Saturday, February 17, 2024

How To Care For Solar Panels

Can Solar Panels Withstand Hurricanes

Winter Caring Tips for Off Grid Solar Components

If youre thinking about going solar or have already done so, you may be wondering how solar panels will fare in less-than-fair weather especially if you live in a region vulnerable to hurricanes and hailstorms.

Good news: Solar panels are much more durable than you may think.

In fact, a look back at some of our nations most catastrophic storms in recent history illustrates this point well.

New Jersey has one of the highest concentrations of single-family homes with solar panels in the country. So, when Hurricane Sandy barreled toward the Jersey Shore in 2012, thousands of solar customers in the area understandably prepared for the worst.

Although this region saw devastation on an unprecedented scale, most of the states solar panels were unaffected – only a very small number of solar panels sustained damage.

Most solar panels even withstood the havoc Hurricane Maria caused in Puerto Rico in 2017. The massive storm slammed into the island with winds exceeding 150 miles per hour.

But when it was all over, a veterans affairs hospital with a large 645-kW solar system was left operating at 100 percent in San Juan, one of the most heavily affected areas.

As you might imagine, wind, rain and hail are typically the biggest concerns when it comes to damage during a hurricane. Lets take a deeper dive into these three weather phenomena to see how each one affects solar panels.

What To Know About Solar Panel Warranties

Solar panels come with warranties in which the manufacturer guarantees that your panels will last for a certain number of years. Warranties often last between 10 and 20 years, but some are as long as 25 years. First, these warranties guarantee that your solar panels won’t fall below a certain performance level. They also cover unexpected damage to your solar panels from storms and other causes outside of your control.

It’s important to note, however, that your solar panel warranty may stipulate that your panels are only covered if they are properly maintained. For example, if you don’t clean your solar panels regularly and built-up debris cuts their useful life short, then your warranty may not cover it.

What To Do About Dirty Solar Panels

Most times, nothing.

Dont stay up at night worrying about dirt on your panels cutting down on the amount of electricity.

Its not a problem, Trust me on this.

No matter what kind of solar panels you have glass panels mounted in frames or flexible panels affixed directly to the roof surface experts say you dont need to get do much to keep them clean.

In fact, the available research on static panels in heavily urbanized areas indicates that dirt only cuts down on yield about 3-5%, and that study was done in rain-deprived southern California where they go months with no cleansing showers.

Read Also: Is Financing Solar Panels Worth It

What Does This Mean For The Amount Of Energy My Solar System Produces

Sure, when your panels are covered with snow, they wont be able to produce solar energy. But losing out on a day or so of production isnt worth risking your warranty or safety.

Your solar panels actually work better when its cold than when its warm. Like a lot of electronics, solar systems have a negative temperature coefficient. This means they experience less resistance and can generate more electricity in colder weather. The only reason your system output is less in the winter is because days are shorter.

Hiring A Professional Solar Panel Cleaner

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If you are not an expert, do not try to clean solar panels by climbing the roof. Hire a professional from the industry to make sure you dont damage your panels. Please make sure you check with your solar panel manufacturer to confirm they are safe to be cleaned.Instead of cleaning the solar panels yourself, you can hire a professional. The price will vary depending on the size of your solar PV system and where the panels are installed.

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Why Should I Clean My Solar Panels

We know that dust, dirt, pollen, bird droppings, and other debris can negatively affect solar panel efficiency.

Google conducted a groundbreaking experiment at their 1.6 MW solar farm in Mountain View, California. They found that cleaning the solar panels was the number one way to maximize the energy they produce. Cleaning solar panels that had been in operation for 15 months doubled their output of electricity.

Google concluded that for flat solar panels, relying on rain alone is not an adequate way of cleaning solar panels.

A Cleaning Solar Panels & Removing Debris

  • Leaf blower
  • Low-pressure hosepipe

How to clean solar panels

  • Firstly, read the manufacturers instructions on how to switch off the solar panel system. Switch off the system to avoid short-circuiting or damage to the electrical system.
  • Use the broom to remove any debris from the solar panels. You can also pick them if they are within reach.
  • Spray water on the solar panels after removing any debris. It is advisable to use lukewarm and soft water. Excessively cold water can damage the cells, while hard water forms white residues, which reduce the systems output.
  • Use the non-abrasive sponge to clean the solar panels for ground-mounted solar panels. You can use a sponge with a handle for roof-mounted solar panels.
  • Essential tips in cleaning solar panels

    • Avoid the use of hot or excessive cold water.
    • Do not use abrasive brushes or scouring sponge.
    • Do not use detergents on solar panels.
    • Hard water can leave deposits on solar panels, thus reducing efficiency.

    Read Also: How Much Power Does A 100 Watt Solar Panel Produce

    Cleaning Solar Panels Is Worth The Effort

    Cleaning solar panels is not really that much different than cleaning a typical window. It is not very time-consuming either. In return, you could see a big boost in your system performance, and big cash savings on your electric bills.

    In other words, neglecting to clean your solar panels is like throwing money out of the window.

    If you dont want to clean the panels yourself, solar panel cleaning services are available for those out there that are willing to spend the extra buck.

    Check The Batteries For Corrosion

    How to Maintain Solar Panels : Solar Panels

    If your batteries do not seem to be charging fully or your solar outdoor lights are not functioning properly, it may be due to corrosion on your batteries. You may need tools to dismantle your fixtures and access the battery housing. Once you have exposed the batteries, look for white dust on them or the housing. Light corrosion can often be removed with a soft-bristle brush. More stubborn corrosion may require fine-grit sandpaper for removal. If the batteries are too corroded to be easily cleaned, it is time to replace them.

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    How Often Do Solar Panels Need Maintenance

    As we mentioned, solar panel maintenance is fairly minimal. There are generally three different schedules to keep in mind:

    • Annual inspection: Once per year, hire a professional to inspect your solar panels and ensure they’re working properly.
    • Cleaning: In general, plan to have your solar panels cleaned about twice per year. You may only need one cleaning per year if you live in an area with lots of rain and where your solar panels don’t collect much dirt or debris. But if you live in an area where your solar panels don’t get much rain or collect lots of dirt or debris, plan for more cleanings.
    • Additional maintenance: If you notice a problem with your solar panels outside of your annual inspection, you can schedule a maintenance appointment as needed.

    How Often Do Solar Panels Require Cleaning

    Again, nature may take care of the routine cleaning for you. But keep an eye on your monthly electricity bill or monitoring app. If you see a noticeable drop in production, it might be time for a quick clean. As a general rule, cleaning your system about twice a year should be sufficient.

    If you live in the western United States where wildfires are annual occurrences, be sure to check your solar panels for ash or soot build-up after nearby fires have been safely contained. Since they are different from typical dust or animal droppings, you may want to contact a professional to find out the best way to clean them from soot build-up.

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    How Often Do Solar Panels And Systems Need Maintenance

    PV solar systems require little maintenance over their 30+-year lifespan. Most blogs and articles you read will corroborate that. Unless your solar PV system has bad parts, was installed incorrectly, or an outside factor causes damage to the system, theres little PV system maintenance needed to keep your solar system running. The same goes for solar panel maintenance. In most cases, you dont even have to worry about cleaning your panels!

    And theres a good reason for this. Unlike more complex machines – HVAC units, cars, wind turbines , solar systems have very few moving parts. Theyre remarkably simple for the work they do.

    That said, the most complex part of your system, the inverter, is what is most likely to have issues. But theres no need to fear. All leading inverter brands have warranties that should cover any issues that arise within the first 10 – 25 years. Solar batteries also come with warranties, though they are often much shorter than panels and inverters.

    One of the best ways to minimize the need for PV system maintenance is by starting off on the right foot. Partnering with an experienced, reputable solar installer should be #1 when going solar. The benefits are twofold: youre more likely to have a properly installed system with quality parts, and youre more likely to be covered by effective warranties.

    While the best installer may not be the least expensive, your future self might thank you, and it could be cheaper in the long run.

    How To Tell When My Solar Panels Need Maintenance

    How to take care of your commercial solar installation

    In most cases, your solar panel system won’t need much maintenance outside of your regular inspections and cleaning. But there are some red flags to look out for that may indicate your panels require maintenance sooner than scheduled.

    The best indicator that your solar panels need maintenance is a reduction in your energy output. If you suddenly notice that your solar panels aren’t producing as much energy as they normally do and that your electricity bill has gone up, it’s a good sign that you should schedule a service appointment.

    Bring your home up to speed with the latest on automation, security, utilities, networking and more.

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    How To Maintain Your Solar Panels

    Luckily, solar panels require minimal maintenance to ensure they keep working properly and producing solar energy for your home. The most common type of maintenance required for your panels is cleaning. Dirt and debris can collect on your panels, especially during storms or extended periods without rainfall. Occasional cleaning can remove this debris and ensure that your solar panels get the optimal amount of sunlight.

    The other type of maintenance you may wish to do for your solar panels is an annual inspection. During a solar panel inspection, a professional — often someone from your solar panel installer — will come to your home and take a look at your panels, just to make sure everything is working as it should.

    Any other maintenance appointments can simply be scheduled as needed if and when you notice a problem with your solar panels or that they aren’t producing energy as they should.

    What Are The Components Of A Solar Installation

    The main components of a grid-connected photovoltaic installation are:

    • The photovoltaic solar panels
    • The inverter or the microinverters
    • The direct current circuit breaker and protection unit
    • The alternating current circuit breaker and protection unit

    The main components of a solar thermal installation are:

    • The thermal solar panels
    • The primary and secondary circuits
    • The heat exchanger
    • The heat storage tank and hydraulic pumps
    • The expansion tank

    The main components of a hybrid solar installation are:

    • The hybrid solar panels which contain the heat exchanger
    • The support structure
    • The inverter or the microinverters
    • The direct current circuit breaker and protection unit
    • The alternating current circuit breaker and protection unit
    • The primary and secondary circuits
    • The heat storage tank and hydraulic pumps
    • The expansion tank
    • The pipes
    • The main control panel

    There are a myriad of companies which offer cleaning services for each of these solar panels.

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    Solar Panel Maintenance: The Basics Every Homeowner Should Know

    Nowadays, people are joining the wagon of sustainable practices. One of the most popular ones is using solar panels to provide renewable energy for the whole household. While purchasing solar panels can be expensive, they can be worth the investment in the long run because of the many benefits they bring.

    One of these benefits is saving electricity bills since solar panels collect energy from the sun and store it for you to use in your home. However, to maximize your investment, you should know the basics to maintain the quality of your solar panels.

    Here Are A Few Tips To Keep In Mind For Maintaining Your Solar Panels Efficiently:

    Q& A: How do I take care of my solar panels?

    1. Time-to-time inspection:

    2. Cleaning & taking care of your solar panels:

    • To maximize the effectiveness of your solar panels, firstly you need to keep them free of dust, dirt, leaves, and snow.
    • Since these panels are made of glass, you dont need to shop for specialized solar panel care or cleaning tools. You can use a soft cloth to wipe the panels.
    • Avoid using detergent-based cleansers. They can leave streaks and smudges that may decrease the light that passes through.
    • Rubbing alcohol partly mixed in water can take care of any oily residue or other stubborn dirt.

    3. Ensuring ample sunlight is available:

    Solar Rooftop System is installed in a location where they receive maximum sun exposure. However, trees & buildings can grow over the years around this location, which then affects the pattern of sun and shade. To make your solar panels to lasts longer it is very necessary to make sure that they are located with the best possible sunlight orientation.

    4. Examining the components on a regular basis:

    During cleaning, you should take a look around at all your wiring, components, and mounting rack. Check for any signs of water damage, leaks, or drainage issues around the panels.

    5. Keeping a check on energy usage:

    Report an unexpected loss in electricity production to your Solar Panel Installer. Schedule an inspection immediately.

    Also Check: Is Solar Power Environmentally Friendly

    Commercial/industrial Rooftop Solar Potential For Building Portfolio

    If you are interested in assessing solar potential for a portfolio of multiple buildings, please send the addresses by email to and City staff will provide the following:

    • detailed online site assessment for your properties
    • zoning verification and conceptual layout/system sizing and budgetary estimates
    • assistance with completing the preliminary Toronto Hydro Distributed Energy Resource Pre-Assessment Application

    The Following Four Tips Are All You Need To Know About Solar Panel Care And Cleaning

    One of the big advantages of solar energy systems is the fact that they require so little care or maintenance. With no moving parts, solar installations undergo very little degradation over time. reports that the life expectancy of solar panels has increased in recent years as the manufacturing technology has become more sophisticated. The rule of thumb used to be that panels would lose 1 percent of their effectiveness with each passing year, but that figure has now substantially decreased. Now that solar panels are being made with monocrystalline silicon, they will maintain 92 percent of their efficiency after 20 years.

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    Do Solar Panels Work When It’s Raining

    During a hurricane, its perfectly normal to worry about rain and flooding. But solar panels are waterproof and, as a result, are usually able to continue generating energy when it rains.

    Solar panels convert both direct and indirect sunlight into energy. Although theyre more effective when they receive direct sunlight, they can still produce up to 25 percent of their optimal capacity on cloudy or rainy days.

    You might even be surprised to learn that rain is actually good for solar panels. Its not unusual for them to operate more efficiently after a storm because the water washes away dust, dirt, pollen and other airborne particles that can build up on the solar panels over time.

    Remove Heavy Snow From Your Panels

    Solar Panel Cleaning

    If you live in an area that gets snow, it’s natural that some will land on your solar panels. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Light snowfall is likely to melt fairly quickly. And there may actually be some benefit to snow on your solar panels since it can clean your panels as it falls off.

    While some snow on your solar panels is fine, watch out for excess snow. Solar panels that are covered in snow simply won’t capture sunlight in the same way. Additionally, heavy snow can result in too much weight on your solar panels, putting stress on the mounting points.

    If you are going to clean snow off your solar panels, be sure to use the right tool. A rough brush or rake can damage your solar panels. Instead, use a soft snow brush that will clean the snow off without scratching the surface of your panels.

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    Clean Your Solar Panels

    Although cleaning solar panels can be a labor-intensive activity, its vital for their usability. Regularly cleaning your solar panels ensures there isnt any object blocking them. If your panels are blocked, they may not be able to receive proper insulation. And without proper insulation, you wont be able to maximize your panels energy output.

    Scheduling a regular cleanup would depend on how much dirt or debris accumulates over a certain period of time. Thus, a routine inspection is necessary so you could check whether your panels need cleaning. If they do, make sure you use a soft rag or washcloth and mild biodegradable soap for cleaning. If dust buildup is your problem, you can run water through a hosepipe on them. This way, youd avoid causing damage to the panels.

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