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Solar Panel Maintenance: tips to maximize solar system output

A properly installation solar system requires few Solar panel maintenance. However the following maintenance tips  you should keep in mind to keep your solar system in good shape.

Solar Panel Maintenance tips

A solar energy system requires few maintenance once it has been installed properly. A quality solar system can easily last over 15 years. In fact, solar panels carry a performance warranty of 25 years. With the right care you will be guaranteed of a steady and maximized output over a long period of time.
Solar panel maintenance

Solar panel maintenance - cleaning of solar panels

The following solar panel maintenance tips are recommended:

Solar panel cleaning

Cleaning of the solar panels is easy but labor intensive. It ensures that the solar cells are unobstructed and receive the maximum amount of insolation. Clean solar panels are important to maximize the panel’s energy output. Cleaning the glass on the panels is a simple procedure that can be carried out as often as required depending on how much dirt is accumulating. To clean panels, you can use a soft cloth or wash rag and biodegradable soap. If you are only dealing with dust you can run a hose pipe with water over the panels.

Avoid shading

Shading is one of the things you already avoid when you do a proper site analysis during pre-installation. Once the panels have been mounted, you need to ensure shades do not come up such as new towering trees, as this will decrease the amount of energy produced by the system. You do not necessarily have to cut down trees but you can trim them to ensure the panels are not shaded.
Solar panel maintenance - ground installation cleaning

Solar panel maintenance - ground installation cleaning

Monitor the solar system

The only way to detect a problem in the system is to monitor its performance through daily, monthly, quarterly and annual checks.

Daily solar panel maintenance

Daily checks should involve monitoring the inverter display to ensure that it is working correctly and that the green light is on, failure to which you should refer to the manual. Also, keep a daily record of the system’s output to be able to monitor performance over a long period of time. Most modern inverter and their monitoring software will do this automatically for you.

Monthly and quarterly solar panel maintenance

Monthly and quarterly maintenance checks involve checking the cleanliness of the panels, and accumulation of any dust and debris under and around the PV array. Annual maintenance checks are more detailed and should involve a thorough checkup of the entire system to ascertain that it is working correctly.

Annual solar panel maintenance

Some of the annual maintenance services for solar systems include:
  • Performing a general performance check of the system by reviewing the daily performance data to detect any major changes in output
  • Checking the solar panels to ensure that they are clean, free of fractures, scratches, corrosion, moisture penetration and browning.
  • Cabling should be checked to ensure it is secure and the voltage of strings is within the stipulated tolerance.
  • Checking the mounting hardware to ensure it is in good condition and ensuring the earth connection is continuous.
  • Checking of junction boxes to ensure there is no water accumulation and that the integrity of lid seals, connections and clamping devices is intact.
  • Checking of breakers for any damage, and to verify that the isolation devices are working correctly
  • Checking of fuse boxes for water damage and resistive joints on connections
  • Inspecting the inverters to assess any damage, checking for any resistive joints on connections and verifying the DC voltage coming into the inverter.
Jake Carter

Jake Carter

on 08 Jul 2020

My brother had solar panels installed last year at his house and noticed that it’s starting to get pretty dirty. I’ll be sure to share this with him as he calls around for a company that can professionally clean it for him.

Mark Murphy

Mark Murphy

on 31 Aug 2018

I really appreciate your tip to avoid shading. My wife and I have been thinking of getting solar panels. If we do, I will be sure to avoid putting them next to any shade!

Ivy Baker

Ivy Baker

on 09 Aug 2017

Recently, I just moved into a new home in an area that is really sunny. I have been thinking about getting some solar panels installed on my roof. So, I liked that you talked about how it would be smart to check for fractures on the panels regularly. It didn't realize that fractures could prevent them from absorbing sunlight.

Solar Electric Power Systems

Solar Electric Power Systems

on 06 Nov 2017

Neither did I, a very good point. Glad I found this article.

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