Picture is showing man on roof top installing a solar panel

5 Tips for Maintaining Solar Panels

Is maintaining solar panels difficult? What is involved in maintaining your solar panels properly? Solar panels are one of the easiest renewable energy sources to maintain. Unlike wind-powered systems, solar-powered systems have no moving parts, which means that there isn’t much that could go wrong. Solar panels typically require minimal maintenance with little to no repairs.

Nonetheless, there are some things that you need to consider to ensure that your system works as it should. Here are some tips and advice that can help you to prolong your system’s lifetime, avoid having any hassles with it, and help you to achieve maximum system performance and power output.

Keep your panels clean
The first and foremost tip is to keep your panels clean. This will ensure that you are getting the most power output from your system. Consider checking the cleanliness of your panels every month or so. If you notice any dust, bird droppings, or leaves, wash your panels with a sponge or flush them with a garden hose.

Avoid moisture and dampness
Your solar panels usually cannot be damaged by moisture, but your backup battery, power inverter, or diodes can. Even though your system is probably well sealed, you need to check and make sure that there is no way that moisture could penetrate into the system and render some of its parts inoperable.

Keep the panels free of shade
If you have a larger system (e.g., 24V) with a series of cells connected together, you need to ensure that your system is not shaded. Larger systems will typically have bypass diodes in them, which will allow for the electric current to pass around the shaded areas without damaging them by the stronger current. Yet, just in case, it’s better to ensure that your system is free of shade, or that the shade is spread evenly across as many cells/panels as possible.

Use a smaller 12V system
If you suspect that your battery could be discharged at night (i.e., you note that there is less energy in the battery in the morning compared to what you saw the previous evening), the problem could be the absence of a blocking diode in your setup. A smaller 12V system can do without a blocking diode, while larger systems need to have working blocking diodes that would disallow the battery from draining at night.

Analyze your system
If your system stops working, you will need to analyze what could have gone wrong. The most common issues with solar-powered systems include disconnected wires that need to be reconnected, a failed inverter that needs to be replaced, and failed diodes that may also need to be replaced (or simply removed if the system is smaller than 12V).

As you can see, maintaining solar panels is easy. This could be yet another reason why so many homeowners today opt for this renewable energy source in particular, rather than wind-powered and other renewable energy systems. With proper maintenance, solar-powered systems can serve you for as long as 25-40 years, without fail.

Written by Jakob Jelling