Understanding solar panel maintenance

Whether you’re just thinking about installing solar panels or already have them, maintenance is likely to be a key concern. 

Our guide helps you to understand of of the factors that contribute to maintaining solar panels.

The good news is that generally speaking, solar PV panels are fairly low maintenance and shouldn’t really need constant looking after. That said, a little bit of care and attention goes a long way and can help ensure your solar panels work as efficiently as they can, for as long as possible. Here, we take a look at some of the questions we’re often asked when it comes to solar panel maintenance.

 

How long do solar panels last?

Solar panels usually have a lifespan of between 20-25 years. As a rule, your solar panels shouldn’t need too much maintenance as there are no moving parts to break or regularly service.

As long as you ensure that you follow any guidance provided with your solar installation, you should be able to enjoy generating your own electricity for at least two decades.

How do I know if my solar panels are generating as much energy as they should?

When your solar panels are installed, you should receive a certificate which will give you an estimated figure for electricity generation over a year. However, if there’s a big gap between the actual amount generated and the estimate, it’s a sign that your panels may not be working as well as they could be.

If this is the case and you think your solar array isn’t working efficiently, check the inverter. This is the part that converts energy into usable electricity, so if it’s not functioning properly, it may need replacing. Similarly, it’s always worth checking your switches haven’t tripped without you realising, and that isolator switches are turned on.

Otherwise, there shouldn’t be too many other problems when it comes to generating electricity although some common issues include:

· Bird droppings – if there’s a significant amount of bird droppings on your solar array, it can reduce their efficiency.

· Build-up of dirt and dust – if your solar panels are ground based, they could be exposed to dirt, heavy leaf fall and general debris which may need to be cleaned off.

If you want to make the most of all the electricity your panels are generating, consider fitting storage batteries too. These can be retrofitted or included when you install your solar array.

How to clean solar panels?

If you are thinking about getting Solar PV and want to know if they need to be cleaned regularly then its wise you understand Solar PV, what it is and what panels are designed from. 

Panels are designed so they need as little cleaning as possible, making them effectively ‘self-cleaning’. Plus, let’s not forget that in the UK, your solar panels will benefit from regular cleaning thanks to rainfall. Nevertheless, if you do find excess bird droppings on your solar panels or you think they’re grimier than they should be, we offer a range of expert solar panel cleaning services at Spartek.

If you haven’t installed a solar array and are still considering it, it’s good to know that panels positioned at a steeper angle or tilt, tend to be better at self-cleaning thanks to the way rainfall naturally rolls off them.

 

Do panels come with a guarantee?

Solar panels typically come with a manufacturer’s product warranty lasting ten years. This usually covers the panels and any other equipment or components supplied (like the inverter).

Manufacturers also sometimes provide a power warranty which promises particular output levels over time.

Of course, it also goes without saying, that you should always consider a qualified and certified solar panel provider. At Spartek, we’re accredited by SafeContractor and are also NICEIC approved, which means we work to the highest standards and are also regularly inspected. We’re also an approved member of the microgeneration certification scheme (MCS) which independently certifies renewable energy products and the firms that install them.

 

Will regular solar maintenance help to maintain performance?

Like any other type of equipment, solar panels work most efficiently when they’re properly installed and maintained. For most people, this simply means making sure panels are free from excess dust and dirt.

However, maintenance can also ensure components are working at optimum levels, helping prolong the overall efficiency and life expectancy of your array. For instance, at Spartek, we offer an all-round service including checks on parts, cables, monitoring systems and circuits.

 

How often should I clean solar panels?

Solar panels are relatively low maintenance, and you shouldn’t need to clean them too often.

One of our industry solar panel maintenance tips is that if you do clean your panels, spring is the best time to do so. It means your panels will be in top condition and ready to make the most of long summer days.

 

Do I need solar panel pigeon protection?

Unfortunately, the gap in between your solar array and your roof makes an ideal shelter for birds and pigeons, but they can pose a real issue. Not only will sheltering pigeons mean excess droppings, they can also seriously damage wires, cables and components.

You can minimise damage by pigeon proofing your solar panels. Solutions include mesh or spikes positioned along the gaps and sides to stop pigeons from getting under the solar panels in the first place. If it’s already too late and you have nesting pigeons (or any other birds) it’s probably wise to hire a pest control expert to remove them and clean the area.

How much does it cost to pigeon proof solar panels?

Pigeon proofing your solar panels varies in price and ultimately comes down to the solution you choose. You should expect solar panel pigeon protection to set you back a minimum of £300 with more comprehensive deterrents costing upwards of £500.

 

Solar panel maintenance services

If you want to keep on top of solar panel maintenance but don’t know how to clean your solar panels, we can help.

As well as a thorough visual inspection of your solar array and its parts, we can also check your overall roof condition to ensure nothing is preventing your panels from working properly. For more in depth analysis of your solar panels’ performance, we can also carry out thermal imaging surveys.

For more information about how we can help with your solar panel maintenance, contact us today on 01953 882 787, or use our quick contact form to find out how we can help you.