A Guide To Solar Panel Maintenance

Simon Wells
Authored by Simon Wells
Posted: Friday, June 28, 2024 - 10:29

Solar panels are a fantastic way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on energy bills. In the UK, where every penny and every small step towards sustainability counts, installing solar panels can be a smart investment.

However, to ensure they continue to function efficiently and provide maximum output, regular maintenance is essential. Here’s a straightforward guide on how to maintain and protect your solar panels to ensure they keep serving you well for many years.

What are Solar Panels?

Solar panels are devices that convert sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic cells. They offer a sustainable energy solution by reducing reliance on fossil fuels and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

They are surprisingly low maintenance compared to other home improvement systems like central heating or plumbing due to having no moving parts. This means that there is a less chance of wear and tear. However, this doesn’t rule out the fact that they will need maintaining.

Simple Steps to Maintain Your Solar Panels

To ensure optimal performance and longevity, a few simple maintenance steps should be followed.

Regular Cleaning

Depending on where you live, you’ll want to clean your panels once or twice a year. However, if you live in an area with high levels of dust, pollen, or other particulates, you might need to clean them more frequently, but how?

The process is straightforward. You can rinse the panels with a garden hose on a calm day. If the panels need more thorough cleaning due to bird droppings or stubborn grime, you can use soapy water and a soft sponge or a squeegee attached to a long handle.

Avoid harsh cleaning materials like abrasive sponges or strong detergents, as they can scratch the panels. Always ensure you adhere to safety guidelines, especially when working at heights or on sloped roofs.

Check for Obstructions

Trees can grow rapidly, and new constructions can pop up faster than one might expect which can block sunlight to your solar panels. To avoid this, regularly check to make sure that there are no new shadows cast on your panels during the times of day when they should be getting sunlight. Even partial shading can significantly reduce the efficiency of your solar panel system.

Monitor Performance

Most modern solar systems come with monitoring software that allows you to track the system’s output. This software can help you quickly identify any drops in efficiency, which could indicate a problem with the system, such as dirty panels, shading, or even technical faults.

Even with modern monitoring, it’s a good idea to have an annual check-up carried out by a professional. They can perform a more detailed inspection and test to ensure everything is functioning correctly.

Deal with Snow and Ice

In the UK, heavy snowfalls are relatively rare, but they can happen. Snow generally melts quickly on solar panels because they absorb heat, but in some cases, you might need to clear snow to restore their function. Use a soft brush or broom to gently remove the snow, being careful not to scratch the panels.

Ice, on the other hand, can be trickier as chipping it away risks damaging the panels. It’s best to let it melt naturally if possible. Installing panels at an angle helps prevent significant build-up and facilitates easier shedding of snow and ice.

Professional Maintenance

If you notice anything unusual, such as loose wiring, cracks in the panels, or a significant drop in efficiency that isn’t explained by dirt or shading, it’s time to call in certified professionals. They can conduct thorough inspections, make necessary repairs, and even replace parts if necessary.

Even if nothing seems amiss, it’s wise to schedule a professional inspection every few years. Professionals can often spot potential issues before they become serious, saving you time and money in the long run.

Solar Panel Warranty and Insurance

Most solar panels come with a warranty, often covering up to 25 years. Familiarise yourself with the terms of your warranty as some warranties may require certain maintenance tasks to be carried out to remain valid.

It’s also a good idea toConsider discussing your solar panel installation with your home insurance provider. Some policies may require additional coverage for solar panels, while others might cover them under the existing policy.

Give Your Solar Panels Some Care

Maintaining your solar panels isn’t just about safeguarding a financial investment—it’s about ensuring the efficiency and longevity of a choice that benefits both your household and the environment.

With minimal effort and some routine checks, your solar panels can continue to be a reliable source of green energy for decades.

With these simple maintenance tips, you can expect your solar system to perform at its best by providing clean energy and reducing your electricity bills for many years to come.


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