Maintaining your solar panels properly allows them to extend their lifespan as well as their profitability. Reliable and secure, solar panels are arguably one of the best installations around and do not require heavy maintenance. However, some maintenance operations need to be carried out occasionally in order to prevent any anomaly and ensure the correct operation of the modules and system security. When and how to perform this maintenance is subject to various factors.
DSSPak.pk offers you in this article to learn more about the maintenance of your solar panels and everything you need to know to improve their lifespan.
Why maintain your solar panels? The important role of maintenance in performance.
For a long period of time, it was common to think that the rain alone was enough to clean the modules and keep the system functioning properly during its lifetime. However, the latest studies point out that this preconception is wrong. Indeed, the first unmaintained photovoltaic installations suffered a significant drop in yield. This is mainly due to the accumulation of dust and dirt which interferes with the proper functioning of the system. To ensure that your panels keep performing well, frequent maintenance is necessary.
When should you clean your solar panels?
There is no clear answer to this question. In fact, the frequency of cleaning the modules is very variable. Several parameters go into this equation;
The inclination of the roof where the modules are installed
Two cases are to be taken into consideration:
- For more than 15 ° tilt, the climate should be able to support most dust deposits. If the environment is not too aggressive and does not generate too much dirt, rain and wind are your allies. Cleaning becomes imperative if the modules are soiled.
- For a lower slope and a low-pollution environment, cleaning every 2-4 years should be sufficient. The layout of the panels affects the frequency. For example, solar shading facades on several levels require more maintenance since some levels are less accessible to wind and rain and are therefore less “cleaned”.
A significant number of birds, proximity to a dense rail network or to agricultural/industrial areas can impact the quantity and quality of dirt on solar panels. It is always advisable to monitor the condition of your roof during the first two years to have a good indicator of the optimal cleaning frequency for you and your installation.
The snow level in the area, the climate of the area, and the surrounding greenery are other factors that influence the frequency of panel cleaning. It is generally advisable to do it annually. Calling on an expert to advise you is your best option.
How to maintain solar panels?
Servicing and maintenance of solar panels generally begin with an annual visual inspection of the modules. It makes it possible to make a state of the installation and to get a better idea of the actions to be taken for any repairs and necessary preventions.
The purpose of this inspection is to verify:
- Modules with heavy soiling or broken by an impact
- Any de-laminations – or damage to the cell surface – which can be a source of condensation in the modules
- The presence of waste and rubbish
- Fixing the modules on the roof or structure
- The vegetation and its state around or possibly on the installation
What are the parts to maintain?
Several elements enter the upkeep and maintenance phase of photovoltaic panels.
It may seem that the modules constituting the panels are the most important elements in the maintenance phase, but it is simple and uncomplicated. It is especially important to ensure that they are well cleaned and that too many elements do not accumulate. However, during this cleaning, do not spray with cold water on days when the sun is beating to avoid thermal shocks dangerous for the cells. Too much pressure on these panels could damage them and a plastic squeegee could leave scratches on the glass. Finally, too hard water leaves white deposits that reflect light and reduce your electricity productivity.
In addition to this maintenance, the modules must be cleared of snow during cold seasons. When doing this kind of task, taking precautions is highly recommended. Indeed, the snow-covered roofs being slippery, falling, and being subjected to a fall can take place. Besides your safety, the modules can be scratched or broken by snow removal causing them to malfunction. This operation is recommended especially in regions where the amount of accumulated snow can become too great and have irreversible consequences on the assembly. However, mounts without frames and slopes greater than 30 ° are less likely to have accumulated snow.
The inverter is one of the most important parts of your photovoltaic system. It transforms the current generated by the panels into usable electricity. Its lifespan is usually 8 to 12 years before breaking down. Its lower lifespan than regular panels means that its regular maintenance makes it possible to extend its life and avoid the purchase of several inverters during the cycle of your modules. The cleaning of the solar inverter provides good performance, especially in later life. However, all inverters require a great deal of maintenance. The vast majority of home systems are equipped with microinverters and do not require cleaning since they are not accessible.
On the other hand, if your installation has a string inverter, it requires cleaning.
It is advisable to carry out the following operations:
- A check of the operation of the inverters thanks to the LED indicators and display on the devices
- Cleaning of inverter air inlets; fans and their heat sinks to facilitate cooling
- A check of the cleanliness of the ventilation devices in the room where the inverters are installed.
After 8/12 years, it is common to replace the inverter. Its replacement varies in cost depending upon the current market prices.
Who to entrust the maintenance of its solar panels?
As you can see, maintaining solar panels is not a very frequent task but it can be hard to do on your own. We strongly recommend that you call in a professional to carry out this maintenance. An expert has more knowledge on the subject and will guide you through all the steps and will be much better equipped for these tasks.
The advantages of entrusting maintenance to a professional
There are several advantages of entrusting the maintenance of your photovoltaic panels to a professional:
- It is a work at height that can represent a danger for less experienced or unequipped people.
- Care must be taken not to damage its panels
- Significant panel failures can easily be avoided with some preventive checks
- Professionals are better equipped and know-how to carry out maintenance and upkeep of the installation
What is the cost of maintenance by a professional?
On average, there is an hourly cost for a solar panel maintenance service of between PKR 1000 and PKR 2500. Where you live will affect the cost of maintaining and repairing solar panels. In addition, the maintenance and cutting of trees close to the installation is also part of the maintenance of solar panels: if the branches of the trees obstruct the sunlight greatly affects the performance of your panel.
Maintain your solar panels to keep equipment functional
Solar panels are very efficient installations that allow you to save on energy. However, care must be taken to maintain them properly. Maintenance of the panels is infrequent but is necessary.
Do not hesitate to call on one of our experts at dsspak.pk to take care of the maintenance of your modules.