Most solar installation companies and vendors provide a 25-year warranty on PV solar panels. But most panels actually exceed their performance warranties by several years, depending on their build quality, where they are installed, and how they are maintained.
Typically, solar panels degrade at a rate of 2% to 3% during the first year; it falls to 0.7% to 0.5% per year after. Degradation is mostly due to weather damage and dirt accumulation on the panel’s surface. The good news is, you can extend your panels’ life span and keep them working at optimal efficiency with some simple maintenance practices.
Clean the panels regularly
Solar panels accumulate dust and other debris such as animal and bird droppings, fallen leaves, and tiny pebbles. The thinnest layer of dust could easily block sufficient sunlight from reaching the cells, resulting in poor performance. A study found that dust can, in some cases, cause a solar panel’s power yield to drop by as much as 40%.
The best way to solve this problem is to regularly clean your panels — maybe once a month or every couple of weeks, depending on where you live. Use clean water and a non-abrasive sponge attached to a long handle to clean the panels. If you have to use soap, make sure it’s mild and biodegradable, as aggressive cleaning products can easily damage the panel’s surface. Also, be careful not to step or lean on the delicate panels as you clean them.
Keep panels out of the shade
Every inch of the solar panel array should be exposed to direct sunlight for maximum power output. Make sure that no overhanging branches, buildings, or trees cast shadows on the panels. If the shadows fall from a permanent structure, you might have to move or reposition your array.
Document daily performance
Install a power output and usage monitoring tool if your system doesn’t have one and record the solar panels’ day-to-day output. Keeping a performance record will help you differentiate normal from below-average power output figures. Daily readings may vary due to changes in weather conditions, but a sharp dip or spike might indicate a serious problem. Contact the manufacturer or installation company if the output becomes too erratic or starts to drop abnormally.
Modern solar panels are very reliable and durable. Most installations don’t need servicing besides regular cleaning and monitoring. To learn more about solar generators and their installation and maintenance, get in touch with Solar Miner. We distribute and install solar panels in Melbourne and across the state of Victoria. For quotes, enquiries, and consultation, call us on 1300 285 885.