Common Solar System Maintenance Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Did you know that 55% of the world’s new renewable energy is now solar?

Solar panels are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on your energy bill, but if they’re not maintained properly, they can become damaged and less efficient.
A lot of people don’t know how to properly maintain their solar panels, which can lead to decreased efficiency and even damage.
But don’t worry. Keep reading because by following this solar system maintenance checklist, you can avoid common solar system maintenance mistakes and keep your solar panels clean and damage-free.

Using the Wrong Cleaning Solution

You should never use a household cleaner or soap on your solar panels. These products can strip the protective coating from the panel, leaving it more susceptible to damage from the elements. Instead, use a gentle solution of water and vinegar or a commercial solar panel cleaning solution.

Scrubbing Too Hard

When you’re cleaning your solar panels, be sure to use a soft cloth or brush and avoid scrubbing too vigorously. Scrubbing too hard can damage the surface of the panel, reducing its effectiveness.

In addition, when going solar, be sure to clean the panels regularly to remove dirt, dust, and other debris. With proper care, your solar panels will provide years of trouble-free operation.

Using a Pressure Washer

Never use a pressure washer on your solar panels. The high-pressure water can damage the seals and connections on the panel, causing leaks and other problems. Instead, stick to using a gentle hose to rinse off your panels.

Cleaning in Direct Sunlight

Cleaning your solar panels while they’re in direct sunlight is a bad idea for two reasons. First, the sun can cause cleaners to evaporate too quickly, making them less effective. Second, you run the risk of damaging the panel if you accidentally get a cleaning solution on it while it’s in direct sunlight.

Instead, clean your panels early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun isn’t as strong.

Not Using the Right Cleaning Equipment

Dust, dirt, and leaves can build up on the panels and prevent them from absorbing sunlight as efficiently. If you don’t have the right cleaning equipment, it’s best to hire a professional to clean your solar panels for you.

Trying to clean them without the proper tools can damage the panels or void your warranty. With a little bit of care, your solar panels will stay clean and continue to provide you with renewable energy for years to come.

Wiping Around Dirt Instead of Wiping the Dirt Away

When you’re cleaning your solar panels, be sure to wipe the dirt away instead of just wiping it. Wiping around dirt can spread it and make the panel more difficult to clean.

Not Inspecting Your Panels Regularly

Be sure to inspect your solar panels regularly for dirt, debris, and damage. The sooner you catch a problem, the easier it will be to fix.

Letting Dirt and Chemicals Sit on the Solar Panels

Dirt, debris, and chemicals can damage your solar panels if they’re left to sit. Be sure to clean your panels as soon as possible after they become dirty or contaminated.

Ignoring Signs of Damage

If you notice any cracks, leaks, or other signs of damage on your solar panels, be sure to have them fixed as soon as possible. Ignoring damage can lead to more extensive problems down the road.

Using Abrasive Tools or Materials

Never use abrasive tools or materials on your solar panels. Abrasive materials can scratch the surface of the panel, reducing its efficiency. Instead, stick to using soft cloths and non-abrasive cleaners.

Not Drying the Water Properly

After you’ve cleaned your solar panels, be sure to dry the water properly. Allowing water to pool on the surface of the panel can damage it. Instead, use a soft cloth to wipe away any excess water.

Not Following the Manufacturer’s Instructions

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning and maintaining your solar panels. Ignoring their instructions can void your warranty or cause damage to your panels.

No Turning Off the Power

Before you begin cleaning your solar panels, be sure to turn off the power. Cleaning the panels while they’re turned on can be dangerous and damage the panel.

Not Wearing the Right Clothing

Be sure to wear the proper clothing when cleaning your solar panels. Wear loose-fitting clothes that cover your arms and legs to avoid getting cleaners or water on your skin. Also, wear closed-toe shoes to protect your feet from cleaners and sharp objects.

Not Using a Ladder Safely

If you need to use a ladder to reach your solar panels, be sure to do so safely. Follow all safety instructions and have someone hold the ladder for you. Never stand on the top rung of the ladder or lean too far to one side.

Trying to Clean Too Much at Once

If you try to clean too many of your solar panels at once, you run the risk of damaging them. Work in small sections and be sure to rinse the cleaner off before it has a chance to dry.

Not Protecting Your Solar Panels from the Elements

Be sure to protect your solar panels from the elements when they’re not in use. Cover them with a tarp or store them in a safe, dry place. This will help prevent damage and keep them working properly for longer.

Using a Brush Instead of a Cloth

When cleaning your solar panels, be sure to use a soft cloth instead of a brush. Brushes can damage the surface of the panel and reduce its efficiency.

Not Checking Your Equipment Regularly

Be sure to check your cleaning equipment regularly for signs of wear and tear. Replacing worn-out brushes or hoses can help prevent damage to your solar panels.

Hiring an Inexperienced Cleaner

If you hire someone to clean your solar panels, be sure to hire someone with experience. An inexperienced cleaner could damage your panels or void your warranty.

Not Using a Squeegee

If you’re cleaning your solar panels with water, be sure to use a squeegee. This will help remove any excess water and prevent it from pooling on the surface of the panel.

Using Too Much Pressure

When cleaning solar panels, be sure to use gentle pressure. Using too much pressure can damage the surface of the panel.

Not Rinsing Thoroughly

Be sure to rinse your solar panels thoroughly after cleaning them. Any residual cleaner or chemical can damage the panel and reduce its efficiency.

Not Keeping Your Panels Covered

If you’re not using your solar panels, be sure to keep them covered. This will protect them from the elements and prevent dirt and debris from accumulating on the surface.

Skipping Steps in the Cleaning Process

Be sure to follow all steps in the solar panel cleaning process. Skipping steps can lead to ineffective cleaning and potentially damage your panels.

Using Ammonia-Based Cleaners

One thing you should avoid is using ammonia-based cleaners, as they can damage the surface of the panels. Over time, this damage can reduce the efficiency of the panels and cause them to break down prematurely. If you need to clean your panels, use a mild soap, and water solution instead.

You should also have your panels professionally cleaned every few years to help ensure they continue to operate at peak efficiency. By taking proper care of your solar panels, you can enjoy years of trouble-free operation.

Not Dusting Regularly

Be sure to dust your solar panels regularly. Dust can build up on the surface of the panel and reduce its efficiency. Use a soft cloth or brush to gently remove any dust from the panel.

Not Understanding the Difference Between Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline Panels

Polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels are made of different materials. Be sure to use the proper cleaning products and methods for your type of panel. Using the wrong products or methods can damage your panel.

Are You Making Any of These Solar System Maintenance Mistakes?

Although it may seem like a lot of work, taking care of your solar panels is crucial to ensuring their longevity and maintaining the efficiency of your system. By avoiding these common solar system maintenance mistakes, you can keep your panels clean and damage-free for years to come.

Also, if you’d like to learn more about solar panel maintenance and fixing common solar panel issues, check out our blog and be sure to share this article with anyone you know who is looking to better maintain their solar panel.

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