Home Solar Panel Maintenance Tips
Dont solar panels need a lot of maintenance?
Precis Solar gets this question from homeowners regularly, and its understandable given that no one wants to worry about climbing up on a roof to care for their solar panels.
Solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity, so the cleaner your panels are, the more efficiently theyll be able to generate clean energy for your home or business.
Since SunPowers panels are the most efficient on the market theyll make more energy than competing panels in a variety of low-light situations, but any panels covered with too much dirt or debris will produce less power.
In most cases, the loss of power isnt significant maybe 1 to 4.7 percent. But one study found that long-term dirt buildup can reduce a solar panels electricity production by as much as 20 percent.
Is Cleaning Solar Panels Worth It
Some feel that cleaning solar panels is far too much trouble to even consider, but this causes the efficiency level to drop as more and more dirt accumulates on the surface of the panels. It could drop a few percentages, or by a massive amount, over the course of several years.
Solar panels are created with a protective layer on them that keeps them protected from bad weather. Over the course of several years, the accumulation of dust and other materials will reduce the overall efficiency. For a typical 5kW solar system in a residential dwelling, yearly cleaning would only result in a few pounds worth of electricity production being gained.
Dust gathering on solar panels does make a difference in terms of performance, but in some locations, it is not a large enough factor to warrant cleaning. If the decline in power output is only small, and the power consumption of the household is still covered by the panels, then the cleaning might not be worth the further investment.
For the larger commercial rooftop system, the financial losses are bigger if the solar panels do not perform at optimal levels. However, it is still enough to warrant the cost of washing the panels, especially as it does not tend to happen too often.
If you invest in a cleaning company to wash and tidy your solar panels, there is no return on your investment. So the cost of cleaning tends to be more than the results that are produced.
Dont Be Fooled By The Cool
You may may have heard people claim when they clean their panels it improves output by 10% or more. And they may be right. Some people live in filthy, filthy places. But it is easy to be fooled into thinking that cleaning panels has a greater effect than it does.
Firstly, cleaning panels will cool them down and cause them to operate more efficiently. If someone cleans hot panels when and immediately checks their performance and sees it has increased by 10%, that could be entirely due to the fact they are now 40 degrees cooler.
And even if you arent fooled by the cool and do get a significant, real improvement in performance, as soon as they have been cleaned those panels are going to start getting dirty again, so the average increase in performance from cleaning will be considerably less than the immediate increase that results.
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The Benefits Of Using Solar Power
The use of solar energy in the United States is accelerating. By 2030, 13.4% of American homes will rely on solar power , and studies have shown that houses with photovoltaic panels can reap higher sale prices.¹As our lives become more connected and the devices on which we rely require more and more electricity, homeowners are looking for better ways to be sustainable, resilient and economic. Solar power, coupled with the latest generation of solar batteries and app-based monitoring systems, can deliver just that, providing reduced utility bills and backup power during outages.
Enter SunPower: one of the solar industrys most trusted brands thanks to more than 35 years of experience, culminating in technologies like the Maxeon solar cell, which forms the basis for the SunPower Equinox system and the SunVault battery. At SunPower, we are leading the industry with the most efficient, durable solar panels on the market, explains Jensen Chapman, SunPower regional sales manager. Now with our proprietary technology, we have created the all-in-one integrated system. And were the only solar company thats been around longer than our own 25-year warranty.
Sunpower Solar Panels: The Complete Review
SunPower solar panels are one of the most frequently requested solar panel brands on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, and for good reason. SunPower panels are often the most efficient products on the market today, and they offer an industry-leading warranty. For many years, SunPower has been a fully-integrated solar shop: manufacturing solar cells & panels, and then offering sales and installation services for residential and commercial applications as well. Recently, SunPower announced that theyre spinning off their manufacturing arm into a new companyMaxeonto focus on installing solar panels.
This is an unbiased review: EnergySage is not paid to review brands or products, nor do we earn money from affiliate advertising in this article. The content of this blog is based on research and information available at the time of writing. Learn more about our mission and how we make money as a company.
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Why Should I Clean My Solar Panels
Cleaning a dirty solar system can boost performance by upwards of 30%. The frequency of cleaning your panels is dependent on your geographical and ecological surroundings. For example, rainy areas generally require far less cleaning than drier climates. Construction dust as well as ash from fires may require more frequent cleaning.
Solar Basics: How Do Solar Panels Work
Solar energy works by capturing the suns energy and quietly and effectively turning it into electricity for your home or business.
Our sun is a natural nuclear reactor. It releases tiny packets of energy called photons, which travel the 149.6 million kilometres from the sun to Earth in about 8.5 minutes. Every hour, enough photons impact our planet to generate enough solar energy to theoretically satisfy global energy needs for an entire year.
Solar doesnt generate electricity all the time, but it does generate electricity when it is needed most. This includes during the daytime and during hot sunny periods when demand for electricity is at its highest.
Australia is one of the sunniest countries in the world and is the perfect place for the sun to be put to work, especially during these peak times.
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The Sunpower Range Of Panels
While the renowned Maxeon series panels are some of the worlds best-performing panels, the more cost-effective Performance series from SunPower offers a diverse range of panels for residential, commercial and utility-scale solar installations. The new Maxeon 2 and 3 series panels replaced the previous E and X series which used the same high-efficiency IBC cells to compete in the premium end of the market. The price-competitive performance or P-series panels uses the unique overlapping shingle cell design and complete more in the commercial market. It is worth noting that many of the Maxeon 5 and Performance series panels are also available as AC panels with integrated micro inverters from Enphase Energy.
Maxeon 3 – 400W
Maxeon 5 Series – 390W to 415W
Performance Series – 370W to 500W
Soft Cloth And Mild Soap
To prevent the panel from being scratched, use a soft cloth or brush on its surface. You dont need any other fancy tools to clean your solar panels at home. Any old fabric that is soft or does not have any abrasive elements is good enough to use.
You can also use a squeegees plastic blade to help clean your solar panels surface more smoothly. However, a soft fabric that does not leave behind any material on the surface is also an excellent choice for cleaning the solar panels.
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What Should I Use To Clean My Solar Panels
Fortunately, cleaning solar panels is easy for ground-mounted systems and for some rooftop solar systems on a typical one-story house. People commonly use a hose and a soft-bristle brush with an extended handle, like the type used to clean off an RV or truck. Water is usually enough, fingerprints, stains, or accumulations of dirt on the glass may be removed with overthecounter glass cleaners, or with a 3% soapandwater solution.
If the panels are hard to access, high-pressure hose nozzle with an attachment that holds the cleaning solution may work. These can be found at a local home maintenance store. Find a safe place to stand, spray soapy water on the panels and then thoroughly rinse them off. It’s really that simple.
Before you decide to wash the panels on your own, you should see what’s covered by your solar service provider. With many leases, the cleaning is free of charge, and if you own, you need to make sure to you don’t use tools or cleaning practices that void your warranty.
What Does A Solar Inverter Do
A solar inverter takes the DC electricity from the solar array and uses that to create AC electricity. Inverters are like the brains of the system. Along with inverting DC to AC power, they also provide ground fault protection and system stats, including voltage and current on AC and DC circuits, energy production and maximum power point tracking.
Central inverters have dominated the solar industry since the beginning. The introduction of micro-inverters is one of the biggest technology shifts in the PV industry. Micro-inverters optimise for each individual solar panel, not for an entire solar system, as central inverters do. This enables every solar panel to perform at maximum potential. When a central inverter is used, having a problem on one solar panel can drag down the performance of the entire solar array. Another option to consider is using micro-inverters on each of the panels. If one solar panel has an issue, the rest of the solar array still performs efficiently.
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How To Clean Your Own Panels
Cleaning your solar panels is actually very easy. Here are a few steps to get you started:
1. First, check with your solar panel manufacturer before you actually clean anything. They may have specific instructions on how to clean them.
2. Get up early or wait until close to dusk to clean the panels. If you wait until it is mid-day/afternoon when the system has been running a while, water droplets will evaporate and cause streaks, which can affect how well your panels continue working.
3. Try to simply hose off your panels first. Sometimes just the water will be enough to knock the layer of dirt off.
4. If not, then use a bucket of soapy water and a soft rag or sponge. Use a mild detergent and be careful how you scrub so you don’t scratch up the glass.
Cleaning a roof system can be trickier. First determine what kind of system you have: is it just a few panels or is your entire roof covered? Do you have a flat enough roof to stand safely on? Or does it sharply slant? If you only have a few panels installed and your roof is relatively flat, then you could probably clean the panels the same way described above.
If it’s the latter though, or you don’t feel comfortable getting on your roof, then we suggest being safe and calling in a professional.
If you do plan on getting on your roof, this video suggests getting a pair of skater shoes like Vans. The bottoms are built to grip a skateboard, which is similar to a lot of rooftops.
Homemade Solar Panel Cleaning Solutions
There are many solutions you can use to clean your panel system. But the easiest ways are by using an air-hose system or just hosing them down with water. If a little more elbow grease is needed, a bucket of soapy water will usually do the trick. But if that doesn’t work or there’s greasy spots, a non-abrasive solution will work too.
Here is a green one that doesn’t involve any chemicals.
1/2 teaspoon liquid non-abrasive soap or detergent
2 cups of water in a spray bottle
Drier regions will need to adjust the rations.
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How Do Solar Panels Work
When photons hit a solar cell, they knock electrons loose from their atoms. If conductors are attached to the positive and negative sides of a cell, it forms an electrical circuit. When electrons flow through such a circuit, they generate electricity. Multiple cells make up a solar panel, and multiple panels can be wired together to form a solar array. The more panels you can deploy, the more energy you can expect to generate.
How Does A Solar Panel System Work
Heres an example of how a home solar energy installation works. First, sunlight hits a solar panel on the roof. The panels convert the energy to DC current, which flows to an inverter. The inverter converts the electricity from DC to AC, which you can then use to power your home. Its beautifully simple and clean, and its getting more efficient and affordable all the time.
However, what happens if youre not home to use the electricity your solar panels are generating every sunny day? And what happens at night when your solar system is not generating power in real time? Dont worry, you may also be able to benefit from system called feed in tariffs depending on your state and energy retailer.
A typical grid-tied PV system, during peak daylight hours, frequently produces more energy than one customer needs, so that excess energy is fed back into the grid for use elsewhere. The customer gets credit for the excess energy produced, and can use that credit to draw from the conventional grid at night or on cloudy days. A feed in tariff is the rate at which you effectively sell your solar-produced power back into the grid.
By installing solar, youve made the easy decision to save money and help save the environment by switching to clean, renewable energy. Read more about solar savings here.
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Maintain Your New Solar System With Green Convergence
A SunPower system is a great investment. Once you begin saving with solar, you dont need to worry about constant maintenance with SunPowers 25-year warranty – even though overtime we do recommend keeping your panels clean to maximize your highest performance. Investing in a house comes with certain upkeep costs, investing in a car has certain maintenance costs, and investing in a solar system naturally comes with certain polishing procedures.
Don’t lose out on efficiency.
Why Use Infinity Energy Services
We provide a first-class service, using the highest quality products to install on your home and to help provide efficient energy and cost saving products that will help create a cleaner environment at a lower cost.
- One of the 10 approved UK suppliers of SunPower solar panels
- Comprehensive after-sales service
- Provide a free, no-obligation quote
- Approved installation of solar panels across the South Coast
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Latest Solar Pv Cell Technologies
Most panel manufacturers offer a range of models including standard entry-level options and more advanced high-efficiency varieties featuring new technologies like high-density or overlapping cells, micro-wire busbars and
HJT – Heterojunction cells
Gapless Cells – High-density cell construction
PERC – Passivated Emitter Rear Cells
Multi Busbar – Multi ribbon and micro-wire busbars
Split cells – half-cut and 1/3 cut cells
Shingled Cells – Multiple overlapping cells
IBC – Interdigitated Back Contact cells
TOPCon – Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact
These innovations and more explained in detail below offer various efficiency improvements, shade tolerance and increased reliability, with many manufacturers offering up to 25-year product warranties, and 25 to 30-year performance warranties. However, with all the new panel varieties available it is worth doing some research before you invest in a solar installation. In our quality solar panel review article, we explain how to select a reliable solar panel and further highlight the best quality manufacturers on the market.
Home Solar Panel Maintenance Is Easy
Solar panels make more energy by maximizing the amount of sunlight collected. When panels are covered by dust or debris, they may not produce as much electricity.
SunPower Equinox home solar systems are more efficient, producing more energy even when theyre dirty or in the shade.
Our home solar systems dont need much upkeep. Seasonal rains can wash off dirt, pollen, dust and other debris. If you reside in a dry, windy, location or there are trees nearby, your solar panels will need cleaning once in a while.
When the days begin to get longer in the spring, its important to give your panels a regular cleaning, to help your panels make more energy during peak production times.
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To Complement Your Sunpower Solar Pv System We Can Design A Battery Storage Solution
Most solar panels systems generate more electricity than you can use at any given moment. The upshot? A considerable amount of precious solar energy is lost to the grid.
The way around this problem is to install battery storage, such as the Tesla Powerwall. Advantages include:
- Capture surplus solar energy
- Provide electricity in a power-cut
- Store cheap, off-peak electricity
- Charge your electric car from the sun even when the sun isnt shining
Call 0800 909 8882 for a no-obligation quotation today from Infinity Energy Services, a Tesla authorised reseller and certified installer.