How do you Avoid Damaging your Solar Panel System?
More and more houses have been incorporating a solar power system as their energy source. As of 2019 in the United States, around 2 million solar installations are already used for residential and commercial establishments. For sure, this number will continue to soar higher in the coming years as the associated costs of installing solar panels become cheaper.
Now, if you are thinking of getting a solar installation or recently got one, a major concern that you are considering must be solar panel maintenance and repair. How can you take good care of your solar system and the PV components? What should you do in case it malfunctions or show signs of damage? Here are important pieces of information to help you take good care of your solar panel at home.
Going Through Solar Energy and PV
It is important to understand the basics of how solar panels work so that you can deal with them properly. Remember, a residential roof integrated system of solar panel frames can produce voltage through irradiation coming from the sun’s solar energy. Thus, solar modules should be exposed to as much sunlight as possible to guarantee optimum performance and maximize the voltage generated.
You should also be familiar with the common PV components of a residential solar electric system.
- solar panels
- mounting racks
- array DC disconnect
- home solar batteries
- power meter
- solar plugs and solar connectors
- circuit breaker panel
- charge controller
Take time to read the user manual of your solar PV installation to acquaint yourself with the proper maintenance of these components. The more familiar you are with the basics, the easier it would be to keep your solar system in a pristine condition.
Taking Care of Solar Panels
The best way to avoid getting a solar panel repair service is to take good care of them. After all, a solar panel system is a long-term investment, and you can only get the most out of your buck if they last their intended lifetime.
Do you want to know the secret to long-lasting residential solar panels? You will be surprised -it is cleaning! Yes, cleaning them regularly can help you avoid the hassle of getting photovoltaic module repairs.
Cleaning any solar PV system installed on the roof of a residential house should be manageable enough to be done without hiring professional solar service centers. All you need is a solar panel cleaning kit containing wipers, biodegradable soap, and non-abrasive brushes with handles. With these materials, you can clean your panels the same way you would clean a normal window.
Do this regularly so that dirt will not build up on the surface of the PV panels. This will not only keep them clean, but it will also make them work more efficiently.
However, in case you decide to take up the cleaning job yourself, take note that solar panels become very slippery when they are wet. You have to take extra safety precautions so you do not end up hurting yourself during the cleaning process.
Causes of Degradation of Solar Panels
While modern solar companies manufacture new PV components that are designed to last long, it is perfectly normal for solar panels to degrade over time. A new solar system will not be able to perform that same way ten years forward. There are several factors that cause this decrease in performance, and here are some of them.
Weather and Climate
Climatic forces are probably the most dominant driver of both outer and inner module damage in PV cells. They are also the most difficult to control.
Because a system of solar cells is installed outdoors, it is exposed to the daily fluctuations of the weather. During the dry summer, PV components can perform well, but things change once the cold winter comes. Persistent cold weather conditions can freeze solar panel frames and lead to solar panel glass breakage.
Thermal cycling, excessive heat, and other related weather conditions are also detrimental to the solar PV installation performance. These irregular triggers affect individual PV cells and cause module damage internal damages.
When a solar company uses transformerless inverters in solar panel installations, it is contributing to the speedy demise of the built PV system. Why?
Inverters that are not attached to a transformer causes voltage leaks, leading to a decrease in production efficiency and flattening peak performance. What’s worse is that the leaking voltage, little by little, causes damaged solar plugs and other components. This phenomenon is also known as potential-induced degradation or PID.
A solar panel frame needs to be installed properly to protect it from the daily wear and tear caused by the elements. If they are placed on the roof haphazardly, chances are that they will not be able to withstand strong winds and heavy rains.
Improper installation results in faulty components, damage to the main power circuit, sub-optimum performance, and even broken glass panels. To avoid solar panel repair services, you need to have them installed properly since day one.
Signs That Your Solar Panels Already Need Repair
No matter how carefully you maintain your solar panel installation, there will always come a time when you need to have it repaired by professional solar panel repair companies. That is why you need to have a keen eye in identifying signs that your solar panel components are already needing repair.
Hot spots microscopic fractures are small cracks on the glass cells that can grow in size over time. They might arise from bad handling or from the heat energy of day-to-day weather changes. Their presence is oftentimes difficult to spot.
Micro-cracks escalate to larger damages, making solar panels underperform. Before they even lead to complete breakage of solar panels and system failure, you need to address them with the help of a repair centre.
Wiring fault is another telltale sign that a PV installation needs help from solar panel repair centres. Unexpected power generation anomalies are indicative of faulty wiring, so you should be wary of them.
You may use extensive automated tests or simpler wire performance checking tools to conduct power measurement tests. With these, you will be able to detect loose wiring. Just a small piece of advice – be extra careful when dealing with wires because it may cause electrocution. If you are not sure about what you are doing, leave it to the pros.
PV cell staining or a visible change in color signals damage within the inner parts of the solar module. You may also observe delamination and the formation of snail trails. Most of the time, this starts as a small flaw during production but it worsens upon subjecting the solar panels to the external environment.
Inner module problems indicated by discoloration are delicate and require professional solar panel repairs. What you can do is monitor your solar installation from time to time to detect color changes in the panel. The earlier they can be repaired, the better.
Residential Solar Maintenance & Repair
There is no need to worry about looking for professional solar panel repair providers. Because of the boom of the PV industry, companies offering maintenance and repair services for solar power systems have also proliferated.
Always make it a point to choose a repair company with an untarnished reputation so you can get the best for your solar PV system. Moreover, look up the website of your potential service provider to ensure that they are capable of performing a wide variety of repairs. Here is a list of repair and maintenance jobs that a solar panel repair company should be able to offer.
Removal and Reinstallation
In a residential solar PV system with multiple panels, some frames may end up damaged while the others are still functional. In such a case, only those damaged panels should be removed and replaced. Sections solar panel repair is therefore an essential repair task, and your chosen company must have expertise in performing this.
Solar Panel Cleaning
While cleaning can be done without professional help, there may be instances where solar panel cleaning becomes a challenge. Improper cleaning can affect solar panels and it may also result to damages. Look for a solar PV repair company that provides cleaning services to keep your solar panels clean and enhance production efficiency.
Inverters are delicate parts of a solar PV installation. These components serve a pivotal role, but they also get damaged easily. An ideal solar panel repair provider should have industry experience in replacing busted inverters and reintegrating them into the rest of the solar system.
Bolts, screws, and brackets may not be considered energy-producing devices, but they are still important components in a residential PV system. Thorough maintenance involves not just checking the solar panels but also tuning up the rest of the auxiliary components.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t DIY
Hiring the services of a solar panel repair company entails extra costs on your end. But, the additional dollars you will spend for professional repair services will be worth their value. So, if you are still thinking of doing the repairs yourself, maybe you can consider these.
Improper Repair Shortens the Lifespan of a PV Installation
Solar power companies install solar panels that are built to last for around 10 to 20 years. However, when the system is not well taken care of, its lifespan may be reduced. Doing repairs without professional help may cause damage to the panels, leading to unforeseen damages and speeding up the degradation of the solar installation.
Without Training, You May Get Injured
Doing solar panel repairs entails some manual labor and a lot of hazards. Falling from your rooftop is bad enough, but what’s worse is the risk of electrocution when you come in contact with faulty wiring. If you are not trained to do repairs and maintenance, you will be prone to these sorts of injuries.
Professionals Can Provide Prognosis
When you climb up your roof and attempt to do repair, you will most likely address the obvious issues only. It takes professional eyes to see the root causes of the damage in the solar panels and the other energy-producing devices. With their help, you will not only solve your current issues but also detect possible concerns in the future and address them right away.
How much does it cost to replace solar inverters?
Inverters are essential parts of any PV installation. Their costs usually depend on the capacity (in Watts) of the solar PV system. But on average, you need to prepare around $1000 to $1500 for a solar inverter replacement.
What to do if solar panels stop working?
There are multiple factors that could impede the operation of solar panels. If the breaker switches have been tripped, all you need to do is switch them back on. Moreover, if the issue is with the energy production, check the solar panels. Shade from trees or the accumulation of dust may cause them to produce a low output. You may have the panels cleaned up and the obstructions cleared.
Can you use a pressure washer to clean solar panels?
Solar panels are fragile and delicate. As such, using pressure washers and other abrasive cleaning methods are not recommended. The intense pressure from the water may damage the panels and lead to decrease in efficiency, or worse, system failure.
Can a solar panel be repaired?
Solar panels can be repaired using proper materials and techniques. As such, you need to get the assistance of professional solar PV repair companies. Attempting to do the repairs yourself may worsen the damage of the panels, and it may lead to injuries as well.
Solar energy is indeed a promising solution to help humanity keep up with the fast depleting energy sources. And to transform solar energy into electricity for our households, we have the responsibility to take good care of our solar PV installations.
Solar panel repair companies are willing to partner with you in providing repair and maintenance solutions for your PV system. It does not matter whether your solar panels are installed in a residential building or a small business management office. Partnering with the right solar panel repair provider will enable you to prolong the lifespan of your solar PV system and boost its performance.