Solar panels are environmentally friendly, not to mention they can drastically cut your electricity costs. However, you’ll need to shell out quite an amount of money for a solar system. Forbes’ feature on solar panel pricing puts the average cost at $16,000, with the most expensive ones reaching $35,000. Meanwhile, installation can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000. What you pay depends on various factors, such as how many panels you need and various consumer protections. Because of the time, effort, and money that goes into getting the right solar panel system, it’s essential to keep yours in good order to make sure that it lasts you a long time.
Clean your solar panels
Rain and melting snow can wash away any dust off solar panels, especially if they’re tilted. However, you should still check for any build-up like leaves and bird droppings, which can affect your solar panels’ efficiency. In fact, as discussed in a previous Wacked Solar Reviews post, dirt and debris are some of the most common reasons why panels don’t perform well. Removing these obstructions is quite easy but can be labor-intensive. The Spruce’s guide to cleaning solar panels recommends you do so once a year, but you may have to do it more often under circumstances such as when your panels are close to pollution sources like roadways. The best time to clean panels is when temperatures are lowest since spraying them when they’re hot can cause the glass to break.
You can also choose to call a professional to clean the panels for you, especially if they’re on a heavily sloped roof or you’re not comfortable going up the roof yourself. Some solar companies also don’t allow owners to clean the panels, and violators may have their warranties revoked.
Regularly inspect solar panels
Solar panels have warranties and guarantees that state how they’re designed to withstand high temperatures and severe weather conditions. However, it’s still best to inspect them regularly. In terms of temperature, solar panels can actually work more efficiently when it’s cold, so it’s the extreme heat that you’ll need to watch out for. As Altium’s post on power integrity points out, overvoltage, overcurrent, and heat can destroy silicone-based components and reduce the product’s life expectancy. Engineers are also still working on improving solar panels’ design to prevent them from overheating. This includes making good use of thermal vias and landings to move heat away from the hottest parts of the panel.
In the meantime, to help prevent your panels from overheating, apply thin-film panels to decrease the chance of it overheating. You can even cover panels during the hottest part of the day after letting them collect some energy in the morning. As for severe weather events like a bad storm or hurricane, you should check for broken glass. You can check the panels physically or watch their efficiency through online monitoring.
Watch out for shade
This may not be one of your immediate concerns, since you should have already taken shading into account when you did site analysis during pre-installation. However, you still need to monitor shading even when your solar panels are already installed. Trees will grow and nearby construction can eventually block sunlight.
Trees are a relatively easy fix since you can simply have them trimmed until they don’t cover the panels anymore. However, buildings are trickier to deal with as you may have to remove and reinstall your panels, which can set you back around $2,750 for a ten-panel system. Though this may be worth paying for since you’re making sure that your system is at maximum efficiency.
Solar panels are a great investment. However, you need to put in the effort into maintaining them to make sure that they stay efficient for a long time.