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Five easy solar panel maintenance tips

By Blue Raven Solar | June 20, 2019

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Once you have solar installed, it is easy to keep up your solar panels. Serious cleaning usually isn’t necessary because most of the time, normal weather patterns take care of any dust buildup that might reduce solar energy output. But, as all of us know, in some years the normal weather patterns turn out to be anything but normal. On rare occasions, a conspiracy of unseasonable weather patterns can result in an efficiency-sapping layer of grime that needs to be properly cleaned off.

Learn more about when it’s necessary to clean solar panels, here.

Most of the time though, owning a rooftop solar array takes almost no effort at all. And to keep it that way, here are some very routine maintenance and inspection tips to follow that will help ensure the panel’s optimal performance.

1. Monitor Solar Power Output

Probably the easiest and best way to keep tabs on how your system is functioning is to monitor power output using the mobile app that connects to your power inverter. The great thing about the mobile app is that it will show you a real-time update on your solar array power output from the couch, the coffee shop, or the office.

2. Rinse Them with Water

When clearing snow, it is important that large masses of ice or snow do not move suddenly, as they can hurt people or damage equipment. On some sites where safety and access are a challenge it may be best to leave ice and snow alone until they naturally melt and fall away.

Take adequate precautions while doing maintenance of the solar panels in any condition, but especially with snow and ice. Since panels are located on rooftops and there is the risk of falling off. It is especially important that you do not walk on the solar panels. The glass surface can easily become slippery, and you run the risk of damaging your system or voiding warranties, but most importantly you run the risk of hurting yourself.  

3. Remove Snow and Ice Carefully

Know what’s great about having black-on-black monocrystalline solar panels? Apart from the fact that black absorbs more light, which helps energy efficiency, and it looks really sleek, black also heats up faster in the sunlight to help melt away snow and ice. What about those times when it snows really heavy and the sun doesn’t return for days on end?

First off, yes, your solar panels will still work in bad weather. But not until you clear away the snow and ice buildup first. Just be careful when pushing large masses of ice or snow off your roof, as they can hurt people or damage equipment when they fall. On those rare occasions when conditions make climbing onto the roof to access the solar panels unsafe, it may be best to leave ice and snow alone and let it melt down and fall away on its own.

4. Visually Inspect the Hardware

Performing an occasional visual maintenance check on the nuts, bolts, and mounting racks holding your solar array in place will keep you informed about how everything is holding up to time and weather. You shouldn’t find any problems. But if you do, the systems we install come with a 25-year warranty. Plus, the individual components all include their own manufacturer’s warranty too. In the unlikely event that you do notice a problem with your solar array, we take care of our own warranty claims plus we’ll facilitate a manufacturer’s warranty claim on behalf of our customers as well.

Here are a few things to look for when inspecting your panels:

Rusted Mounting Bolts

It’s not that a little rust will make bolts come apart. A little rust is fine. But if it looks like bolts have come loose or are rusting to the point that they could become unserviceable in the future, it might be a good idea to just replace them. The condition of the mounting racks should also be noted.

Solar Panel Defects

If you notice a decline in your solar energy output, it’s a good idea to check for surface defects or a buildup of dirt. If you find cracks, chips, or de-lamination, it may be a manufacturer’s defect that would call for a warranty claim. If you find fogged or discolored glazing, it may be caused by a buildup of smoke, pollen, or industrial pollution that water alone may not remove. For steps on how to clean off stubborn buildup, go here

Frayed Wiring

Check the junction boxes to see if the wires have been chewed by any rodents or insects. That sort of thing is rare, but if you do find it, call either a local licensed electrician or your solar installation company to get the problem repaired ASAP.

Maintenance Is Really Easy

One of the many great things about going solar is how easy the maintenance is. It just doesn’t take much to keep your system functioning well. The occasional inspection and routine cleaning are all it should take to keep everything working perfectly for decades.

Topics:   Residential Solar, How solar energy works, Advantages of solar energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, pros and cons of solar energy

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