Your Maintenance Guide For Solar Panels

Ontario solar company

Maintaining a solar panel is extremely easy in hot and dry regions. Dusting them off and polishing them up once a year is just sufficient for their overall well-being. But in damp places like Canada, cleaning and maintaining solar panels is important for them to operate with their peak efficiency. So let us see a few things you should regularly check in order to maintain your solar panels and when you should seek help from an Ontario solar company.

Though solar panels are pretty self-sufficient, there are some regular checks you need to perform to maintain them. Simple solar panels have no moving parts or fluids to check or top up. Hence you will not need an external yearly service since the checks can be done with a visual scan and analysis of the energy production. However, the recommended interval is every one or two years if you need exterior maintenance. The broad price range for maintaining solar panels may be from $150 to several hundred dollars. You can ask a good Ontario solar company for quotations for their professional solar panel cleaning services. 

Maintaining solar panels is extremely simple and requires no specific training. You can clean them with a soft bristle brush, a broom handle, or gentle dish soap. You may take a working hose or a ladder with you. Visual inspections of the solar panels should be done once a year, regardless of whether you see a drop in production. This will ensure no issues like deep dents or cracks, scorch marks, fallen branches, bird nests, etc. 

Before you start cleaning the solar panels, ensure all cables connecting to the panels are unplugged to avoid any possible electric shocks. Use a dry cloth to clean the housing and connector contacts. If there are stubborn stains, you can use any household cleaners. Let the entire system dry completely before reconnection, which should be done by following the steps in the manual. 

Never spray water on the panels during midday heat or when the temperatures are freezing, as the sudden change in heat level could crack the panels. The bucket of soapy water should be used to clean bird waste present on the panels. After soaping it, gently scrub the panel and wash it with water. During your visual analysis, marks ensure that you check the brackets. If there is excessive rust, panels sagging or sliding off their mounting, parts that need repair, or anything unusual, you should have it corrected as soon as possible. 

Seasonal Issues

The panels may have difficulty burning through such a deep cover if there is extra thick snowfall during winter. So use a clean brush to clear the snow cover. This may not be required for rain or light snow as the panels can easily burn through light covers. When using water to clean your panels, please do not heat or boil it. Anything higher than room temperature can crack the glass.

If you stay in a dusty region, you should periodically hose the panels off, especially during the summer. A thin layer of dust, ash, or other fine particles that tend to cling onto smooth glass surfaces can also be more obstructive than several inches of snow for the panels. Remember that the more tilted your panel is, the less dust it will accumulate. However, you need not determine the solar panel’s angle. Your latitudes will do this. So there is nothing you can do about it. 

Have a look at the panels regularly during the fall. Ensure they are not covered in leaves, twigs, or pine needles, which can result in a large productivity drop.

Should You Involve Professionals?

It is not highly recommended to get external services for solar panel cleaning unless you own a multi-acre array. When left entirely dry in dusty conditions, with no rain, cleaning, hosing off, or brushing, the solar panels will only lose 7% of their efficiency in six months. It is very easy for most people to hose off the panels if they get dirty.

Digital Monitoring

Digital monitoring can make maintaining your solar panels much easier by regularly checking the solar efficiency and overall energy output. This can help you identify if something is impacting the panels’ performance. Your monitoring system or app should report the overall production figures, PV currents, PV voltage, etc., so if your yearly production is significantly low, despite clear days and the same number of peak sun hours, then you may have to contact professionals.

If the cause of the issue is blockages, stains, dirt, or a large buildup of ice and snow, which can be cleared, it can be resolved easily. But if the panels are clean and properly angled and still report inefficiency, there might be some serious issues. 

Bottom Line

If you require professional help regarding your solar panels, you can contact your installer for cleaning or efficiency questions. They will also determine whether you have a malfunctioning charge controller, need more solar panels to expand your system, need to replace your old system, etc. 

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