Maintaining Your Solar System

A fun fact that I came across when I was trying to learn more about the solar system that I installed at my house was solar panels are supposed to last between 15 to 25 years. To put it into perspective if you had a baby and decided to celebrate the coming of your new bundle of joy by installing yourself a solar system, that baby would be in Form 3 by the time you expect to see the performance of your solar panels deteriorate. But, as can often be the case, reality and expectation can be distant relatives. Within a few years you start to see compromised performance from your system with very little clue as to why. An honest enough soul-searching exercise will draw you to ask yourself, how do I maintain my solar system? Let’s talk about it.

Clean your panels

As daftly simple as it may seem, this is an often overlooked solution so we will start with this one. The premise is very simple. Solar panels work according to exposure to the sun. Dirt can limit that exposure to the sun. So a dirty panel means compromised performance. You need to periodically, but not frequently, clean your solar panels. Over time things like dirt, leaves and other nature inspired impediments can settle on your panels. So about every six months just take the time to give your panels some much-needed love.

Check your batteries

Normally you would have batteries integrated into your home or commercial solar system so that you have something in the tank for night time. You will notice after some years that the “battery low” alarm has started ringing somewhat earlier than when you first embarked on the solar journey. That is because, unlike you suped up solar panels, batteries actually have a much shorter lifespan. So the panels  are drawing in plenty from the sun for the inverter to convert and use but the batteries will lack the capacity to store all that. So it will be a case of the panel being willing but the battery being weak.😅 So set a schedule for your batteries. Prepare yourself for a time, most likely after 3 to 5 years, when you will replace your batteries before they quit on you.

Pay attention to your inverter display

The display on your inverter reflects input current, output voltage, battery power, charging status etc. It is important to understand what all those numbers mean and what they are supposed to look like when all parts are healthy. The prerequisite for any maintenance is for one to first know when things are correct so that they immediately recognize when things have gone wrong. It’s much like how a doctor takes your temperature during a physical to see if you’re healthy. He knows the temperature of a healthy human being and will notice as soon as you stray from that. So knowing the figures associated with a healthy system help you know when it has encountered a problem.

All in all we are not all electrical engineering experts but at the very least we can do the least that we can do to at least prolong the life span of our system as much as we can. Spending a little bit of time observing and adjusting will prevent you from spending a lot of money in repairs and overhauls.

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