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How Do I Maintain My Solar Panels?

By Holly Glem | September 05, 2017

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Once you have solar installed, it is easy to keep up your solar panels. There is some occasional maintenance and inspection that you should do to help ensure the panel’s optimal performance. Here are some pro tips for upkeep on your panels.

Wash with Water

First, you should wash your panels with water when there is built up dirt or dust.

To remove a layer of dust and dirt from the modules, simply wash the panel with water. It’s that simple. If the module has thick dirt or grime, which are harder to remove, wash with cold water and rub the panel surface with a sponge.

Do not use a metal brush to clean solar panel surface. Soap and detergents also should not be used.

Be Cautious Removing Snow and Ice

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.  

Visually Inspect Your System

Every once in a while, you can inspect your panels to look for any visual defects. There are a few things you can look for when you check out your panels:

    • Some rust on the bolts is OK. Rusty bolts can hold something in place for a very long time. But if it appears that your bolts are loose or have excessive rust, there may be a need to replace. The condition of the mounting system should be noted.
    • Defects such as cracks, chips, de-lamination, fogged glazing, water leaks and discoloration.
    • Check the junction boxes to see if the wires have been chewed by any rodents or insects.

Most of the time your system is going to have no problem, but if you keep an eye on it and do your occasional maintenance check, it will help keep them running well for a long time.

Use Your Monitoring Portal

One of the best things you can do to assure your system is functioning properly is to use your monitoring portal. Using your portal will help you be sure that your system is producing power. You can check it in real time to see how it is performing.

If you want to manually check if the system is producing power, you can go out to your inverter and check there as well. It will depend what inverter you have where you will check, but most of the time, there is a button you will push and it will show you on a screen how its producing.

SolarEdge

 If you have a SolarEdge inverter, there is a green button on the screen that you push. It will cycle through screens, and one will say how much it’s producing in real time, showing power AC in Watts (PACW).

SMA

For an SMA inverter, you push a button to wake the screen up, and it will show production right there. A graph of how much power it is producing per hour will appear.

However, both have online monitoring, and it’s easier to go through the portal.

Maintenance Is Easy

Honestly, one of the many great things about going solar is how easy the maintenance is. There is very little that is needed to keep your system functioning well. But if you keep the panels clean (with water), take the time to inspect them for visual defects, and you are careful when on your roof, it is easy to keep up your solar panels.

Topics:   Learn About Solar, Equipment

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