The good news is that residential solar power systems don’t need a lot of maintenance. The bad news is if you were using maintenance as an excuse to not install solar on your home, you are out of excuses.
What do you have to do to properly maintain your system? It depends on the circumstances. No matter what, you should monitor your system. This is as simple as logging in and checking to make sure it is still producing the right amount of electricity at least every month. More often is better. Some monitoring systems can even be set up to send you an email with the solar production report so you don’t have to remember to check the website.
Many customers watch their monitoring at the beginning and then get lazy about it. If something goes wrong and you weren’t watching, your notification will come in the form of a really high electric bill.
Usually the failure is caused by something silly like someone switched off the PV disconnect not knowing what it was or the PV circuit breaker in your main service panel was tripped. Other times a piece of equipment like an inverter might have failed. Some errors are temporary and the device just needs to be reset, other times it might need to be repaired or replaced. Most inverters have at least a 10 year warranty and some have up to 25 year warranties so repairs will generally be covered under warranty. But you can’t get it fixed until you know it is broken, so monitor your system.
Another thing you may have to do it clean your solar panels. This will depend on your climate and surroundings. If it rains regularly, you may not ever have to clean them. If it doesn’t rain much and you are in a high dust area (think desert) it would be a good idea to clean them a few times a year. If there are pine trees dropping needles and sap on your solar panels, you will have to clean them way more often. You can tell what you need to do by looking at them. If there is a layer of dirt, that will block the sun and lower your production so clean it off. If they look clean, leave them alone.
Fortunately cleaning solar panels is easy. Most of the time all you need to do is give them a gentle hosing off. You should always turn the system off before you start just in case. You should never use cold water on hot solar panels, it may crack the glass. If you want to wash them in the summer do it in the morning before the sun has heated them up. You also want to make sure you never use abrasive cleaners on them that might scratch the glass. The glass is durable tempered glass but it is still glass.
Professional solar panel cleaning services are also available if you don’t want to do the work. This will generally cost $5-$10 per panel depending on the size of your system and accessibility of your roof.
Other than washing off dirt, another thing you may have to do is clear away snow. If the snow is going to melt in a few days, it won’t hurt the solar panels to leave them buried, they just won’t produce any power while they are covered. So the urgency on this is entirely up to you but in general, if you are in a climate where that snow is going to stay in place all winter, you probably should get it off the panels unless you miss paying high electric bills.
That wraps it up. Solar is very low maintenance. So stop making excuses and get your system now. If you have any questions about solar panel maintenance or anything else, call the experts at GoGreenSolar.com.