The Importance of Solar Panel Maintenance

solar panel maintenance
Solar Panels
Well maintained solar panels.

Solar panels have fast become one of the most desirable pieces of technology to add to your home; as a result, regular solar panel maintenance is essential. Over 840,000 households in the UK are now using them. They are a clean and reliable source of sustainable energy, that will reduce your carbon footprint whilst saving you money. One of the most appealing factors of Solar Panels is that they require very little maintenance.  They typically have a lasting time of up to 25 years, so they are built to last!
This doesn’t mean that your solar panels don’t need any maintenance. It has been proven that your solar panels can have a reduced efficiency of up to 30%.  There are various factors, that can occur on both residential and commercial properties. These can significantly affect the efficiency of solar panels.

What can affect my Solar Panels?

Generally you will find that your solar panels will require very little maintenance and attention. However there are some factors which can affect the amount of energy your panels produce. 

Dirt & Grime

Whilst the high amount of rainfall we have in the UK does keep your panels clean to an extent, dirt and grime can still build up. High levels of dirt and grime will stop your solar panels being able to absorb sunlight efficiently.  Over time this will significantly reduce the amount of energy your solar panels generate.

Wildlife
Pidgeon on Roof

Animals such as pigeons are very prone to nesting underneath solar panels. The angle that the panels are placed provides a sheltered and dry space, perfect for laying eggs. Whilst we’d love to provide all animals with a safe space, nesting birds are one of the biggest reasons residential and commercial buildings can have higher than expected seasonal solar panel maintenance costs.

Weather

We are lucky in Britain with our climate, we aren’t often subjected to severe weather, such as hailstorms and hurricanes. This doesn’t mean we don’t get our fair share of strong winds and heavy snow. Weather like this can cause damage to your panels.

Trees

The trees in your area can massively affect the efficiency of your solar panels, from leaves blowing onto your roof, to overgrown trees casting shadows on your roof. Shadows on your solar panels are one of the biggest performance inhibitors to efficiency, if 30% of the cells in your panel are covered by heavy shade then 30% less energy will be produced.

If any of your Solar Panels are affected by these issues, the amount of energy they generate could be compromised. The longer they remain unmaintained the less efficient they will be.

Should I Carry Out the Solar Panel Maintenance Myself?

Whilst you might be tempted to carry out maintenance yourself, it is recommended that any work carried out on your Solar Panels is undertaken by a professional.

Expert cleaning

Certain chemicals and cleaning equipment can damage your solar panels. Anything rough or abrasive could result your panels to be repaired or replaced which will be very costly to you. A professional will know which products are best used for your Solar Panels and will also be able to efficiently clean each panel ensuring you get the maximum output!

Identify Potential Issues

A professional will also be able to identify any potential problems before they become a major issue. Such as shadows from satellites or trees, any loose cables, build up or damage from debris and any wildlife problems.

Performance Test

Whilst cleaning and checking your panels, a professional will also be able to undertake a performance test. They will be able to do an in-depth analysis to judge the efficiency of each panel. This will give you a full report on how well your panels are doing and give you peace of mind that your solar panels are producing the highest amount of energy possible.

Check Components

In every maintenance check, a solar panel professional will be able to check each component of your panels to ensure that they are all working efficiently. While it is rare that solar panels will have faulty components, it is always important to check, otherwise you could be losing out on the maximum amount of energy your solar panels produce.

Humane Wildlife Removal

Wildlife, such as birds, tend to have a habit of taking shelter under solar panels, which can unfortunately wreak havoc on the amount of energy your panels produce. Trying to remove the wildlife can result in injury to you, injury to the animal and damage to your solar panels. A professional will be able to remove the wildlife humanely and safely without damaging any parts of the solar panels.

Roof Work is Dangerous

Finally, and most importantly, roof work can be extremely dangerous. Without the proper equipment and specialist training, attempting to under take work on a roof can be fatal. It is always best to leave any work your solar panels need to professionals, they are highly skilled in Solar panel maintenance and safe roof work procedures.

What Can I Do?

While it is important to leave the maintenance of your solar panels to professionals, there are still things you can do from your home to check that your solar panels are working efficiently.
You can;

Monitor Tree growth and New Builds

Keeping a close eye on the growth of trees and any new buildings in the vicinity of your property can be extremely beneficial to the maintenance of your solar panels. You will be able to see if any shadows are falling on your roof and be able to call in someone before you lose a large amount of energy output.

Monitor Performance

Document the amount of energy your solar panels produce on a day to day basis. If your solar panels are working efficiently you should be able to see a consistent pattern of output. Make a note of any cloudy days to account for anomalies within the data. If the pattern shows that the level of output is declining, it would be beneficial to call in a maintenance team.

Watch Out for Wildlife

From the ground you should be able to see if there is any wildlife inhabiting your Solar Panels. If you can see any feathers, bird droppings or an increased amount of activity from birds around your roof, it may be the time to call in a maintenance team to humanly relocate the wildlife. The maintenance team may also be able to install some anti-wildlife equipment such as a solar panel mesh which provides protection from every type of bird by blocking their access to underneath the solar panels.

When your Solar Panels are working to their full capacity, the amount of money you can save is huge, however if unmaintained you could potentially lose out on a vast amount of energy production and thereby losing out on any money you could save. Keep a close eye on your daily energy production and if you’re in doubt it’s always worth calling in professionals to take a look.  

If you want to find out more , check out the Maintenance and Operations page.

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