Solar panels are a long term investment and it's prudent to keep the system in good working order. Like a car needs an MOT, or a boiler an annual service, a much larger investment the size of a solar array is definitely worth checking periodically to ensure everything is ticking over. There are several reasons for doing this, read on for why you should get your panels serviced and cleaned regularly.
How Often Should I Get My Solar Panels Serviced?
You might not need to invest in solar panel servicing every year, but at Spirit we recommend servicing at least every couple of years, especially for larger commercial arrays, and cleaning more frequently than that. These services come with with a price tag, depending on the size of the system, however it's not as expensive as you might expect and the loss in efficiency from not getting panels serviced far outweighs the cost of keeping the system clean and up to scratch with a regular service. Additionally, particularly for larger commercial systems, regular servicing may be a requirement requirement for any insurance policy taken out on the system and the normally generous warranties on the panels themselves may be void if not serviced regularly, so it's definitely worth checking the paperwork that came with your system for a gauge on how regularly in should be serviced. Generally, 1-2 years for servicing and annually for cleaning should be sufficient.
Why do Solar Panels Need Cleaning?
We've seen examples of systems not being serviced or cleaned for many years, with unfortunate results. In one case build up of lichen severely degraded the arrays efficiency as less sun was able to make it through to the phototropic layer of the panels, and dust and other particles can have the similar effects as well as bird droppings, or other isuues that can be resolved by a simple clean.
Example of lichen build up on a solar panel:
Cleaning solar panels is not too expensive and a worthwhile thing to do on a yearly basis - just think, the energy you lose from not cleaning them is usually greater than the cost of getting them cleaned regularly, not to mention the additional costs involved if more serious build ups appear due to an extended period of the panels not being cleaned. Cleaning solar panels is extremely important to do regularly if you want to ensure optimal performance.
Early Fault Detection
Servicing your solar panels, as well as being important for warranties and insurance should also be done to ensure any issues with the system are picked up earlier rather than later. Just like an MOT can uncover small issues with a car that can become larger ones down the line if not addressed, the same is true of solar panel systems as well. Early fault detection, for all parts of a solar system, the inverter and wiring as well as the panels themselves can save you money down the line in extra costs to replace parts, as well as the money saved by preventing a fault that could lead to downtime in your system and lost output.
It also worth considering the health and safety aspects of servicing, particuarly if it is owned by a business or landlord. While modern solar panel systems are very safe when installed by a qualified firm or installer, most electrical systems are periodically tested for safety to ensure normal wear and tear do not expose wires or make the product unsafe, think of the PAT testing that office equipment needs or the electrical safety certificate that is a requirement of landlords. Similarly while not a legal requirement, it's very sensible to ensure your solar systems is not a health and safety hazard by getting it serviced regularly.
Regular servicing and cleaning can also increase the longevity of your system, both in terms of the lifetime of the system, and ensuring that it retains as much capacity as possible. Solar panels have a natural degradation of efficiency throughout their lifespan, and not cleaning and checking in on any issues can only worsen this degradation. To keep your panels performing their best, it's important to give them a check up from time to time.
How Spirit Energy Can Help
In summary, it's important to treat your solar panels well in order to maximise the return on your investment. At Spirit we have 14 years experience with servicing a wide array of solar systems, and have a dedicated department specialised in this one aspect of our business. If you haven't sorted a regular service for your system, or haven't had it checked in a few years, get in touch today by calling us on 0118 951 4490 at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat through your options. You can also view some of the packages we offer by viewing our servicing page here or for domestic clients here. We'd be delighted to help you get the best out of your solar system for years to come.