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Solar Panel Servicing and Maintenance

15th March 2023

If you’ve fully committed to eco-warrior status with solar energy or are simply checking out
the armour, one thing that should definitely be on your mind is the solar panel servicing and
maintenance
that you can expect to encounter.


Will it cost a fortune? Will it offset or undermine any savings or return on investment? Will I
be constantly calling out the solar panel service engineer?

These are sensible questions to ask, but thankfully, the answer is a positive one.

Delicate Planet, Robust Technology

These days it’s impossible to ignore: the natural environment is in crisis, with issues such as
habitat loss and climate change being at the forefront of every ecological debate. As a result,
more and more people around the world are taking steps to do their bit to reduce their
impact on the environment. One of the many ways people are doing this is through domestic
solar panel installations.

Solar panel arrays mounted to roofs of domestic buildings have become increasingly popular
primarily due to the ever decreasing cost of installation and the technology itself, as well as
the savings that owners can make on their electricity bills. The tech is also inherently robust
due to the relative simplicity of the systems which only require periodic solar panel servicing
and maintenance.

5 Ways To Look After Your Solar Tech

Solar panel servicing and maintenance is so simple, we’ve distilled the key considerations
down to just five points.

  1. Cleaning
    If you can access them easily, it’s good to give your panels a clean every so often. Over time a layer of dust, debris, and organic matter (such as leaves or moss) can accumulate on the panels, reducing their efficiency. Giving them a clean will restore them to optimal efficiency, however, please don’t attempt this if the access is difficult or unsafe.
  2. Inverter
    The solar panels generate DC (direct current) electricity, however, your home runs on AC (alternating current). To convert from DC to AC, your system has an inverter. These don’t require servicing as such; however, they should be checked periodically to ensure that they are functioning properly.
  3. Inspections
    It’s a smart idea to incorporate an inspection by a solar panel specialist into your solar panel servicing and maintenance schedule. This can be done annually or even every other year and will give you early warning of any gremlins or issues that could be causing your solar panel system to run inefficiently, or cause you bigger problems further down the line.
  4. Monitoring
    Some solar panel setups come equipped with monitoring systems to help you keep track of power production. If you notice a drop in power output, it’s a good idea to arrange for a specialist to inspect your solar panel system for any issues.
  5. Shade
    While not directly associated with the solar panels, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the vegetation that is growing nearby. Tall trees, errant branches, or in the case of ground-based arrays, bushes, and tall grass may all block the amount of sunlight falling onto your arrays, reducing the efficiency of the system and the associated power output. So, while not strictly solar panel servicing and maintenance, it’s another thing to keep an eye on to help keep your solar panels in peak condition.

    Overhanging vegetation will also drop leaves, fruit, and seeds, as well as provide a perch for birds to leave droppings from too - so clearing this vegetation will also reduce the cleaning that you have to do.

Solar Panel Life Expectancy

Much like a beloved classic car, regular TLC will keep your solar array working for many,
many years. Just like any machinery or equipment though, the life expectancy of your solar
panel tech is dependent on the quality of the equipment and replacement parts, quality of the
installation of said parts - and the operating conditions.

As a general rule of thumb, in conjunction with appropriate solar panel servicing and
maintenance
, the average manufacturer warranty is in the region of twenty five to thirty
years. This warranty wouldn’t be offered if there wasn’t an expectation that the solar panels
would last this long, so it’s a good ready reckoner. It’s quite common for solar panel systems
to continue to function outside their warranty period, so you may even see forty years’
service or more from your solar investment.

The only caveat to this is that over time, the overall efficiency and performance of the solar
panels will degrade, by between 0.5% and 3% per year. This is dependent on:

  • The type of panel used, (monocrystalline types run at 20% efficiency typically),
  • The operating temperature, as panels work less efficiently in the cold,
  • The amount of sunlight that they receive as UV light degrades the back sheet which
    protects the photovoltaic cells and other electrical components, plus works as a
    thermal insulator,
  • Thermal cycling, where repeated changes in temperature can affect the soldered joint,
  • Damp heat, which can cause the cell insulation to separate.

Luckily, periodic solar panel servicing and maintenance will identify and fix many of these
issues, helping to keep your solar array functioning and working efficiently throughout its’
working life.

Solar Panel Servicing and Maintenance - Another Investment?

You wouldn’t run your car without at least changing the oil and having it looked over by a
mechanic every so often. Likewise, you shouldn’t expect your solar panels to keep working
day after day without a little TLC.

The cost of a service will, of course, depend on the amount of arrays that you have installed,
and where they’re located (it’s easier and therefore cheaper to service an array that’s sat in
your garden than one on top of your roof). However, you should expect an annual service to
cost around £100 to £300. Naturally if replacement parts are required, this rough cost will
increase.

Considering the overall cost of your solar panel project, however, the expense of proper
solar panel servicing and maintenance is quite low, but it is an investment that will ensure
that you have free, clean energy for decades to come.

If you would like to know more about having a solar array installed for your home you can
get an online quote here. UK Energi also installs battery storage for you to store your
energy until you are ready to use it. If you have any questions at all please call us on
01302260299 or complete our contact form and we’ll get back to you.

 

 

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