Thursday, September 22, 2022

How Much Maintenance Do Solar Panels Need

How Much Does Solar Power Maintenance Cost

How much maintenance does a solar power system require?

Solar panel maintenance costs can vary greatly depending on each solar provider because system installations are often tailored to the unique energy needs of each homeowner.

Sunruns BrightSave MonthlyTM and BrightSave PrepaidTM plans include worry-free professional maintenance and monitoring for two decades. However, if youre looking to purchase your own solar system, our BrightBuyTM or BrightAdvantageTM plans also have your back by letting you receive the equipment warranties directly from top manufacturers in the industry.

And if you have more questions about which maintenance routine your future solar system will need, our team of advisors is ready to discuss your energy needs and help you find the ideal solar solution for your home. Start with a complimentary solar quote today!

David Zeledon

The Optimal Period To Clean Solar Panels

There is no optimal period to clean ones solar panels. However, the end of winter seems to be a more favorable time to clean them because the sun returns and output levels are on the rise.

Bear in mind that your solar installer may be very busy during this time since it is also the ideal period to perform installations. So expect a rapid intervention on his part.

Lastly, there is no specific time of day to clean your solar panels either. Nevertheless, to avoid interfering with the solar output, you may want to opt for dawn or dusk when the panels are less warm.

Hybrid Solar Panel Cleaning And Maintenance

The distinguishing feature of hybrid solar panels is that they combine two systems in one: photovoltaic panels on the front and thermal panels on the back, towards the roof.

Hybrid solar panels are cleaned in the exact same way as a photovoltaic or thermal panel, meaning with soft, lukewarm water and a non-abrasive sponge.

As far as of the photovoltaic side is concerned, this procedure is identical to that of a classic panel, which consists of verifying the cables, the production housing, and the solar inverter.

Maintenance of the thermal side is similar to that of a thermal solar installation. The difference is that solar hybrid panels such as DualSun do not overheat. This advantageous feature preserves the heat transfer fluid as well as the panel components for a longer period of time, rendering it unnecessary to replace components and therefore drastically reducing maintenance costs.

Please note that a solar panel maintenance guide is made available to anyone who wishes to install a DualSun hybrid installation.

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Do Solar Panelsneed Servicing

Youmay not be the DIY kind of homeowner, and even if you are, cleaning,monitoring, and maintaining solar panels may not be your thing. No need toworry, there are services and equipment that can do the dirty work for you.Some homeowners also purchase maintenance and cleaning agreements, whichlessens the annual fee.

Youshould also schedule annual inspections with a qualified technician who willcheck for:

  • Overall efficiency andperformance
  • Visual examination of modulesfor fractures, corrosion, and moisture penetration
  • Check the mounting system
  • Looks at the cabling thatmeasures voltage levels and checks if inverters are damaged
  • Check cable connections, the integrityof seals, functionality, and alignment

If you didnt purchase an agreement and elect to pay separately for servicing, the average cost of an annual inspection of rooftop panels can cost $150 but typically run between $150 to $300. Any solar panel repair work will increase that cost to an average of $650 to $750.

Types Of Solar Panel Maintenance

How Much Do Solar Panels Raise Home Value?

Due to the risk of personal injury and damage to your rooftop, solar panel maintenance should not be a DIY job. Ideally, hiring an inspector a couple times a year is the best way to keep your panels in optimal condition. A professional inspection and maintenance service should include:

  • Making Sure Panels Are Properly Secured
  • Clearing Debris From Panels & Vents
  • Checking For Weather Damage
  • Testing The Systems Performance
  • Inspecting The Inverter
  • Ensuring Wiring Meets Safety Standards & Has Not Deteriorated
  • Making Sure Isolator Switches Are Easily Accessible
  • Performing An Electrical Fault Check

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What Is A Feed

The Feed-in Tariff scheme, was introduced by the Government in April 2010 and finished in March 2019. It was designed to help generate more renewable energy across the UK. Under the FiT scheme, the owner of an approved solar power system will get paid for all the electricity the solar panels produce. The is managed on behalf of Ofgem by a designated FiT Administrator.

How Can I Tell If My Solar System Needs Maintenance

If you expect something is wrong with your solar system and may need PV system maintenance, a good place to start is to see what your system is producing. How can you tell if your solar system is producing what it should? Either through checking your solar system monitoring software or analyzing your electricity bill.

If your installer set you up with system monitoring, you should be able to view historic production data. If you have a feeling something with your system is wrong, take a look at how much your system was producing that month in previous years and compare it to what its producing now.

While solar panel degradation and changes in the weather may have an effect on output, large discrepancies could point to something being wrong. Some monitoring software even shows how much each panel is producing, helping your solar contractor see where the issue lies.

Watch this video to see what solar system monitoring software looks like and how to navigate it.

Dont have access to a solar system monitoring system? You may be able to tell if something is wrong by taking a look at your electricity bill. Many utilities break out how much electricity you used each month and how much you drew from the grid. If you purchased a lot more electricity from the grid one month than you normally do, its possible your solar system is producing less electricity due to an issue.

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Keeping Solar Panels Un

Shading is the biggest enemy which prevents a solar panel from being able to do its job and absorb sunlight. Many times, an initial location on your roof may be deemed proper for a solar panel installation, but over time that same location can become shaded as nearby nature grows.

Partial shading on just a few solar cells can cause a dramatic reduction of power output. Multiply this loss of output from tree limbs by 5+ hours of sunlight per day, 30 days per month, 12 months per year, and its easy to see that theres a compounding effect.

MAINTENANCE TIP: Site your solar panel installation where there will be no regular shading. Check growing tree limbs each month, and prune as needed in order to maximize your solar investment.

How Often Should I Clean My Solar Panels

Do Solar Systems Require Maintenance?

Having an official solar panel maintenance schedule is not necessary because theres nothing youll need to maintain other than an occasional light cleaning. The most efficient plan is simply to clean the panels as needed. How often you will need to clean your solar panels depends on your climate region and the specific area you live in. But, generally, late spring or during the summer is recommended after pollen has settled.

Additionally, check your solar power monitoring system routinely. It will indicate when your panels are underperforming. When that occurs, the first thing to check is the cleanliness of the panel surfaces to see if they need cleaning in order to receive enough sunlight to produce at your normal rates.

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How To Repair Or Replace Solar Panels

If your panels need to be repaired or replaced, it’s best to hire a professional. If they’re losing efficiency and still under a performance/power output warranty, then call your solar company. They’ll send someone to assess the situation and either fix the problem or replace the panels. If your panels have sustained physical damage, that’s often covered under a separate equipment warranty, or under your homeowners’ insurance. Find out if and how your panels are covered for damage, and whom to call to file a claim. Either way, don’t attempt to install solar panels or make repairs yourself unless you’re experienced with home solar systems.

How Much Will It Cost To Install Solar Panels On Your House

America is experiencing a fast solar revolution, with over 4 million homes expected to have solar by 2023. Thats a million more homes than the total number of solar installations in 2021.

Considering that it took roughly four decades for solar panel installations in the US to cross the 1 million mark, its clear that Americans are embracing solar more than ever before.

In 2022, America will continue to install solar panels in unprecedented numbers. A colossal 44 gigawatts of utility-scale solar is expected to be produced, which is almost double the figure in 2021. Thats enough solar energy to power 18 million homes.

For homeowners installing solar panels this year, the issue of solar panel prices will be at the forefront. To help take the guesswork out of the equation, weve prepared this guide on the current cost of solar panel installation.

Generally, the cost of installing home solar panels depends on the following factors.

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Cleaning Your Solar Panels

Many homeowners are concerned about weather conditions damaging their panels or roof. Solar systems are installed in all types of climates. Whether you live somewhere with severe winters, a heavy rain season, coastal weather systems, or heat waves your solar system can and will handle it all.

Keeping your panels clear of debris or snow is crucial to ensure your panels are performing at maximum capacity. There are ways to assure your panels are putting out maximum energy production.

For debris from trees, birds, and general dust build up you can use:

  • A leaf blower
  • A simple quick rinse with a hose
  • Or even a light rain can wash away panel build up

For removing a heavy layer of snow:

  • Throw a soft football to shake the snow lose
  • Use a leaf blower
  • Use a long pole with a squeegee at the end
  • Spray your panels with lukewarm water

If it is a light layer of snow, it will likely slide off, cleaning your panels in the process

When cleaning your panels NEVER:

  • Spray hot water on cold panels
  • Use RainX
  • Use car wax
  • Rock salt

Our Solar Maintenance Service Plans

How Much do Solar Panels Actually Cost?

One of the best things about this service is that you choose when you want your solar panels looked at. We dont ask our customers to sign up to any pre-paid service plans or routine maintenance plans instead giving you the freedom to book an appointment when required.

For those of you whod prefer the assurance planned maintenance service, we do have that available too.

While its not compulsory, wed generally advise opting for preventative maintenance if you can. In the long run, its usually a lot cheaper than relying purely on reactive callouts, as regular checks can help us to identify and deal with emerging faults before they develop into serious problems, which might be a lot more costly and complicated to fix.

To book your Solar PV Maintenance check, just fill out our online form and well sort out an appointment as soon as possible.

If youre looking for other ways to make the most of your solar panels, why not consider battery storage? By storing the excess electricity generated from the panels by day, youll benefit from greater energy independence as youre able to use stored electricity for free at night. Battery storage is also ideal for those regions that suffer from electricity blackouts ensuring you dont have to go without.

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Cleaning Kits And Diy Costs For Solar Panels

You can also purchase solar panelcleaning kits, which comes with biodegradable soap, a wiper, and brushes . Some come with several extension poles, cleaningcloths, hose interconnections, and carrying bags.

The average soap costs $30-$50 andwater-fed brushes, $80-$175. If youre considering an extended pole or water-feedingpole, they cost between $500-$5,000, depending on the length,flexibility, if it has adjustable necks, interchangeable brushes, , and accessories such as spray jets. For example:

  • 16 aluminum poles $300
  • 30 carbon fiber poles $1,000
  • 45 carbon fiber poles $2000

This broom handles cleanswithout scratching and has a 27-46 telescoping handle.

Solar Panel Warranties: Protection If Something Goes Wrong

Solar panel manufacturers provide a range of warranties that guarantee you will have support and coverage in the unlikely event of an issue, such as hail or falling tree branches. Power output warranties guarantee that panel performance wont fall below a specified level over the term of the warranty . For instance, a manufacturer might provide a warranty to guarantee that peak power output wont fall below 85 percent for 25 years.

Some manufacturers will also include an additional warranty that promises a higher output level over a shorter period of time. As an example, a secondary warranty might guarantee no less than 90 percent of initial power output for the first 10 years.

Panels typically come with a workmanship warranty that protects consumers against defective panel parts, generally for the first five years of operation. Solar inverters also come with warranties, usually for 10 years. In many cases, these warranties mean that youll pay little to no solar panel maintenance costs over the lifetime of your system.

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Common Causes Of Solar System Damage

While we will say solar systems typically require little maintenance, things happen. Here are a few of the most common ones.

Damaged Solar Panels

A sturdy layer of tempered glass protects each panel. This glass can take a serious beating before breaking. According to manufacturer testing, most solar panels can withstand impact from hail up to an inch in diameter falling at about 50 miles per hour .

That said, damaged panels can happen in extremely severe weather and by freak accidents.

Arc Faults

Arc faults happen when there is a high power discharge of electricity between conductors, which can give off heat. This heat can break down the wire, which might start an electrical fire.

Because none of that sounds good, inverters are equipped with arc fault protection. If the inverter senses anything that may be an arc fault, it shuts down to prevent things from getting out of hand and causing damage to your system or property – this is called fault mode.

Depending on your inverter, you might see an error message on the display to indicate your inverter is in fault mode.

GFCI

GFCIs also has to do with inverters. In the event that an electrical current finds a path to the ground, it will trigger a ground fault alert. To keep everything safe, an inverter will shut down when this happens.

GFCIs can be caused by an excessive amount of moisture in the junction box, broken panels, or damaged wiring .

Cost Of Solar Panel Maintenance

Do I need to maintain my solar panels?

For the cleaning and inspection of a 10-panel 2 kW system on a one-story home, expect to pay $150 to $370 in labor and $150 to $330 in materials, for a total cost of $300 to $700. Maintenance is completed by a solar panel company technician. These systems typically require very little maintenance. Every two to three years, they should be inspected. Some warranties require frequent maintenance, while others require twice-a-year inspections. The cleaning and inspection of the units need to be completed regularly. During the maintenance, the technician will inspect all components to make sure they are all functioning efficiently. Other maintenance that may be required when needed includes replacing or fixing glass.

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Three Questions Everyone Asks

1. Are my solar panels generating as much energy as they should?

If weve installed your solar panels recently, youll see how much energy youre generating on our app. But other, older systems dont give you that instant feedback, which means youll have to keep an eye on your generation meter instead it should be by your fuse board.

Exactly how much electricity your solar panels generate depends on how many panels you have, the direction theyre facing and whether theyre shaded by trees or buildings.

If you can find your MCS certificate youll see an estimated annual generation figure. If your yearly generation figure falls a long way below that, you might have a problem somewhere in your system.

Insider tip: Check your generation meter readings every quarter, and especially in the spring. If theres a problem, youll want to know about it before the sunny summer months, as thats when youll generate most energy.

2. How do I clean my solar panels?

You shouldnt need to. Theyre designed to be self-cleaning. And anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you something you might not need.

If your solar panels really need cleaning, youll probably be able to see whats causing the problem like lots of bird droppings or fallen leaves which could make the panels less efficient. If so, there are some specialist cleaners that can help. If you get in touch with them directly, theyll quote for the cost of cleaning your solar panels.

3. Can I use solar energy at night?

What Does Pv Solar System Maintenance Cost

Waiting for the call to hear how much a repair is going to cost can be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of your day or week. Weve been there.

The bad news is that the cost of a repair to your solar system varies widely. The good news is if you buy quality parts and partner with an installer willing to stand behind their work, it wont matter.

If something goes wrong with a piece of equipment, you may be covered. Manufacturer warranties cover solar panels, inverters, batteries, racking for a specified period of time.

Depending on which solar installer you go with, you may also be backed by a solar installer guarantee. These guarantees are in addition to the manufacturer’s warranties and have to do with the actual design and install of your system. At Paradise Energy, our Triple Ten Guarantee protects your system above and beyond the manufacturer warranties of your equipment, keeping your panels working.

One other maintenance cost to consider is what it would cost to remove and reinstall your panels should your roof need to be repaired. This could cost homeowners $3,000 to $10,000 depending on the system size, site conditions, and the full scope of required work. Businesses could spend $20,000+.

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