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The Importance of Proper Solar Panel Maintenance and Installation

Get the Most of Your Solar Panel with Proper Solar Panel Maintenance and Installation

As more and more people turn to solar energy to power their homes and businesses, they need to be aware that proper solar panel maintenance and installation are crucial to ensuring the longevity and efficiency of their systems. Solar panels are built to last for decades, but only if they are properly installed and maintained. Proper solar panel maintenance and installation maximise the potential yield of these power systems.

How to Ensure Optimum Solar Panel Maintenance and Installation

The first step to ensuring the efficiency of your solar system is to ensure that the panels are properly installed. Employ a reputable installer with a proven track record. Hire an installer who has a substantial install base and experience in installing solar panels.

When it comes to installation, panels should be properly grounded (earthed) with their own dedicated conductor. No additional holes, other than those provided by the manufacturer, should be made in the panel frames. Earthing conductors should be attached to the panel frames only at the clearly marked earthing points provided by the manufacturer. Improper earthing and the making of additional holes will invalidate the panel warranty.

Solar panels are built to last for decades, so the components used during installation should be able to last for the lifetime of the panels themselves. Ensure that you use high-quality components that are built to last. Aluminium and stainless-steel components are more costly but do not easily corrode, do not require painting, and do not leave possible corrosion points when cut or drilled. Properly designed roof-mounting systems provide a cooling area between the roof and the panels. The size of the gap depends on various factors such as the local climate, the angle of the panels, and the type of roofing material. Counter-intuitively, solar panels perform worse electrically when they are hot than when they are cool. A gap between the panel and roof also prevents debris from accumulating and makes clearing anything that gets between the roof and panels easier to remove.

A good installer will know that the location of solar panels is crucial for their efficiency. Ensure that they are installed in an unshaded area that receives sunlight throughout the day. In South Africa, where possible, panels should be oriented facing North for the highest yield. They should have an inclination of around the same degrees as the latitude of the install site, where practical. Too low or no inclination on panels causes excessive soiling on the lowest point on the panel due to poor runoff of rain and condensation. Proper installation practices will help ensure that your panels generate the maximum amount of energy possible and deliver the best possible return on your investment.

Solar panel system wiring and fusing are vitally important for system efficiency and safety. Panels can and do cause rooftop fires if incorrectly wired and protected. Ensure that the wiring is done by a licensed electrician who has specific experience with solar panel installations.

Solar Panel Maintenance Requirements

Solar panels are built to last for many years, but only if they are properly maintained. Good solar panel maintenance requires the regular removal of dirt, dust, bird droppings, and other debris that may accumulate on the panels, reducing their efficiency. Ensure that you clean your solar panels regularly to remove any dirt or debris. Use a soft cloth or sponge and clean water to gently clean the panels. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage the panels.

The panels are designed to be durable, but they can still get damaged over time. Solar panel maintenance should include regularly checking your panels for any signs of damage, such as cracks or scratches, particularly in the silicon cells. If you notice any damage, contact your installer to have it repaired or the panel replaced with one of the same type.

Maintenance should include regular monitoring of the system’s performance. Most better-quality systems will allow for, at the very least, on-site monitoring but often for remote monitoring too. By checking the system periodically, you can ensure that it is operating at peak efficiency. Check the system for any signs of malfunctioning, such as lower-than-normal solar output. If you notice any issues, contact your installer to have them addressed.

Solar panel maintenance requires keeping a close eye on trees and bushes that grow over time and can begin casting shadows on your solar panels, reducing their efficiency. Shading of any kind on your panel array will significantly reduce your energy output, so trim any trees or bushes that are casting shadows on your panels as soon as possible.

You must also monitor the activities of pests such as birds and rodents. These pests may damage your solar panels by nesting and defecating on the panels or chewing on the panels’ leads and other wiring. Check your panels regularly for any signs of pest activity and take steps to deter them from damaging your panels.

Check for weather damage, particularly after severe weather such as storms with large hail. Solar panels are remarkably tough and designed to withstand the elements, but severe weather may still damage them. Check your panels after severe weather events such as hailstorms or hurricanes to ensure that they are still functioning correctly.

Benefits of Proper Solar Panel Maintenance and Installation

Solar panels are generally reliable, low-maintenance sources of renewable energy. They provide clean backup energy, reduce carbon emissions, and save on electricity bills. However, to maximise their efficiency and lifespan, proper solar panel maintenance and installation provide several benefits.

Increased efficiency is the first benefit you derive from good solar panel maintenance. By keeping your panels clean and as cool as possible, making sure that nothing begins to cast shade on them, and checking frequently that they are delivering the expected yields, you will keep getting the best out of them.

Proper solar panel maintenance can extend panel lifespan, providing a longer-term return on investment. Solar panels are designed to last for several decades, but failing to maintain them can shorten their lifespan. Regular inspection and solar panel maintenance can identify and address any issues that may cause damage to the panels, such as bad (hot) connections or frame and cell cracks.

Potential home buyers are looking for homes that offer energy efficiency and sustainability. A home with a well-maintained solar panel installation will attract more buyers and sell for a higher price.

Solar panel maintenance also benefits the environment by maximising the amount of clean energy produced and reducing carbon emissions from other, dirtier forms of generation such as coal.

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Avoid the financial and operational risks of not getting it right the first time. Choose PacB for your backup energy system. We have an unimpeachable reputation and are experts in creating integrated hybrid solutions using diesel generators and renewable energy sources. We can install and maintain any form of renewable energy system or hybrid solution where required. Explore our website today and contact us for more information.

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