10 Tips for Maintaining Your Home PV Solar System

Maintaining your home solar system can feel like a lot of work, especially if the panels are on the roof of your house. However, solar panels being the big investment that they are, it is extremely important to put in the effort to keep them in tip-top shape. On top of regular professional check-ups, there are a few things homeowners can do to keep their solar systems running smoothly:


1. Regular Cleaning of Solar Panels


To maximise the efficiency of your solar panels, regular cleaning is essential. Over time, accumulations such as dust, leaves, and bird droppings can shield the panels from direct sunlight, significantly reducing their performance. It is advisable to clean your solar panels biannually, although this may vary based on your local environment, such as high dust areas or places with frequent bird activity.

It may also be the case that the premises your solar panels are on are close to a commercial property like a warehouse or a plant hire yard, which could lead to your solar panels getting dirty, as dirt is kicked up from the plant hire yard or perhaps splattered from the premises of a busy warehouse. If this is the case, you will likely need to clean your solar panels more often.

Cleaning can be safely done using a soft brush and mild soapy water to avoid scratching the panels, or you might consider engaging a professional cleaning service, especially if the panels are roof-mounted, to ensure safety and thoroughness.


2. Monitor Solar Panel Performance


Continuously monitoring your solar panels’ performance is crucial. Most solar systems include a monitoring platform that records and displays output data. Regular checks help verify that the energy production matches expected levels, considering seasonal variations and current weather conditions. Any unexpected decline in performance could signal blockages or damage to the panels and should be investigated promptly.

3. Check for Physical Damage


Environmental elements like hail, storm-driven debris, or even animals can cause physical damage to solar panels. Regular inspections for any signs of wear or damage such as cracks, chips, or scratches are essential. Early detection and repair of such damages are crucial to prevent further deterioration that could compromise the long-term performance of your solar array.


4. Ensure Panels are Shade-Free


Solar panel placement is strategically chosen to capture maximum sunlight. However, over time, changes such as new constructions or natural growth can cast shadows over your panels, reducing their effectiveness. It’s important to routinely inspect and modify surroundings—such as trimming back tree branches—that might create shade over the panels.


5. Maintain Surrounding Areas


Maintaining the environment around your solar panels is just as important as the panels themselves. Ensure that areas are free of loose debris or overhanging limbs that could potentially fall and damage the panels. Regular checks should also include the condition of roof or ground mounts to prevent any structural damages that could affect the stability or efficiency of the installation.


6. Verify Inverter Functionality


The inverter is a key component that converts the DC electricity generated by your photovoltaic cells into AC electricity for home use. Check that your inverter is functioning correctly and does not display any error codes. Most inverters will have indicator lights to confirm they are operating as expected. Any anomalies should be professionally assessed and addressed to ensure continuous and efficient operation.


7. Inspect Wiring and Connections


Electrical connections and wiring are critical to the operation of your solar panels. Regular inspections for any signs of damage, wear, or corrosion—particularly in humid or coastal regions—are vital. This includes checking for tight, secure, and corrosion-free connections. It is advisable to have a certified electrician repair any issues to prevent electrical hazards or loss of system efficiency.


8. Perform Regular Professional Check-ups


While many routine checks can be conducted by homeowners, an annual inspection by a certified solar technician is recommended. This professional assessment ensures a thorough examination of the panels, mounting system, inverter, and electrical connections. Such check-ups help in maintaining the system in optimal working condition and preempting potential problems.


9. Update Software Regularly


Modern solar systems often include software that helps manage and monitor system performance. Keeping this software updated is crucial as updates may include important functionality enhancements, security patches, and improved efficiency protocols. Regular updates ensure that you are utilising all available tools to optimise system performance and longevity.


10. Be Mindful of the Warranty


Understanding and keeping track of the warranty details of your solar system and its components is crucial. Solar panel warranties typically cover 20-25 years, while inverter warranties may be shorter. Familiarising yourself with what is covered—including labour and parts—can provide significant savings and peace of mind in the event of system malfunction or damage.