You may have heard different things about solar panel maintenance if you have been considering making the move to solar energy for your New York or New Jersey home. The cost of maintenance is a valid concern when making a decision. However, one of the greatest things about having solar panels installed on your home is that they only require minimal maintenance over the length of their lifespan.
Solar panels have very few moving parts that could breakdown or rust from exposure to the elements. Today’s solar panels are made from strong materials, such as high-impact tempered glass, that can hold up to the toughest weather and of course, the heat of the sun. SunPower® panels come with a 25-year-warranty and many systems last up to 30 years or more when properly maintained.
During installation, each panel is inspected for defects before it is installed on your roof. If the panel is not operating properly, it will be replaced with another. Once your array of solar panels has been installed, it is very unlikely that one will fail.
Solar panel maintenance at a minimum
Usually the only solar panel maintenance that your system will require is to be kept clean to keep it running efficiently. Accumulations of dust, grime, and bird droppings could reduce the efficiency of your system by reducing the amount of sunlight that can be absorbed by the panel. Most of the time, Mother Nature will take care of a lot of this mess with the occasional rain shower, but there may be times where your solar panels need some additional cleaning help from you.
It is best to clean your solar panels every few months or if you notice that they are particularly dirty. This is often the case during the spring when they may become covered with a layer of pollen or in the fall if leaves have accumulated on your roof.
How to clean your solar panels
The easiest way to clean off your solar panels is to just rinse them down with your garden hose. If your panels need more attention than just a rinse, you can wash them down with some soapy water and a long pole that has a spongy squeegee, which is commonly used for cleaning high windows. Gently scrub your panels to remove the grime and then rinse with your hose. If your panels are too high to reach without a ladder or have inaccessible areas, it is best to contact a professional to avoid injury or damage to your system.
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Winter solar panel maintenance
For most of the winter, your panels should not require much extra care. Because of their dark color and ability to absorb heat energy, most snow will melt and slide off your panels during a light snowfall. However, during a heavy, wet snowfall that are common in New York and New Jersey, it may be necessary to clear some snow from your roof. This is not because of possible damage to the solar panels, but because your roof may not be able to withstand the additional weight.
To ensure that your solar panels continue to operate safely and efficiently, you will want to inspect your panels after a storm or if you know something has directly hit your roof. Accidents can happen that could damage your panels. Fallen heavy tree branches or an errant baseball thrown by your neighbor’s kid might break the glass on one of your panels.
If a panel breaks, you do not want to leave it connected to your panel array. Once moisture gets into the panel, it can corrode the inside wiring and cause your system to short out. When this happens, it is best to call for service and have the broken panel replaced. Any attempts to repair the panel may void the warranty by compromising the performance of the panel and the integrity of your entire solar system.
While it is unlikely that parts may fail in your solar panels, it’s not impossible. If you notice that your system is not producing power as it is should, there are a few signs to look for:
- A panel may not be fully reacting to the light. You can determine this by performing a shade test. Cover a section of the panel to see if it produces less light. If the panel does not react, then it needs to be replaced.
- Alternatively, if your solar panels are not operating properly during peak sunlight, it may be because of heat fade. This may be a result of poor wire connections.
- Check the wiring for corroded, burnt, or loose connections. Loose wires can be tightened, but burnt or corroded parts will need to be replaced.
Solar panel maintenance in New York and New Jersey
SunPower® by Infinity Solar is located in Pearl River, NY and has been servicing solar panels on homes and businesses in Rockland County, Orange County and Westchester County for many years. While these are our primary service areas, we’ve also worked on many solar panel installations in northern New Jersey, including Bergen County and Passaic County, and even New York City.