guest post by Sara Oliver
Solar panels are by nature designed to withstand everything that nature can throw at them and are therefore low maintenance items. That’s the point – low maintenance, not no maintenance. Anything, no matter how well engineered, must take account of Mother Nature.
The cleaning of solar panels is very important to the output of your solar system. Think of a clean car windscreen versus a windscreen that has not been cleaned in 6 months.
Dust build-up during the summer months can result in 5-10% loss of your entire solar energy system. It is recommended that you have your modules expertly cleaned, using only the right materials to ensure system optimisation.
There are a few obvious things that you can pay attention to ensure the most efficient output of your system.
1.Solar power solutions require optimal sunlight.
You should check for shading by fresh growth of trees and shrubs. Solar panels work best when they're north facing, pointed directly at the sun, at an optimal angle and not blocked by trees or shading. The effectiveness of solar panels also depends on where you live and the weather.
2. Being exposed to the atmosphere, solar panels gather an overlay of whatever the air is carrying.
Even in clean air settings panels become dusty. It stands to reason that a dusty panel will return a less than optimal performance, depending on exposure to sunlight. Solar power services should at least include cleaning with water and a coarse cloth. However, solar panel services usually involve a rooftop job that’s probably best done by a professional with appropriate safety gear.
3. Solar power cleaning services should include checking of the panels for discoloration, chips or cracks that might compromise performance.
4. Solar power solutions require optimum performance of all components, including the inverter, isolator and cabling.
These are powerful electrical items and should be inspected and serviced by a licensed electrician. An electrician can ensure the inverter is functioning properly and should go over all switches, connections and wires to make sure they are all in working order. Most electricians can fix any minor issues on the spot.
5. Nothing beats a practiced eye looking over the whole solar power solution.
An experienced electrician will likely notice any structural issues. Remember, all the infrastructure supporting your systems, including struts and frames, is also exposed to the elements and just and vulnerable to damage by rust, vermin or the simple movement of support platforms because of extremes of hot and cold.
Imagine owning a car and never having it serviced. Perhaps it would run along well past the maximum standards of the manufacturer. But it does not take a mechanic to tell you that performance would be suboptimal and, in the end, there could be catastrophic equipment failure.
While solar power systems do not need all of the fuss and attention of a motor car, nevertheless a little TLC will be rewarded by better performance and longevity.
Sara Oliver is the content manager of http://solarservicingsa.com.au/, a website that advocates the use of renewable energy. She loves anything organic and strives to live a healthy, green living.
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