Shifting to cleaner and renewable sources for fulfilling energy needs is increasingly rising in every state. Solar panels have gained popularity and relevance in recent years for both residential and commercial use. They are not just an excellent investment but also save you from hefty electricity bills.
At present, England accounts for the largest share of solar capacity in the UK, with 11,387 megawatts installed as of 2018.
Solar panels are generally durable and can last for years. However, for optimal performance, it needs to be well-maintained and cleaned periodically. So, the question may arise if it is a challenge to sustain these massive structures in the long run.
Though solar panels are not fussy, following a few tips to avoid damage is recommended. Read along to unravel the necessary information regarding solar panel maintenance and how you can keep them in top-notch condition for a more extended period.
- 1 Do Solar Panels Need Maintenance?
- 2 How to Maintain Solar Panels: Tips and Tricks
- 3 Do Solar Panels Require Repairs and Replacements?
- 4 How to Know If Your Solar Panel is Faulty?
- 5 Wrapping Up
Do Solar Panels Need Maintenance?
Yes. Though solar panels do not have many complex parts, they may require occasional cleaning and servicing to enhance their performance. Periodical cleaning will also eliminate the dead leaves or dust gathered on the shingles that may hinder the sunlight from reaching the surface.
An annual service for solar panels is recommended for its effective functioning. Any defective occurrences or faults should be addressed and resolved without delay. The average rainfall we experience is sufficient for the solar panels to self-clean; however, you may need occasional cleaning due to overhanging trees and bird activity.
During heavy snowing, you may have to resort to a full-fledged maintenance scheme to ensure a longer life expectancy for the solar panels.
Below are a few checklists to follow for the smooth functioning of the solar panels for years:
- Servicing of the solar panels
- Timely cleaning of the solar panels and cells
- Testing the solar power production regularly
- Remove dried leaves and debris out of the surface
- Keep the solar panels away from shade
- Regular check-in for rust and wear-tear of the panels
How to Maintain Solar Panels: Tips and Tricks
For the solar panels and cells to last longer, you need to clean them at least 2-4 times a year. If your solar panels are placed in a tilted position, it is easier for the rains to flush off the debris from the panels. However, you cannot always be that lucky.
During the dry season, you must clean the panels manually to clear off the surface’s dust and dirt. Here are a few cleaning and maintenance tips for your solar panels that will keep them in top condition always:
Maintenance of Solar Panel
- Servicing: It is advisable to get your solar panels serviced at least once a year to be safe from situations of faulty performance.
- Inverters: The life expectancy of the inverters is no longer than the panels. Hence you may have to keep an eye on their proper functioning.
- Documentation: It is vital to note the everyday energy production of the panels to improve their subsistence. Also, do ensure that you follow this on cloudy days without fail.
- Avoid Shading: For acquiring higher performance results and energy production, you should avoid placing the panels under the shades. This step is needed for maximum absorption of sunlight for generating enough electricity for your house.
Cleaning Tips for Solar Panels
- Cleaning Kits: A solar panel cleaning kit is ideal for always keeping them spick and span. You will find a small brush, wiper, and biodegradable soap. You can follow the instructions provided for cleaning the panels seamlessly.
- Avoid Harsh and Abrasive Materials: It is advisable to avoid these materials to protect the panels from damage, such as a scratch. Make use of soft cloth and rags for smooth cleansing of the panels.
- Avoid Hot Water: To clean the panels, you should avert from hot water since they are tempered glass and can break.
- Long Handle Wipers: For your convenience, you should use a wiper with long handles to help you reach the corners of the panels.
Do Solar Panels Require Repairs and Replacements?
Usually, solar panels come with a warranty of 25-30 years, and many manufacturers offer this to their customers. Repair and fixing costs may be needed if any part of the solar panel stops functioning or gets subjected to any wear or tear. So, what should be your next step if this happens?
It is recommended to reach out to a professional who can fix any damage your solar panels face. If the solar panel inverter fails to support the system, it may need fixing, for which you may have to spend around £500-£1,500 to replace them.
If you presume any fault in the grid or the panels are broken, you should report this to an engineer or your solar service provider to fix it immediately. However, if you take good care of the solar panels, you can avoid this hassle and save extra pounds from repairs.
How to Know If Your Solar Panel is Faulty?
Even though solar panels are known for their low maintenance, they may require repairs and replacements from time to time. However, what qualifies for repairs and faults in solar panels?
Discolouration of Solar Panels
Discolouration or snail trails in solar panels often happen after years of its usage. This usually occurs when a defective silver paste is used for the manufacturing process of the panel. Snail trail often leads to minute cracks on the panels and gravely affects the performance of the solar panels.
Most solar panels have a longer expectancy of 30 years; however, that is not the case with the inverters. If you face any energy shortage on any typical sunny day, the reason could be your inverter.
You should ensure to keep the solar panel inverters in a well-ventilated box to avoid overheating. This pointer is highly crucial for maintaining the endurance of the inverter. Additionally, keep the inverters clean as dust and dirt may clog up the vents resulting in overheating.
The inverters usually last up to 10 years, and any fault detected should be reported to a professional.
Cracks and Tears
Small cracks and breaks can occur on the surface of the solar panels during the production or shipping of the panels. Though micro-cracks may not lead to significant loss of energy, they may have severe repercussions in the future.
In cases of more significant cracks on the panels, it may cause considerable energy loss and may result in lower performance of your solar panels. It could interfere with the daily generation of electricity and hence affect your everyday routine too.
Solar panels are made both air-tight and water-tight by laminating the glass layer and solar sheets. However, if this is not done correctly, the solar panels may have gaps for the air or water to enter them.
It can result in darker spots spreading around the panels due to internal corrosion. It would ultimately hamper the energy production of the solar panels and reduce their efficiency immensely.
To sum up, solar panels are easy to maintain and are an excellent investment for life, and with a four-kWp system, you can save between £85 and £220 a year. With a solar warranty topped with occasional cleaning procedures, you can maintain the panels longer with zero energy loss and zero faults.
Although if you observe any change in the performance of the solar panels or a sudden rise in your electricity bill, it is time to reach out to your maintenance provider for better help and guidance.