Solar-powered homes are gaining a lot of popularity in the past few years among homeowners all across the world. With solar power abundantly available and made easily possible to set up, the usage of solar panels is increasing exponentially.
According to the Ministry Of New & Renewable Energy, India stands 4th in solar PV deployment across the globe as of the end of 2021. Solar power installed capacity has reached around 61.97 GW as of 30th November 2022. Presently, solar tariff in India is very competitive and has achieved grid parity.
With the increasing usage of solar energy, there have been many questions concerning solar panel maintenance. Like any other electrical device, cleaning and maintenance of solar panels are crucial to getting the most efficiency and durability from the solar energy system.
Although solar panels are incredibly durable can easily last for 20-25 years, adequate maintenance is essential. Every homeowner with a solar panel setup should be aware of this.
In this article, we will discuss everything a homeowner needs to know about the maintenance of solar panels to get the utmost efficiency and performance from the setup.
1) Cleaning your solar panels
Solar panel cleaning is important to maximize energy output. When dirt, debris and dust settle on the panel surface, it will not receive the optimum amount of sunlight which leads to a reduction in energy generation.
To ensure your panels are performing at maximum capacity, homeowners need to regularly get their solar panels cleaned.
Cleaning the glass or the surface of the solar panels is an easy process that can be carried out frequently based on how much debris gets accumulated. Using a microfibre cloth, soft cloth, wash rag, and biodegradable soap, the glass or surface can be wiped and cleaned directly.
While this is an easy task, it can be very tedious and time-consuming. If required, one can also hire professionals to clean the solar panels.
2) Monitor the health of solar panels
In order to improve the efficiency of any device, it is important that one should understand its performance and health. Since solar systems have multiple devices and equipment working together, it is very important to have all of them properly functioning and delivering the highest output.
Solar companies recommend monitoring the performance of solar panels through daily, monthly, quarterly, and annual checks. This not only provides an insight into the functioning but also provides real-time feedback on the performance.
Daily check should involve monitoring the inverter display to ensure that it is working correctly and there are no problems.
Monthly & quarterly checks should involve checking the cleanliness of the panels for accumulation of any dust and debris under & around the PV array.
Annual checkups should include a complete, comprehensive checkup of the system for voltage strings, hardware condition, lid seals, etc. This will have to be done by professionals.
Having an active and well-monitored system provides a good view of the system and lets homeowners maintain the health of their solar energy system.
3) Diagnosis and tests to troubleshoot issues
While solar panels are made to be durable and perform consistently, there might be issues that affect their overall performance and efficiency such as malfunctioning, leaks, wiring defects, hardware failures, etc.
In many cases, the malfunctioning or performance issues cannot be noticeably experienced by the homeowners, but the issues will be downsizing the performance of the complete system.
Proper diagnosis of the panel, wiring and assembly will provide a clear view of the solar system and its functioning. This will in turn help the engineers and technicians troubleshoot the problem and optimize the performance.
4) Critical and non-critical repairs of the panel
Solar systems are made to function for long durations. Because there are no moving parts or complex mechanical parts involved, there is very low chance of failure.
However, along with the proper setup and periodic maintenance of solar systems, systems, homeowners will need to get repairs done when there is any occurrence of damages. So it is imperative that homeowners should properly handle the equipment and be careful around the panels as they are expensive to replace or repair in some cases.
The repair will have to be done by a technician or an engineer and one must also check the warranty coverage to better understand the same. Once the damage is analyzed, based on the results, the issues will be repaired.
5) Solar panel warranty
Solar panel warranties are a crucial component of any solar installation and protect your solar investment. To ensure you obtain the best deal for your solar energy system, it's crucial to understand the distinctions between the various warranties that keep your panels covered as well as which systems have the best warranties.
A solar panel has two warranties: a performance and equipment guarantee. A solar panel’s performance warranty will typically guarantee 90% production at 10 years and 80% at 25 years. An equipment warranty will typically guarantee 10-12 years without failing. A solar panel’s product warranty insurance covers the integrity of the panel itself and protects you against problems such as manufacturing defects, environmental issues, premature wear and tear, etc.
Maintenance of solar panels is easy and inexpensive. While in most cases, homeowners will just need to clean the solar panels on a monthly or quarterly basis, it is important to understand all the maintenance activities and perform them as it is intended to get the most out of them.
Some of the maintenance services involved in solar systems include:
Carrying out visual inspections
Checking on PV system operations
Troubleshooting with corrective actions
Monitoring and managing the system on a continuous basis
With the right implementation, a solar energy setup can be very rewarding in the long run providing homeowners with a great, renewable energy source that can power their homes for years to come.
Solar panel maintenance is essential to get the best outcome and results not only in the short term but also in the long run by increasing the durability of both the hardware and the system.
Speak with our expert if you’d like to understand more about setting up a solar system for your home.