Tips for Maintaining Your Rooftop Solar Panels Between Professional Cleanings
One of the perks of investing in solar panels – aside from the abundance of clean energy and a significant reduction (or even elimination) of your energy bills – is the fact that they generally require very little maintenance. In fact, with just a couple of professional cleanings a year, you can expect cheap, renewable energy for 25 or more years. However, there are a few things you can do between cleanings to ensure that your panels are operating at their peak.
Use a Monitoring App
Most of the solar panel manufacturers out there today provide apps that go along with their panels. This means that at any given time, you can open the app and check your panels’ energy output. If you start to notice a decline in energy production over time, it may be worth your while to consider spraying down your panels with a garden hose (especially if it has been very dry during the summer months). If that doesn’t seem to do the trick, you can always contact your local solar panel cleaning service for an additional appointment.
What About Snow?
New England is certainly no stranger to snow, and New Hampshire receives about 60 inches of the stuff annually. It comes as no surprise that home and business owners have concerns about getting the snow off their solar panels. Fortunately, even with some snow on them, your solar panels are still perfectly capable of producing energy. If there are two or three inches of snow sitting on your panels, you’ll notice a drop in production, but you’ll still have energy there.
What happens if the snowstorm is much bigger and dumps 24 inches overnight? It may seem as if your energy production is doomed, but believe it or not, your solar panels are actually pretty good at shedding the snow on their own. The panels are usually either black or dark blue in color, which means they attract and absorb sunlight, and that sunlight generates heat. Over time, and especially if the sun comes out, the panels will melt the snow – even when the temperatures outside are below freezing.
What to Do After a Severe Weather Event
New Hampshire is prone to all kinds of severe weather, ranging from winter storms and hurricanes to hailstones and even the occasional tornado. Most solar panels available today are not only designed but certified to withstand winds of up to 140 miles per hour, and that’s the bare minimum. Solar panels are also tested for resilience against hailstones, and they stand up amazingly well. In Denver, a serious hailstorm in 2017 took out car windows and left huge dents in vehicles, causing horrendous damage both in and around the city.
However, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, which is right outside of Denver, reported only one broken solar panel out of the 3000 on their campus. If you are in a significant weather event and you are concerned about your solar panels, the best thing to do is check your app for a dip in output. If you see one, contact the same company who installed your panels for a repair or replacement.
Maintaining your solar panels between professional cleanings is insanely simple, and more often than not, you won’t have to do anything at all. In fact, even with severe weather, hail, wind, and snow, it’s the dust during the dry season that tends to cause the most problems, and it can be simply sprayed away with a garden hose.