If we have a photovoltaic self-consumption installation, these days that we are living can help us to maintain the solar panels and maintain their maximum efficiency.
Therefore, we offer you 5 tips for caring for your photovoltaic panels. With them, you will extend their useful life and they will always work like the first day.
1. Keep solar panels clean
The most important tip is also the simplest, cleaning is the most fundamental aspect of solar panel maintenance. Dust, dirt and other particles choose its surface and block the incidence of the sun.
Therefore, if we would like maximum efficiency in our installation, it must be clean. That doesn’t mean that each weekend we’ve to be washing the solar panels, but it’s better if we roll in the hay once monthly or two months instead of every six.
How to clean the solar panels?
The first thing we must do is pay attention to the specific instructions of our installation and follow them to the letter. In general, what we never want is to clean with substances that are abrasive and can damage the surface of the solar panel.
In the same way, we must be very careful not to affect the panels by vigorously cleaning elements that can scratch them (such as, for example, when dragging small gravel or larger dirt particles that have been deposited).
In general, we will want to do it with a cloth and mild soap, the more neutral and biodegradable the better. In areas that have been stained with other substances, such as bird droppings, we will clean more thoroughly, but with care. Better to give four wet strokes than a single vigorous one that can scratch the surface.
2. Visually check the solar installation
Although the thorough maintenance of the panels must be carried out by a specialized technician, we can visually verify the solar installation from time to time.
Although we are not experts, there are certain anomalies that can be seen and can even be easily corrected. In that verification we must be aware of things such as:
- Corrosion or deformation. Although some parts are built with anticorrosive materials such as aluminum, we must always be attentive to a possible degradation on some side, or to deformation and defects in structures, supports, joints or screws.
- Breakage or cracking of some panels. Produced by phenomena such as impacts of elements brought by the wind and others such as hail.
- Leaks and weakening of the fixings. Checking that all the joints are in good condition, they do not dance or crack.
- Loosening of cables or deterioration of connections.
- Strange noises and any other type of changes regarding how they left us the installation.
In general, within this maintenance of the solar panels we have to check that everything is as the first day and there are no parts that loosen or degrade in sight.
It is not necessary either that we are every week with this visual inspection, but it is recommended that, from time to time (for example, two months), we do a review and check that it is like the first day.
3. Monitor the performance of your solar installation
Within the upkeep of solar panels there’s also the verification that their performance is adequate. Externally it’s going to seem all correct, but if we don’t extract the maximum amount energy as possible or the flow suffers, something internally isn’t working well.
Although in these cases it is never convenient for us to try to correct these inefficiencies, it is very important to detect them in order to call the technician or enforce the warranty.
For this, the inverter (a key element in the installation) is our best ally, since it provides useful data on the installation. In the same way, it is possible that the installer of the solar panels offers an app or method to collect data or check the performance.
We should take a look at that information and check for any strange variations.
4. Look especially at the investor
The inverter is perhaps the foremost delicate and important a part of the installation. Therefore, the maintenance of solar panels does not begin and end only in taking care of the plates.
Clean the inverter, change the filter mats when they have told us, check the data … That the inverter works well is essential for everything else to do so.
5. Know our solar installation in depth
Although solar installations are similar, each one will have its own particularities. Therefore, it is essential that we know ours thoroughly by reading any maintenance manuals and instructions that they bring.
It is not a matter of memorizing anything, but rather of underlining what is important and paying special attention to what is pointed out in our case.
The panels usually have a useful life of about 25 or 30 years. However, if you follow these simple tips for the maintenance of your solar panels, you can extend the life of the installation even more. Even more importantly, it will always work at full capacity.
In this way, we will save as much as we can and minimize emissions into the atmosphere, contributing to the fight against climate change.
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