New York solar incentives and tax rebates such as the Solar Electric Generating System Tax Abatement (SEGS), Home Solar Project State Sales Tax Exemption, and of course, the solar federal tax credit, have accelerated the growth of residential and commercial solar in the state. These incentives have helped reduce the cost of solar systems in New York and therefore, have encouraged more people to go solar.
With such rapid growth in New York’s solar industry, it is becoming increasingly important for people to learn about the maintenance of solar panels and when they should call a professional solar panel repair service in New York for help. This article will explain everything you need to know about New York solar maintenance and repair as well as why it’s important. So, without any further ado, let’s begin!
Repair and Maintenance of Solar Panels – Why Is It Important?
With the ability to harness the power of the sun, solar panels are no less than a technological miracle. These systems offer their owners numerous benefits, many of which remain unparalleled by any other power generation method, renewable or not. These include lowered utility bills, clean and emission-free energy, compact size, grid independence, and a ton of incentives and tax rebates. This makes New York solar a no-brainer investment, especially since areas such as New York and New Jersey receive plenty of sun throughout the year.
However, as is with all mechanical and electrical systems, the benefits of a solar energy system are primarily tied to how well your system is working. A system that operates at full capacity for many hours a day will, obviously, yield more electricity leading to greater independence from the grid and more savings on your bill. As a matter of fact, with net metering being permitted by the State of New York, you can even sell off the surplus energy you generate to the grid and earn money.
Needless to say, to reap the benefits of solar energy systems to the fullest, we must ensure that our systems operate at 100% capacity for as long as possible. This is where the repair and maintenance of solar panels come in. Since solar panels do not have any moving parts, many people have developed the misconception that these systems do not require any maintenance. However, this could not be farther from the truth.
Just Like all physical objects, solar panels and other related components are prone to aging as well. This means that your solar system will undergo wear and tear over time, and as a result, will gradually lose performance. The low temperatures and chilly breezes of New York winters can, in fact, accelerate this natural and progressive deterioration of your panels, thereby diminishing their performance even quicker.
In addition to this, the accumulation of dirt, debris, bird droppings, and even snow in winters, atop and below your solar panels is another major factor contributing to its declining performance. Being immensely sensitive devices, your solar panels can lose a major chunk of performance even with the slightest fault.
The gist of the matter is that to ensure consistent optimal system performance, you must immediately address any and all problems that your solar panels may develop. This, of course, can only be done by conducting regular solar repair and maintenance procedures. This is what makes routine maintenance of solar panels so crucial.
New York Solar Panel Repair Service Near Me – When Should You Call On?
There are a variety of problems that can plague a typical solar energy system and a professional solar panel repair service and help you out with all of them. Explained below are some of the most common solar panel problems you may have to face in New York, handling which warrants the assistance of a professional solar panel repair service.
Cracked or Shattered Top Glass Layer
The top glass layer of any solar panel serves two primary purposes. The first is to shield the underlying solar cells from external threats such as hail, dirt, debris, bird droppings, or any other foreign object. The second purpose is to allow the transmission of sunlight so it can reach the solar cells, which can then transform it into electricity.
A cracked or shattered glass means that the top glass layer can no longer protect the internal components of the solar panel, meaning that your solar cells and other internals are now at a greater risk of sustaining damage. Knowing this, one could argue that a damaged glass layer serves as a gateway to damaged solar panel internals.
In addition to this, a cracked glass layer also inhibits the transmission of sunlight. Any sunlight incident on the glass will get dispersed by the cracks and therefore, will not be able to reach the underlying solar cells. Even small hairline cracks can, in fact, substantially reduce the transmission of sunlight through the glass layer. Naturally, less passage of sunlight will lead to lower energy output.
This is why if you ever find yourself with a cracked or shattered solar panel, get in touch with a solar panel repair service in New York and get it repaired immediately.
Cracked Back Sheet
From chilly and frigid winters to warm and sunny summers, solar panels in New York and New Jersey have to stand through conditions that lie at and between both ends of the climatic spectrum. With such intense and frequent changes in the outdoor conditions, a significant amount of stress will be induced in the solar panels, especially in the back sheet. This excessive stress will inevitably cause the back sheet to crack.
A cracked back sheet opens up a way for water and moisture to enter the solar panels and mess with the electrical connections and circuit network within it. Also, the moisture can damage the solar cells and lower the resistance of the electrical circuit resulting in excessive current flow leading. All in all, a cracked back sheet can result in some very complex and costly electrical repairs if not repaired immediately.
Dented Panel Frame
The frame of a solar panel serves as one of the primary lines of defense for the internal components against external threats such as strong winds, tree branches, hail, stray golf balls, and so on and so forth. In protecting the internals, the frame itself will sustain damages over the course of time resulting in dents and misalignments in the frame.
Since the frame of a solar panel, generally, houses all the anchor points used to secure your panels to the mounting, a damaged and dented frame can cause your panels to become loose. This in turn can lead to a variety of other problems such as bending or twisting of the panels, improper orientation of the panels, etc.
A professional solar panel repair service in New York will be able to easily fix this problem without having to replace the entire panel. Except unless the solar cells or any other internals have been damaged, in which case, the panel(s) will probably have to be replaced.
Discoloration of Solar Panels
Discoloration or brownish thin marks underneath the solar panel glass commonly referred to as snail trails is another common solar panel problem indicating internal damage. These aesthetic features are usually a consequence of cracked solar cells. This is because the cracked cells keep producing electricity along the ruptures giving rise to localized heat buildup. This degrades the cell surface and the EVA material resulting in discoloration.
Add moisture to the mix and you have an electrically conducting medium that allows the silver particles in the contact wires to move to the EVA, giving birth to thin brownish lines that resemble the trails left by snails, hence called snail trails.
While snail trails aren’t necessarily detrimental to the performance of your solar panels, they are an unsightly remark that indicates that one or more of your solar cells is fractured and therefore, deteriorating. In a nutshell, snail trails are an omen signifying a decline in your solar system’s performance in the near future owing to fractured solar cells.
The best course of action, in case you detect snail trails on your panels, would be to consult a professional solar panel repair service to determine what an appropriate solution to the problem would be.
Hot Spots (Burnt Marks)
Any flaws in the circuit network or solar cells such as cracks, mismatched connections, insufficient soldering, or even shading of solar panels can lead to a spike in the circuit’s resistance. The greater the defect, the higher the additional resistance will be.
This additional resistance leads to excessive heat buildup in localized regions where the defect is present resulting in burn marks on the panel called hot spots. This can also destroy the solar cells or other components and could lead to an electrical fire if not addressed urgently.
Contrary to popular belief, solar panels also have to be earthed in order to redirect current into the ground in case they ever become live. If the voltage difference (potential difference) between the solar cells and the grounded surface of the panels becomes too great, a discharge of charges may occur between the two surfaces.
This reduces the performance of the solar cells and can even cause power losses of up to 30%. This phenomenon is known as Potential Induced Degradation, more commonly referred to as the PID effect. If not addressed timely, this performance deteriorating phenomenon will continue to degrade your solar panels and shorten their lifespan.
Dirty Solar Panels
Accumulation of dirt and debris atop and below your solar panels can be a real nuisance, one that can significantly diminish the output of your New York solar system. This is because the dirt, debris, bird droppings, and other filth will shade the panels and prevent sunlight from reaching the solar cells resulting in lower energy output.
In addition, birds and rodents nesting below your panels can lead to damaged wiring and other components. Furthermore, the straw, twigs, and other combustible materials gathered below the panels by birds to build their nest can increase the likelihood of a fire in the summers when the panels get extremely hot during the day.
Solar Panel Repair Service in New York – Why Should You Hire One?
It is common for people to think that the repair or maintenance of solar panels is a job that does not call for the help of a professional solar panel repair service and instead, you can just DIY it. However, this would be a very bad call to make for several reasons some of which are as follows:
Repairing and servicing solar panels, obviously, involves climbing onto the roof. Doing so can be dangerous seeing as how easy it is for you to lose your balance on the roof or miss a step on the ladder and fall. Even the slightest mistake could lead to a major injury, especially if you lack the proper safety gear.
Lack of Expertise
Solar panels are complicated and delicate systems. Diagnosing problems and then coming up with suitable remedial measures requires technical training and expertise in the field, something that most average homeowners would certainly lack. Attempting to repair or maintain your panels without the necessary expertise or tools can lead to you aggravating the problem instead of resolving it which would end up costing you more.
Solar panels are generally covered by a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty. However, this warranty comes with certain terms and conditions one of which usually includes that only a certified and licensed technician must install or repair the panels. A layperson doing an expert’s job would definitely void the warranty resulting in you having to cover the entire repair or maintenance expense.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do Solar Panels Need Regular Maintenance?
Solar panels require very little maintenance, that too only a few times per year. However, conducting regular service inspections can go a long way in maintaining peak system performance.
How Often Should Solar Panels Be Serviced?
You should service your solar panels at least once a year for areas such as New York. Make sure to service and clean your New York solar system before winter each year.
What Is the Life Expectancy of A Solar Panel?
The industry standard lifespan of solar panels is 20 to 30 years.
What Maintenance Do You Need for Solar Panels?
Generally, you only need to clean the solar panels using a soft and non-abrasive cloth and sponge. Also, check underneath the panels for bird nests or other filth and clean it away immediately.
Repair and maintenance of solar panels are crucial to ensure that your system keeps delivering optimal performance, thus allowing you to fully benefit from your clean and green energy system. However, we would highly recommend enlisting the help of a professional solar panel repair service in New York to service your system.
This provides you the assurance that your New York solar system is in safe and capable hands and that you are at no risk of voiding your solar panel warranty. Seeing as how finding service is as easy as typing “solar panel repair service near me” on Google, we don’t see why you would even consider going down the DIY route on this.
The team at Solar Medix is ready to answer your questions and give you a no-obligation price quote. Feel free to call us at 732-785-4814 or book a consultation online. And we’ll get in touch within 24 hours.