Solar panels should be inspected at least every two years, but in between you can still do things to maintain your solar panel’s efficiency. Below we’ll go over some of the easiest ways to maintain your panels in between regular maintenance checks.
1. Remove any shading
If any trees grow to a point where they’re shading the panels, trim them so the panels receive full sunlight for as long as possible. A small amount of shade on even one cell can lead to reduction in that panel’s power by a third at least, which is replicated by all of the other panels in that string, or electrical group. This leads to massively reduced efficiency and a hike in your power bill. Ensure all overhanging trees and plants are properly trimmed and check the level of shade throughout the day and during different seasons.
2. Monitor with Solar Analytics
One of the leading monitoring systems on the market, Solar Analytics integrates with nearly every type of solar system. Tracking your solar usage over time and identifying any unusual drops in power output will allow you to quickly identify and fix any issues before they become worse.
Checking your monitoring app regularly means you can identify and nip any problems in the bud, without a big shock on your next power bill.
3. Wash with a hose
A quick yearly wash with some soapy water and a hose can remove any grime. We recommend not going onto your roof to clean without appropriate safety height equipment.
Cleaning the panels first thing in the morning, when they’re covered in dew, can make this task easier. Avoid cleaning the panels during the hottest parts of the day as there is a small risk of the panels cracking from thermal contractions.
- DON’T use a pressure washer.
- DO clean with a soft broom if necessary.
- DO use appropriate height safety equipment if you are going onto the roof.
4. Keep birds away
Large amounts of bird faeces can cause just as much efficiency loss as shade can. Birds may fly over the panels, or choose to nest under them at night time. Be careful not to do anything that may attract more birds near your panels, including putting any of the following close to the area of your array:
- Installing TV antennas
- Installing power lines directly overhead
- Setting up bird feeders and baths
- Setting up water fountains as the noise attracts birds
If birds become a big issue, there are solutions such as bird proofing products which stop the birds sitting underneath and also keep possums away, as well as silent ultrasonic bird deterrent devices.
5. Check frayed or exposed parts on your inverter
Although you should never touch or change any of the settings on your inverter, you can still look for any obvious issues. If you see any exposed wiring, case damage or other issues, contact your solar installer for advice and maintenance.
Live panels can be deadly if they’re in faulty condition. Not willing to take the risk? We always recommend using a licensed professional to do a thorough clean, check and maintenance.
Peter is a Licensed Electrician and the Director of Proven Energy, a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer. After working in the industry, Peter’s interest in renewable energy lead him to found the company in 2012, offering honest and reliable solar system supply and installation for residential, commercial, off-grid and agricultural properties. Peter is a CEC Accredited Installer. Electrical Contractors Lic No. 74650