There are many benefits to installing a residential solar panel system to generate renewable energy, like supporting the environment. Homeowners can also take control over their electric bills and potentially save thousands of dollars over the systems’ lifespan.
However, the following five home maintenance steps are essential to maintain the efficiency of your solar panels.
- Look in on your digital monitoring system. Many solar panel systems come with an app to track their daily output. The app will tell you if there are any sudden drop-offs due to a fault. Place a reminder on your calendar to check the system once a month.
- Remove sunlight obstructions. Shading is a downfall of PV (photovoltaic) materials and devices that convert sunlight into electrical energy. If trees are blocking the sun from the solar panels, the energy output will be limited.
- Clean your solar panels!!! How frequently you need to clean your solar panels depends on the climate and area where you live. Our motto, “if they look dirty, clean them.” Please keep in mind rain naturally rinses your panels; we recommend a late spring or summer cleaning.
According to the US Department of Energy, cleaning panels when they are dirty can significantly improve how much energy your panels can collect. When solar panels are dirty, they are far less effective at gathering energy. You may be able to double your energy output by ensuring your solar panels are clean, which converts to energy savings.
Here are three home maintenance options for cleaning your solar panels:
- Hire a professional to clean them
Prices can undoubtedly fluctuate based on the amount of work required, size of the solar panels, and location. The cost can range anywhere from $15-$35 per solar panel. Make sure they use deionized water when cleaning the panels. We highly recommend hiring a professional regularly, and it is safer.
- Purchase an automatic solar panel cleaning system
Installing an automatic solar panel cleaning system will also avoid potential injury from falling, damaging roofing or solar panels. However, the initial installation for a system such as a residential Heliotex System can be costly. The cost can range anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000.
- Clean solar panels yourself
Although the most dangerous option, you can save yourself a lot of money, especially if you need to clean your solar panels more often. We see some clients that need to clean their solar panels quarterly and every other month. It is essential to clean them early morning before the sun hits them.
a. Rinse the solar panels with clean water to remove loose dirt or debris. Hard water can leave water spots that will reduce panel efficiency. Again, using deionized water is best for solar panels.
b. Use a soft scrubber and solar panel cleaner mixed according to directions and from a bucket, gently wash the panel’s surface.
c. Rinse solar panels again with clean water.
- Manage any vermin
While birds, especially pigeons, like to form nest under and around the panel’s; squirrels, can also cause wiring and infestation problems. Click on this link for vermin proofing techniques around solar panels that have proved effective as part of your seasonal home maintenance.
- Track solar panel maintenance
As you would keep track of your car maintenance, keeping a log of solar panel inspections, cleaning, or part replacements may prove useful in the future. If a problem ever arises that needs diagnosing by a repair professional, the home maintenance records may come in handy.