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Basic tips for maintaining solar panels

If you have solar panels in your home, you may think that the panels are installed and that’s it! to produce electricity. But in reality the system requires your attention, you must carry out periodic inspections and cleanings so that its efficiency is not affected.

Carrying out proper  maintenance of the solar panels of a photovoltaic installation  is an essential element if we want to obtain  optimum performance from the  installation  as well as prolong its useful life.

Basic tips for maintaining solar panels

All solar panels, whatever their type, require correct and regular  home maintenance .

Performing a proper cleaning of the solar panels, checking the status of the installation components, monitoring their performance or controlling the  solar inverter , are some fundamental aspects that we must always take into account.

Solar  panels usually have a useful life of about 25 or 30 years.  Regular maintenance of these ensures that the photovoltaic system always works at full capacity and makes the most of the energy provided by the sun.

Clean solar panels are more efficient 

A  key factor in maintaining solar panels  is that they are always clean. The panels can be cleaned simply with rainwater, but it  is also advisable to clean them manually  at least once or twice a year to remove the most persistent traces of dirt.

Dirty solar panels absorb less solar energy  and are therefore much less efficient, generating  up to 30% less energy  than a clean panel.

But  what should we  take into account when cleaning a solar panel?

  • We should never use abrasive substances  that can damage the surface of the solar panel.
  • When cleaning, you must be  very careful not to scratch  them by dragging traces of sand or gravel, for this reason  they should never be cleaned dry .
  • Use a  damp cloth and mild neutral soap.
  • Calcareous water should be  avoided  since lime can leave white spots.
  • Do not use solvents .

In any case, due to its difficult access and its technical complexity, it is recommended that this task be carried out by a specialized company.

visual verification

The periodic maintenance of the photovoltaic installation is a task that must be entrusted to a  specialized company , since this affects the extension of its useful life.

However, it is advisable for  users to visually inspect the panels from time to time,  as there are certain anomalies that can be obvious and that can have an easy solution if they are tackled in time.

Performance control and monitoring

One more task within the maintenance work of solar panels is to  check that their performance is  optimal and if all the solar energy possible is being obtained.

In order to obtain this information  we will use the solar inverter , which provides very useful data on the performance of the installation. In turn, some installation companies offer mobile applications that collect performance data.

Using these tools, when there is some strange variation in the performance of the installation and it will be possible to act at the moment.

solar inverter

The  solar inverter  is a fundamental and very delicate element in the photovoltaic installation  and it provides us with basic information about the performance of the system.

For this reason it is essential to carry out a  correct maintenance of this element. 

Maintenance of other elements of the installation

The correct functioning of the solar panels is also directly related to the maintenance of other elements of the installation. Each solar installation has its own peculiarities.

It is important  to check  the storage tank  at least once a year , as it contains essential parts for capturing and transforming solar energy.

It is also  a good idea to review the state of the insulating rubbers and check for  structural  damage,  such as cracks, leaks, breaks or damage caused by bad weather.

In the event that our photovoltaic installation has  batteries , we must also carry out a series of  specific maintenance:

  • Exterior cleaning of the batteries and check for damage at least once a year.
  • Checking the connections, that they are in good condition and fixed, locating possible deteriorated areas, etc.
  • Check about five times a year that the water levels are correct.

These are basically the system maintenance tips.