Maintaining solar panels is a relatively easy endeavor. Knowing how to care for them will ensure that they continue providing you with power for years to come.
It also pays to have them installed in a way that makes their maintenance easier. But what do you do when you experience less power output?
Is there anything that you can do on your own, or will you need to hire someone to do it for you? Let’s explore these common queries and more to ensure that your solar panel experience is both convenient and beneficial.
Proper Panel Care
One of the most convenient attributes of solar panels – aside from providing you with free energy – is how little upkeep they actually require.
For the most part, the only thing you need to concern yourself with is ensuring that your panels stay clear of objects. Leaves, branches, dirt, and other debris can greatly decrease your panel’s ability to provide you with power.
One of your biggest enemies is going to be snow, as it can create a barrier between your solar panels and the sun’s rays.
Anytime you notice a loss in power, the first thing you should do is check for anything covering your solar panels. Oftentimes, a quick cleaning will return your panels to their optimal power output.
This is why their positioning is so important. You want to install them strategically around or on your home in a way that is less apt to encounter obstructions.
This will ensure that less maintenance is required from you, providing you with a much more enjoyable user experience.
If you have difficulty climbing on your roof to check the status of your solar panels, you shouldn’t attempt cleaning them on your own. It’s best to hire someone who is familiar with solar panel maintenance.
If you aren’t experienced in solar panel installation, you should always leave it to a professional to do it for you.
One of the best things you can for both yourself and your panels is to have them installed in a way that is convenient for you to access. If you’re putting them on your roof, you should try to have them installed at an angle, if at all possible.
Panels that are tilted are less likely to accumulate build-up. This will keep you from having to climb up on your roof to clear away debris.
Another benefit of this is that it gives you an all-natural self-cleaning feature. When it rains on solar panels that are installed at an angle, you get the benefit of the rain doing your cleaning for you.
The rain will naturally run off of the panels, taking dirt and debris with it. While it’s true that roof-mounted solar panels are more difficult to access, their installation is often less expensive.
But what if you’re seeing less energy output when your panels are clear of any obstructions?
Other Potential Issues
Not all power loss is associated with debris. There are other problems you might run into that require more in-depth troubleshooting. Fortunately, there are ways to make this easier on your end.
Monitoring systems are available that serve to keep you apprised of your solar panels’ energy output. If you notice any irregularities in performance, you can then check for issues that might be causing this, or hire someone to do it for you.
Aside from telling you how much energy is being produced, monitoring systems will also alert you to panel malfunctions. If one goes down for any reason, your system will immediately let you know that there’s a problem.
When this happens, you can see if there is anything blocking sunlight from hitting your panels. If they look clear of debris, you know it’s time to call someone to come and check them out.
When to Repair and When to Replace
While normal cleaning and care is something that most solar panel owners can do on their own, repairing or replacing them is another story entirely.
For your safety, you should always hire a professional in instances that call for mechanical maintenance. You should also check to see if your solar panels are still under warranty.
If there is ever a malfunction within this period, your panel manufacturer will send a professional to your home to see what is causing the poor performance.
If the problem can be fixed, you can look forward to having a professional repair your malfunctioning solar panels. If they determine that your panel or panels can’t be fixed, a replacement will be issued instead.
Never attempt to do this on your own. Not only are you putting yourself in danger, but you also run the risk of voiding your warranty. Of course, not all panel issues are related to defects or malfunctions.
Falling branches, storms, and other natural mishaps can cause damage to your solar panels that aren’t covered by your manufacturer’s warranty.
If you are buying for the first time, ask if there are any extended warranties available that protect you from these kinds of potentialities.
It’s also possible that your homeowner’s insurance will provide you with coverage if there is physical damage to your solar panels. You’ll want to make sure that you know who to contact if you ever have to file a claim.
The less time that your panels are down, the less you’ll have to worry about going without power.
Knowing how to properly handle problems with your solar panels will ensure that your issues are resolved in a timely manner. And by following the correct maintenance and upkeep practices, you can look forward to many years of service.
Never try to take on anything that you aren’t familiar with. There are plenty of professionals who are well-versed in solar panels and know what to do in the event of a malfunction.
If anything is causing your panels to experience power loss beyond what a simple cleaning can remedy, it’s best to leave it to the pros.