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Essential Solar Panel Maintenance Tips For Year-Round Performance

essential solar panel maintenance tips for year round performance

Solar panels are a wise investment for homeowners, as they can reduce utility bills and play a significant role in the fight to save our planet. 

Solar panels are also available as part of the Green Deal, a government initiative that allows homeowners to save money while making energy-saving enhancements to their homes. 

Add in the average annual savings of £500, and it’s easy to see why solar panels continue to be highly popular (Consumer Rights). 

Even with the UK’s notoriously volatile climate, installing solar panels reduces utility bills. It offers access to the Smart Export Guarantee, which lets you earn money for any energy you export. 

Solar panels can last decades, but regular maintenance is integral to longevity. The good news is simple cleaning and monitoring will keep your panels at peak performance. 

In this guide, we’ll reveal our top tips for solar panel maintenance so you can get the most out of your investment. 

How much maintenance do solar panels need?

how much maintenance do solar panels need

Solar panels are relatively easy to maintain, so you won’t need to set aside huge amounts of time to monitor them. However, they accumulate debris and dirt over time, impacting their functioning. 

Panels in the UK also experience a lot of rainfall, snow, and even hail, all of which can cause damage over time. Another thing to watch out for is nesting animals, as they might compromise the panels’ performance. 

Light cleaning and regular monitoring will be more than enough to ensure longevity, but they might require more maintenance during autumn and winter. 

Spring maintenance tips 

Spring symbolises new beginnings when the winter finally says goodbye, and we welcome lighter evenings. It’s also a great time to check your solar panels and ensure they’re ready for summer. 

Clean the panels 

You don’t need a specialist cleaning solution for solar panels; just grab some water with mild soap and use a sponge or brush to gently remove debris and stains. Some dirt might require further cleaning, but avoid making scratches with excessive scrubbing.

Once the panels are clean, rinse them with clean water and leave them to dry naturally. 

Perform an inspection 

It’s always a good idea to check your panels regularly for damage, including water-related complications, loose connections and cracks in the panels. Minor issues are relatively easy to repair, but severe cracks might warrant a replacement. 

Summer maintenance tips 

Summer is when solar panels perform optimally, with more sunshine and longer days. However, the UK’s average summer temperatures continue to increase, so you might want to check your solar panels for damage and overheating. 

Energy production checks 

Solar panels should produce a lot of energy in the summer, so if they’re not performing, there could be a problem. Most modern panels come with monitoring systems, making it easier to identify output issues and seek professional support. 

Assess for overheating issues 

High temperatures can cause your solar panels to overheat—especially when they don’t have proper ventilation. The signs of overheating include a decrease in energy production, melting components, discolouration and alerts from temperature sensors. 

In most cases, you can fix overheating panels by ensuring no obstructions to the airflow and cleaning them regularly. 

Autumn maintenance tips 

As autumn approaches, trees will begin to shed their leaves, and the warm temperatures will gradually turn colder. The panels are more at risk of obstructions, and animals might seek shelter, which can cause further issues. 

Remove debris 

Solar panels need sunlight to produce energy; when debris – such as fallen leaves – builds up on them, they won’t work correctly. Make sure you remove debris regularly and check the panels for further buildups. 

Check connections 

The wind picks up in the winter, putting your panels at risk of loose connections and damage to the mounting system. As the colder months approach, check the racking system and ensure no loose connections. 

Tightening them will add additional protection, ensuring they can withstand high winds. 

Pest-proof your panels 

Birds, rodents and other pests often seek shelter when it gets colder, and your solar panels could be a haven for them. Installing deterrents such as wire mesh can prevent pests from nesting near your panels. 

If there are signs of an infestation, it’s best to call a professional service that will handle the issue safely. 

Winter maintenance tips

winter maintenance tips

Winters are getting warmer in the UK, but we still deal with low temperatures, high winds and snow. The colder months can pose numerous challenges for solar panels, including debris accumulation and weather damage. 

However, basic maintenance will safeguard your panels and ensure they make it through winter safely. 

Snow and ice removal 

If you live in an area that experiences frequent snow, it’s essential to check for ice buildup regularly and remove it. Using a specialist snow rake can prevent obstructions, and installing insulation around solar panel mounting can prevent ice buildup. 

Keep the panels clean

Maintaining the panels during winter can be challenging, but trimming nearby vegetation and cleaning them regularly can prevent bird droppings and other debris from impacting their ability to produce energy. 

Monitor performance 

It’s natural for the panels to produce less energy in the winter months, but they should still function and use available sunlight. Monitor your solar panel system for performance and note any significant drops in productivity. 

A sudden drop in output could be a sign of serious issues, and booking a professional inspection is the best way to assess whether repairs are necessary. 

Key takeaways: 

  1. Solar panels are highly durable but require more cleaning and maintenance in the colder months. Incremental visual checks will help you identify any issues, making it easier to mitigate them. 
  2. Choosing a reputable installation and maintenance service means you can enjoy the benefits of solar panels without worrying about their performance.
  3. When cleaning and maintaining your panels, follow best practices, including avoiding abrasive cleaners and chemicals. These can damage the panels, and reduce their effectiveness.
  4. If your panels have large cracks or aren’t performing, investing in replacement panels might be necessary.

Solar panels will continue to grow in popularity, and Hometree offers financing solutions, maintenance, repairs and cover to make it easier than ever to embrace solar. . With quality installation, regular servicing and repairs included as standard, we make it easier for you to enjoy all the benefits and savings solar panels have to offer.

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