Maintaining Solar Panels

Are you a California homeowner who has recently had solar panels installed, or you’re planning to? Since you’re in with solar power for the long run, you’re likely wondering what you’ll need to do to take care of your system for the 20+ years you’ll be living with it.

If you haven’t yet bought solar, we don’t want to propose this as a deterrent. Most household systems, after all, require maintenance, and if you neglect them, it usually results in repair fees that are none too kind to your wallet. Are you concerned about the maintenance issues that may arise from your solar panel system? Are you wondering if there is extra work that might dissuade you from investing in renewable energy? We’re here to help.

As California’s leading solar installation company, we know everything there is to know about solar panel systems. And, because we maintain contact with customers throughout the solar power system’s lifespan, we have given our fair share of advice on a number of maintenance-related inquiries. Here is what you need to know about maintaining solar panels.

SOLAR PANELS NEED MAINTENANCE — BUT NOT THAT MUCH OF IT

First things first — if you’re planning on getting solar panels, and never thinking about them again for the next 20 years, you’re playing things a little riskier than we’d advise. Paying more attention will pay off. Solar panels do require some maintenance, but don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Solar panels are almost maintenance-free. And the things that you do need to do aren’t very difficult, time-consuming, or frequent.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR SOLAR PANELS LAST LONGER

With that being said, let’s look at the maintenance tasks that are necessary for solar. Much like other gadgets in your life, there are things you need to do, things you could or should do, and things you shouldn’t do at all. A car, for example, will last longer if you’re proactive with certain routine tasks, and you can get more mileage out of your solar panels in a similar vein.

Clean Them Off During Dry Periods

When you think of the elements obscuring your solar panels to the point where sunlight is no longer reaching them, the most two most obvious answers are leaves or snow, right? Well, as it turns out, naturally occurring dust will build up on solar panels, and if there’s enough of it, it can actually be enough to reduce UV exposure and thus lower the efficiency. The good news is that this isn’t a problem for most homeowners, mainly because a rainstorm every few months is enough to wipe them clean. Even if we don’t get abundant amounts of rain in California, we still get enough for dust to be a non-issue most of the time.

Still, anyone in California knows we can go through dry spells, and if it’s been a while since a good rain, it won’t hurt to spray your solar panels with water. This isn’t rocket science — all you need is a good hose and good aim. Stay on the ground , spray them nice and clean, and you’re good to go.

Overall, if you’ve been noticing reduced efficiency from your solar panels, stepping outside and checking the dust is a good place to start. Even if there’s not an overwhelmingly obvious dirt problem, you won’t make things worse by spraying them down, and best case, you’ll fix the problem just like that.

DON’T Brush Snow Off of Them

If you’re in California, this likely won’t be a big concern for you. Even in the most temperate regions of our beautiful state, snow isn’t stacking up so high for months on end that it majorly affects your solar production.

But for our out-of-state readers, it’s handy to know good snow protocol when it comes to solar. For starters, please resist the urge to clean the snow yourself. There aren’t a lot of easy ways to clean snowy solar panels from the ground, and if you’re not careful, you’ll just end up dumping a bunch of snow on yourself.

We strongly advise against getting on the roof and servicing the panels yourself. For obvious reasons, this is dangerous. We don’t even recommend for people to get on the roof under normal conditions (call Energy Service Partners instead and we’ll take care of things), but the danger is magnified in the snow, where your likelihood of slipping and falling is much higher. Some manufacturers will even void your warranty if they found out you tried to clear snow off them with a “foreign object” (yes, that’s right, brooms and shovels are foreign to solar panels, leave them on the ground).

Solar panels are naturally pretty slick, so when the snow is ready to fall, it’ll fall off on its own. There’s not much to do except sit, wait, and for heaven’s sake, don’t park your car underneath the dumping zone! If the snow simply isn’t melting or sliding off after prolonged periods of time, it may be prudent to call a professional team.

Trim Your Trees

This won’t be a factor for everybody, but if you’re a homeowner who happens to have tall trees, it’ll be important to pay attention to how you trim them. If a tree is tall enough, it’s going to cast a shadow over your home for at least a few hours of the day, and sometimes that shadow can be quite the doozy if the tree is big enough.

If you’ve had a tree that’s been on your family for five generations and cutting it down would be tantamount to killing a loved one, there’s no need to worry — we won’t make you choose between solar power or the tree. However, with some judicious trimming, you can greatly reduce the amount of shade coverage.

If your tree is big enough to cast such an imposing shadow over your home, it’s probably not safe for you to do the job yourself. Furthermore, you can actually majorly damage or weaken a tree if you don’t know what you’re doing. This is another job where we recommend consulting with professionals. Our team at Energy Service Partners can advise you on which parts of the tree would need to be trimmed down in order to improve solar efficiency, and a local tree service expert could carry out the trimming and look out for the well-being of the tree.

If this sounds like a headache, you’re not wrong, but the end result will be worth it. And furthermore, one tree trimming can provide years of value, so it’s not something you’ll be doing on an annual basis. The best part? Tree trimming can have a variety of benefits for the tree, and it can create a better view. Two birds with one stone!


CALIFORNIA’S LEADING SOLAR INSTALLATION COMPANY

Solar panels aren’t like your air conditioner system. They don’t just stop working, and then demand thousands of dollars from your pocket when it’s time to be fixed. They don’t require quarterly filter changes, or an oil change every few months. They don’t need to be exhaustively cleaned, and for the most part, you can just leave them in peace. What’s not to love? Now that you know how easy it is maintaining solar panels, we encourage you to make the switch to renewable energy today.

Energy Service Partners is California’s leading solar installation company. With industry-leading turnaround times and unparalleled customer service, we make solar easier than it’s ever been. Contact us today to get started!