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The Importance of Maintenance on Solar Power to Ensure Maximum ROI

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 3:46am

Solar panels are not just an eco-friendly power source: they are an investment. Like any good investor, you should seek to get the maximum return from your venture. With solar panels, the key to ensuring that you maximise your return on investment is maintenance: if your solar panels are well maintained, they should retain a high output for years to come.

If you are unsure of how to maintain your solar panels, here are three simple but effective tips to get you started.

1. Keeping your solar panels clean and clear

Solar panels are generally quite low maintenance, but they still require some general upkeep to maximise their performance. All solar panels collect dust and dirt over time, especially if you live in an area where rainwater is particularly polluted. There are some other risk factors: if you live in an area prone to dust storms, then your solar panel may need a regular deep cleaning. Similarly, if your solar panel is near a tree, then it may be affected by tree sap or bird excrement landing on the panels.

The reason why solar panels need to be clean is pretty obvious: solar panels work by exposure to sunlight. If your solar panel is covered in dirt and grime, the optimum amount of sunlight may not be reaching your solar panels and therefore you could be losing out on energy (and therefore money).

You can clean solar panels with the same kit you would use to clean your car or your windows. If your solar panels are roof mounted and there is no easy way to access them without a ladder, then you might want to bring in a solar power accredited installer that offers a maintenance program to minimise the risk of hurting yourself.

2. Ensuring the electric components are in working order

Solar panels tend to have few problems with their electrics because—unlike generators—they have no moving parts. A quality solar panel simply sits and soaks up sunshine, so generally they will have very few maintenance issues. One area to look out for though is your solar panel’s inverter. Solar panel inverters tend to have a shorter life span than the solar panels themselves, so your inverter will probably need replacing in due course.

Solar panel inverters do one simple job: converting the DC power created by your solar panel to AC power that you can use to power your home. Inverters typically have a lifespan of around 10-15 years, so if you have problems with your solar power system during that time frame, it might be a good idea to get an electrician to come out and look at your inverter.

Always remember that most reputable companies have warranties on their solar panels and inverters. If you spot anything wrong with your equipment during the warranty period, make sure you keep the manufacturer or original installers informed. They supply a new inverter if there is a fault. Attempting to fix the problem yourself could actually break your warranty conditions.

3. Keeping an eye on your monitoring equipment

Modern solar panels often come with monitoring equipment, allowing you to analyse how much electricity is produced each day. If you keep a record of the average amounts your solar panel produces (along with a note of the corresponding weather), you should be able to track if your solar panel is under-performing. The ease of this very much depends on your monitoring equipment: the most basic method is tracking your use manually by keeping an eye on your meter and creating a spreadsheet. However, some solar panel installers may provide you with an output meter that also comes with computer software for examining your solar panels output. Check out what monitoring options are available to you, and make the best use of them.

If you are looking for experienced electricians in the Melbourne area to install or maintain solar panels, look no further than Corospark Electrical and Solar. These solar experts offer great service and ever better prices.

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