Solar Maintenance & Monitoring: A Five-Minute Guide
One of the great things about grid-tied solar is that the solar system is very low maintenance. There are no moving parts, so if designed correctly, there are only a few things you need to do to keep churning out free solar energy:
- Dusty solar panels will decrease your solar output. If you live in a low-dust climate with occasional rain, you may need to go on your roof and wipe off those panels with some mild soapy water with a squeegee once every quarter. Don’t use any strong detergents. Depending on your roof and solar configuration, you might even be able to do this with an extended mop, extended squeegee, and a garden hose without getting on to the roof.
- If you live in dusty climates and go solar in Phoenix or San Antonio, for example, you may need to clean your system more often to get the most power.
- Also be aware of bird droppings, leaves, or other debris that might fall on your roof. It may be time to trim back some trees if it’s been a few years since your original installation and shade analysis.
- Make a schedule to take a visual look at your solar system to make sure it’s clear.
Solar Monitoring Devices and Services.
Another way to make sure you’re getting the most solar potential out of your PV system is through a monitoring systems and service. For a monthly fee or a flat up front cost, you can monitor how your system is performing.
- Your system is expected to produce a certain amount of power during each month. A solar monitoring system can tell you if your system is off line or if it’s not performing as expected and run diagnostic programs.
- Solar monitoring systems can also be educational, showing you how much power you’ve saved, how much CO2 you’ve saved, and how much money you’ve saved.
- Depending on the monitoring systems, you can access your information from the web, from a wall mounted-device, or even from your iPhone or other mobile device.
- Monitoring systems are usually an extra expense, whether as a monthly service or purchased up front. While not essential, they do make troubleshooting and system performance easier to see.