5 Frequently Asked Questions on Solar Panel Maintenance
With the high cost of electricity and rates that just keep climbing year after year, there is a growing interest in solar power. After learning about the initial costs involved and how they can be offset by tax credits and rebates, the next thing you may want to know about is maintenance. It is the same with any major purchase you might make. If it’s high maintenance, is it worth the investment? Actually, solar panels aren’t as difficult to maintain as you might imagine, but to set your mind at ease, here are the 5 most frequently asked questions on solar panel maintenance.
1. Do They Even Need to Be Maintained?
Actually, solar panels are not difficult to maintain. It is recommended that you clean them anywhere from two to four times a year so that nothing is built up on the surface to prevent them getting the full benefit of sunshine. Remember, obstruction can interfere with efficiency.
2. How Do You Maintain Solar Panels?
This is one of the leading questions on everyone’s mind when they are almost ready to contract that installation. Actually, a good leaf blower can keep twigs, leaves and dust off them, and a garden hose would keep them sufficiently clean if they are tilted at a decent angle. If they are on a rooftop, you may want to get a good ladder, but if you are unable to manage heights, you might want to get them professionally cleaned once or twice a year. Having said that, unless you have a multi-story home, a strong garden hose should work just fine!
3. What Maintenance Is Required After Severe Weather?
This depends on what kind of severe weather you are talking about. After a bad windstorm, you may want to blow or wash any fallen branches or leaves off as mentioned above. However, gale force winds may be another matter altogether. These are the winds strong enough to lift shingles off roofs, so if you’ve had a storm of that magnitude, a visual inspection (or a loss in performance!) should tell you if anything was lifted or damaged. If not, just clean them off.
4. Can You Repair a Broken Solar Panel?
Repairing a broken panel is sometimes possible, but most homeowners don’t have the tools or the knowledge to work with the technology, so this would require a professional. Replacing a panel might be possible as a DIY project, but sometimes it pays to hire a solar installer to ensure maximum efficiency.
5. How Do You Ensure They Are Running Optimally?
If you believe you are losing power, there could be several contributing factors, such as the dirt and debris mentioned above. However, to get a real analysis of their operating efficiency, you could install a solar panel monitoring system. Talk to your installer prior to the initial installation to see if this is something they could do at the same time. This is, perhaps, the best way to ascertain if your solar panels need maintenance.
You probably have a few more questions, but these are the five most frequently asked. Other questions can, and should, be addressed by the solar company you are contracting, so don’t be afraid to ask.