How to Maintain a Solar Panel
Two Methods:Solar Panel Cleaning Monitoring Performance
Solar panel maintenance is important because insufficient care for solar panels can reduce the amount of energy that these panels generate for your home. Since a solar panel system needs to absorb energy from the sun, the most vital component of solar panel care is to keep the panels clean. You can usually maintain a solar panel using the same equipment that you use to wash your residential and automobile windows, as long as you provide regular care and don’t allow dirt and other environmental elements from settling on the panels for too long.
Method 1 of 2: Solar Panel Cleaning
Purchase a solar panels cleaning kit. It should contain a liquid soap, a wiper, a small brush and in some cases another brush with a longer handle. In many ways, these items are similar to what you use to clean your car, so if you cannot purchase a cleaning kit that is specifically designed for cleaning solar panels then you can substitute it with your car cleaning equipment instead.
Mix the soap with water in a bucket. The amount that needs to be mixed should be mentioned on the bottle of liquid soap. Usually it is about the same proportion that you use when cleaning your car.
Dip the brush into the soap and water mixture and gently rub it over the solar panels. If you have the panels divided into smaller arrangements then you should be able to get the job done with a small handheld brush. However, for larger arrangements it can be difficult to reach the panels in the middle so you will need to use the brush with the longer handle.
Wipe the solar panels with the wiper while the panels are still wet. At times, the wiper is attached at the back of the brush. It is important that you don’t allow the soap to dry on the solar panels since this will block the amount of sunlight that they can absorb and make them inefficient.
Hire a professional solar panel cleaner if there are some areas of the panels that you are unable to clean. Sometimes it can be difficult to reach all the panels while in other cases you may have certain stains such as the stains of bird droppings that can be very difficult to clean. It is better to hire a professional than to risk damaging your solar panels.
Method 2 of 2: Monitoring Performance
Install a monitoring system to keep an eye on the performance of your solar panels. When the performance goes down you’ll know that maintenance is required. Most of these monitoring systems need to be installed professionally with the purchase of a monthly subscription fee. Here are some advantages of installing a solar panel monitoring system.
- You can keep track of how much energy is being produced by your solar panels.
- Monitoring systems can show you how you are benefiting the environment, such as lower amounts of CO2 emissions compared to other energy systems. These statistics may help you receive tax benefits when filing your tax return.
- Diagnose problems through your monitoring system. Many of these devices will tell you which areas of your solar panel are not functioning properly and need repair.
- See information about your solar panels on a wall-mounted display while at home or via the Internet while traveling.
- In essence, it is the thick glass exterior of the solar panels that need the most maintenance. The electrical components of the panels are sealed inside this thick glass and usually remain quite well protected throughout the life of the solar panel.
- The Department of Energy suggests that you should anticipate spending about 8 to 16 hours per year to maintain a solar panel system. Solar panel cleaning should be done 4 times annually or at least once thoroughly every year. Solar panel maintenance should be performed more regularly in dusty areas or on buildings that are surrounded with foliage.