The cheapening of photovoltaic solar panels and the end of the so-called “sun tax”, which taxed the use of solar energy in the domestic sphere, has brought about an explosion in the use of renewable energies in our country. Many citizens have installed panels in their homes to produce their own electricity and even, in some cases, to be able to sell the surplus to distribution companies. In this post we are going to explain how to maintain solar panels so that your self-consumption installation does not lose its efficiency and is safe.
Maintenance of Solar Panels: how to do it
Installing SOLAR PANELS is an investment that quickly pays for itself. In addition to being able to benefit from possible tax incentives such as the reduction of the IBI or the reduction of the tax on installations and works, the ADVANTAGES OF PHOTOVOLTAIC ENERGY are very important: on the one hand, we achieve significant savings on our electricity bill because we can generate much of the electrical energy we consume free of charge; on the other, we are contributing to improving the health of our planet, saving tons of greenhouse gases from being dumped.
Maintenance of solar panels
The solar energy installation is made up of a series of electrical, electronic and mechanical elements that are designed to last for many years. But they are complex installations that require maintenance, without which their useful life would be significantly shortened and they would lose efficiency.
They are not complex installations, although their useful life and efficiency would deteriorate significantly if we do not carry out proper maintenance.
The maintenance that we have to do in a solar energy installation can be divided into two large groups: preventive maintenance and corrective maintenance . Next, we explain what each of them consists of.
Preventive maintenance is the one that is carried out so that no damage occurs. These are basic tasks of revision, cleaning, among others, aimed at ensuring that no element of the installation breaks down and that it works optimally. Series the equivalent to the check-ups and changes of oil and filters of our vehicles.
Preventive maintenance can be carried out by specialized personnel, although it is also possible that it may be carried out by the owner of the installation following a series of minimum safety guidelines, in order to avoid personal injury or damage to the installation itself. The preventive maintenance tasks that we have to do are:
Every two or three months, depending on the geographical environment in which we find ourselves, it is essential to clean the solar panels, which tend to accumulate a lot of dust and dirt that reduce their generating efficiency. Cleaning can be done with rags and clean water, do not use abrasive products or scouring pads that can damage the panel.
Visual inspection of the condition of the panels
Also every two months, coinciding with the cleaning of the panels, a visual inspection of the state of the panels will have to be carried out. We have to look at possible deformations that the panel and the frames of the solar panel may present.
Every six months it is necessary to check that the structure that supports the solar panels on the roof is in perfect condition. It will be necessary to check the anchors and retighten the screws that are in poor condition.
It is necessary to check that the grounding works well. It is necessary to know if the level of potential resistance of the grounding is adequate, and if not, a corrective treatment will have to be carried out. This work can only be done by a professional. Grounding is essential for the safety of our electrical installation against possible overloads or short circuits.
Check status of inverters
It should be done every six months . Inverters are the most delicate components of the photovoltaic installation. It is necessary to ensure the tightness of the cabinet where the inverter is located, to prevent the entry of water and dust. You also have to clean the possible accumulated dust on the heat sinks. It is necessary to retighten the connections and terminals. It is important to check the reading of faults and errors that have been registered in the inverter. Checking the status of the inverter can only be done by a qualified technician.
Inspection of protection systems
It is recommended to do at least once a year. It consists of a visual check and proof that all the protection elements of the installation work correctly: fuses, disconnectors, current protection switches and the emergency stop button.
It should always be done by a qualified installer. It consists of the repair or replacement of those damaged elements of the photovoltaic installation.
Corrective maintenance can be motivated by different failure signals that indicate that the installation is not working properly. Possible faults can be:
- Noticeable loss of generated energy. It can indicate the breakdown, breakage or disconnection of some of the panels. They will have to be repaired or replaced when necessary.
- Inverter failure. If the inverter does not work, the conversion from direct current (which is what the photovoltaic panels produce) to alternating current, which is what the appliances in our home use, will not be done.
- Faults in protective equipment. If the safety systems (fuses or differentials) break down, they must be replaced immediately.
- Grounding malfunction. It is vital to ensure the electrical safety of our home. The grounding must be repaired urgently. It may be necessary to replace the earth rod, the evacuation wiring of the current or an enrichment of the earth to improve its conductivity.
- Deterioration of accumulator batteries. If it is the case that our photovoltaic installation has batteries to store energy to be used when there is no sunlight, it will be necessary to repair or replace them.
Photovoltaic solar installations are a great investment that pays for itself quickly. If we correctly carry out the maintenance of solar panels that we have explained in this post, they will be with us for many years and will contribute to reducing our electricity bill. We will also be making a great contribution to the environment.