Solar systems help to convert solar energy into electricity for use in a home. A home solar system can be quite durable and usually requires little care. Just a small amount of maintenance for the system can go a long way and help to prevent any unforeseen issues from cropping up and damaging the effectiveness of your system.
If you do not properly maintain and care for your solar PV system, you might have to conduct expensive replacements, which could cost you thousands of dollars and cut into how fast the system pays for itself. However, solar system care is not complicated. You can do most of the work yourself since there are no moving parts or sophisticated components that require any special operations. Here are some tips on how to do it:
1. Keep Panels Out of the Shade
Keeping your solar panels clear of any shading is one of the simplest but most important care tips for your solar system. Any shading means that some light is not getting to the PV cells within the solar systems, reducing their ability to generate electricity for your home. The result is that it will take longer for your solar system to pay for itself.
If you notice a nearby tree growing branches towards your solar system, you should prune those branches. A bit of pruning will not damage the tree and will ensure that your solar system continues to help you optimally reduce your carbon footprint. Besides that, if you plan to make any developments in your home, such as setting up new structures, ensure that they will not obstruct the panels.
2. Ensure the Solar Inverters are Flashing Green
Keep a close eye on the solar panels and ensure that the microinverters attached to each panel are always flashing green. If one of those inverters is not flashing green, your solar panels are not producing power optimally. You should contact a technician to come and look into what the problem may be.
3. Monitor the Performance of the Solar System Over Time
Get a professional solar system monitoring app or simply write down how much the solar system produces over time. Most modern solar systems come with a professional app that can be connected to the inverter. Ensure that you check how much power the solar panels produce over time.
On days when it is cloudy, take note. However, when the sky is clear, but the solar system is performing below the optimal level, it might be time to call the installation company. This is especially pertinent if the system is new, as any inherent issues with the solar panels or any other part of the system will show up within the first months of installation. During this time, you must keep a close eye on the system’s output.
Besides an app, some solar systems come with a wall-mounted display that will help you to check how much power your system is producing.
4. Watch Out for Wildlife
The space under your solar panels can be very attractive to wildlife, and sometimes they will want to build their nests under there. In some cases, rodents will want to build homes under the solar panels while chewing on the wires. This represents a major hazard for both the animals and the home. If they gnaw at the wires for long enough, they could leave them exposed.
These wires could conduct power from the solar panels on rainy days, representing a fire hazard as well as increasing the risk of being shocked. Inspect the space below and around the solar panels to ensure that no wild animals are building their homes beneath them.
5. Check for Storm Damage
Solar panels are quite sturdy. However, hailstones can cause tiny dents on the surface of the panels. These dents will make it harder for solar panels to absorb sunlight. After a heavy storm has cleared, remember to inspect the surface of your panels for damage. If they are scratched or chipped, it might be necessary to have the solar panels repaired.
6. Check for Pooling
When solar panels are installed, they must be tilted in a manner that allows them to drain water from their surface. If improperly installed, pools of water that form on the surface could catch dust and turn into tiny mud pools that obstruct the solar panel’s ability to absorb light. If needed, try to adjust your solar panels so that water drains off immediately after landing on the panels.
7. Install an Automated Cleaning System
If you live in a dusty location, but you do not have time to clean your solar system, you could install an automated cleaning system. Such a system could be as simple as a sprinkler system that is installed together with the solar panels. You could also schedule a cleaning company to come and clean your solar panels.
Tips for Cleaning Solar Panels and How to Best Care for Your Solar PV System
One of the most important tips to keep in mind when cleaning your solar panels is that you have to use a wiper, biodegradable soap, and a small brush with a long handle.
Always ensure that you do not use any abrasive material to clean the solar panels. Be sure to clean them gently without rubbing the solar panels with force, even if you come across a persistent stain. Simply clean the area repeatedly and gently until you get rid of the stain.
If you have to climb on the roof, ensure that you take all the proper precautions. You should wear boots with a good grip and, if possible, use a safety harness. Another precaution you can take is to have someone watching you while you do the cleaning. Keep in mind that while there are ways to care for your solar PV system yourself, certain tasks may best be safely done by a professional.
With these tips above, you should be able to care for your solar PV system and keep it working optimally for decades.