Solar panels are an investment, but that investment rewards you with environmentally friendly energy that will cost less in the long run compared to being tied to the grid. Due to the nature of the investment, you want to make sure that the panels remain in good condition and work well. The following maintenance tips can help with that goal.
Inspect the Panels Monthly
You can perform a quick inspection of your panels from the ground or the top of a ladder -- there is no need to actually climb up on the roof. First, verify that there is no obvious damage, such as cracks or chips. Fallen branches or other large debris on the panels will require a service call for removal and damage assessment. Pockmarks on the glass, such as from hail, will also require a service call for repair. Finally, make sure the framing still looks secure and that the panels are oriented properly to the sun. Some panels may require seasonal adjustment as the angle of the sun changes.
Remove Surface Dirt Regularly
Dust and pollen will collect on the panels, especially in the spring and summer months. Fortunately, you can clean the panels without any need to access the roof. Simply use a garden hose to spray down the panels so that the surface dirt is rinsed away. Don't use a pressure washer, though, as this can damage the glass. If it snows in your area, you may also need to remove snow in the winter. There are special long handled brushes that are designed for this purpose.
Schedule Annual Maintenance
You can prolong the service life of your panels with an annual professional inspection and maintenance call. The solar tech will first inspect the panels. They will make sure the glass is in good condition and that the electrical components aren't damaged or loose. Any damages will be repaired. The mounting hardware will also be checked and adjusted as needed. Adjustments may also be made to fine tune the orientation of the panels to the sun.
Deep Clean Once a Year
It's a good idea to schedule a professional cleaning at the same time as the annual maintenance visit. Some types of dirt, like bird droppings, are difficult to remove on your own -- especially if you don't want to climb around on your roof. The solar tech will use a quality glass cleaner and non-abrasive pads to remove any stubborn dirt and debris from the panels.
Contact a solar service for more help with maintaining your solar panels.