In the US, the average cost to get residential solar panels is $20,000. That’s after applying the federal solar tax incentives. Even if you do get a more affordable deal, there’s no denying that a home solar system is an investment.
If you want to get the most out of your investment, you need to create a solar panel care routine. Keeping them clean will improve their efficiency and even extend their lifetime.
Yet many homeowners make errors in solar panel care. We are bringing you this guide to help you learn how to avoid those mistakes and why they are a problem in the first place.
Are you searching for tips about cleaning solar panels? You clicked on the right article. Keep reading for the top seven mistakes homeowners make in this guide.
1. Not Performing Regular Solar Panel Inspections
How do you know when your solar panels need maintenance if you install them and forget about them? An inspection typically comes with solar panel installation services. But after that, it is up to you.
Homeowners should make a routine of inspecting their home solar systems for damage or grime buildup. Get a professional solar system inspection done annually or bi-annually, at the very least.
You can inspect your solar panels yourself, too. Just make sure to use safety precautions when climbing onto your roof. And don’t forget that damaging your solar panels yourself could cancel out the warranty.
2. Under-Cleaning or Over-Cleaning Your Solar Panels
If you notice your system is putting out less electricity, it may be a sign your solar panels need cleaning. Dirt and debris can block sunlight from shining on your panels.
Check the manufacturer’s manual to find out how often they recommend cleaning your solar panels. Most manufacturers recommend getting professional solar panel cleaning two to four times a year.
The more extreme the weather in your area, the more often you should get your system cleaned. But avoid over-cleaning your solar panels. Over-cleaning can damage the internal components, leading to lower efficiency and lifetime.
3. Not Switching Off the System Before Cleaning
The last thing you want is to harm yourself or an inspector during regular maintenance. That is why you must always switch off your residential solar system before cleaning or performing repairs.
Check your solar system’s manual if you do not know how to turn it off. For most systems, you will begin by turning off the AC at your meter box and then stopping the AC and DC breakers, respectively.
Failing to switch off your solar panels can result in deadly electric shocks. The risk is even higher during wet conditions, so take caution.
4. Using the Wrong Solar Panel Cleaning Supplies
Solar panels are expensive pieces of technology. Avoid creating costly repairs for yourself by using the correct cleaning products.
Never use abrasive scrubs or sprays on your solar panels. They can scratch the surface and reduce your system’s performance, not to mention violating the warranty. Instead, go for a soft microfiber towel or vacuum cleaner.
Window cleaning products may damage or add streaks to the surface, which can also impact productivity. Instead, use products manufacturers make for solar panel cleaning to extend your system’s lifetime.
5. Not Fixing Damage as Soon as Possible
If your solar system gets damaged, it is critical to call a repairman ASAP. Failing to fix the problem can lead to complications. In the meantime, you will lose money as the solar panels stop putting out as much energy.
In some cases, not getting damaged solar panels fixed immediately has caused the entire system to fail. That is because solar panels work via lighting grids. When a single panel fails, the whole system goes with it.
That means you will not only lose energy in your home. But you will also have to pay for expensive repairs. In worst-case scenarios, you may even have to get the system replaced entirely.
6. Ignoring Maintenance After Heavy Snowfall
Solar panels are sturdy enough to withstand much of what the weather throws their way. But when snow piles up on your roof, even the strongest solar panel systems can not work properly if UV rays can not reach them.
It may not be a good idea to try to remove the snow yourself. You could end up damaging your solar panels, negating the warranty. Worse yet, snow creates slick conditions that could cause an injury.
Instead, call a professional to remove the snow. Solar panel cleaning professionals have the right tools and know-how to remove snow without harming your system.
7. Not Monitoring Your Solar Panel’s Production
The most common sign of damaged solar panels or a system that needs cleaning is a drop in productivity. But if you are not monitoring your solar system’s output, how do you know when there is a dip?
There are apps out there that can help you monitor your system’s output. A drop in efficiency often means your system needs a good cleaning. It could also be a sign of damage or a need for maintenance and repair.
An example is the Energy Monitoring and Analysis (EMA) app. It tracks your solar system’s performance and output in real-time. The app also analyzes your usage, so you can see where you can save more money.
Stop Making These Errors in Solar Panel Care
Are you making these errors in solar panel care? If so, your system may not be giving you a return on your investment. Avoid these mistakes to improve your home solar system’s efficiency and increase its lifetime.
Want more advice on residential solar systems? We have dozens more articles like this one, so keep checking back for more!