will not become an eyesore on your roof.
Improving your solar panel performance
Cleanliness of your solar panels is likely the primary reason for a dip in their performance. If you have given them a good clean and are still experiencing issues, then you may need to contact a professional who can diagnose the problem and conduct any solar repairs.
Other common solar panel maintenance issues include inverter problems, connectivity issues, generator errors and problems with the solar panel roof mounts. However, these typically do not often occur for several years after installation. Most solar panels remain under warranty for a relatively long period of time. So be sure to make the most of this to have your panels serviced and repaired.