Commercial solar installations in California can transform the power game for small or large businesses. They are an excellent investment that provides incredible long-term benefits. Continue reading this piece to learn about commercial solar panel maintenance.
A few years ago, commercial solar in California was somewhat of an enigma. However, its popularity is skyrocketing quickly, with more businesses utilizing solar energy to power their operations. It powers entire business operations while saving on energy costs.
Solar power in California generates renewable energy in the form of usable electricity. A commercial solar system can produce solar energy for years, given that you follow the ideal maintenance practice to increase and maintain its shelf life.
Let us discuss everything you need to know about maintaining commercial solar.
Does A Commercial Solar System Require Maintenance?
Installing a commercial solar system makes perfect sense for businesses looking to lower their utility costs and reduce their carbon footprint. Besides providing financial and environmental perks, solar energy can give you more power security, amongst other advantages.
The incredible benefits are highly compelling for California businesses, especially since there are no significant drawbacks to going solar. If you are beginning to explore solar technology, you may wonder how long it will benefit you. When considering a solar system’s lifespan, you may wonder whether solar panels need maintenance.
If you are looking for a simple answer, it is that yes, a commercial solar system requires maintenance. However, solar panels are typically less maintenance than other power systems, as they do not have moving parts.
Many people have a common misconception that solar panels are fragile since they are made of glass, leading them to believe that they may be high maintenance. The statement is not entirely true, as solar panels only require periodic cleaning.
In fact, they are highly durable and have excellent longevity, with most companies offering warranties for up to twenty-five years. Commercial solar systems’ peak performance is measured in decades instead of years.
That said, you must understand, learn, and follow operations and maintenance (O&M) to ensure your commercial solar panels are always in top-notch condition. Essentially, you only need to remove leaves, dirt, debris, snow, and other things that might obstruct the sun’s rays. These components can block sunlight and hinder the commercial solar system’s performance.
Is It Possible to Maintain the Health of Your Commercial Solar Panels?
Solar panel monitoring systems are available to monitor your solar energy output, which can determine the health of your solar panels. Business owners can use mobile applications to stay alert when their business’ solar panels’ output decreases.
Often, a low energy output indicates obstruction in your solar panels, such as dirt or debris. Besides, leaves and snow can also reduce solar panels’ ability to generate optimal amounts of electricity.
Integrating a solar panel monitoring system in your commercial solar setup allows you to track solar energy production on any given day. You can also get insights on total solar energy production over time.
As such, these solar power systems enable business owners to determine how various external factors can influence their solar panels’ performance. They can also see how well the solar panels are maintaining their efficiency. What else? Monitoring systems can provide alerts when solar panel breaks or starts malfunctioning, allowing owners to repair or replace them promptly.
How to Maintain Your Commercial Solar System
Solar panels are a long-term business investment, but they require periodic maintenance to ensure benefits for decades. Besides annual inspections, solar owners can follow the following maintenance tips to ensure efficient clean-energy production yearlong.
1. Keep the Solar Panels Out of Shade
As you probably know, solar panels require sunlight to work efficiently. They harness the sun’s rays to create usable electricity that powers a building. Therefore, shade and light can influence solar panels in several ways, especially their ability to function effectively.
For instance, shade prevents the sun’s rays from hitting the solar panels. As a result, they produce less solar energy, and the panels fail to meet their expected generation rates. Indeed, eliminating shade can be difficult in many regions.
However, trimming trees and taking other measures can help block it to some extent. It can help ensure that sunlight reaches the solar panels. Additionally, you want to trim overgrown foliage regularly to keep your system out of shade.
2. Keep a Check on the Solar Inverters
A solar system comprises components other than panels. While the solar cells in the panels capture sunlight to absorb solar energy, the inverters play a significant role.
These components are necessary to turn the direct current from the solar panels into alternating current for use. Besides, inverters send the current in the form of usable electricity to your commercial building to power the essential appliances and keep the necessary operations running.
Therefore, checking on your solar inverters is vital to maintain your commercial solar system’s longevity. Ideally, you must ensure all the inverters’ LEDs are green, indicating normal function. Apart from yearly inspections, you can check the inverters every few months to ensure the inverters are working well.
Of course, you will know when your solar inverters malfunction or stop functioning altogether. But keeping an eye helps identify minor problems before they become more significant. Checking the inverters regularly usually indicates any potential issues before they start.
3. Document Your Solar Panels’ Performance
Many solar owners often overlook the importance of monitoring and documenting the performance of their solar panels. However, it is among the most crucial things to do to maintain a commercial solar system’s efficiency.
As already discussed, monitoring your solar panels’ health, aka performance, is possible. You can use solar panel monitoring systems like mobile applications to keep track of your commercial solar energy output daily and over varying periods. Additionally, an energy monitor can help spot “dead” panels that have stopped working and are not producing electricity.
Besides monitoring your solar energy output for determining performance, you want to document it. Documenting your solar panels’ performance means noting down the kWhs produced monthly.
Additionally, it would be great to write down any issues regarding the solar inverters or shading. Ideally, you should keep checking back on your documented information to keep track of the solar system’s overall efficiency rate and performance.
You can use various digital programs to save the necessary information. Keeping up with the numbers can help you stay alert and provide timely repair, replacement, etc.
4. Remove Obstructions from the Surface of the Solar Panels
Several things like dirt, debris, snowfall, and leaves can gather on the surface of solar panels. Besides being an eyesore, these things can impact the solar panels’ ability to function efficiently. As a result, your commercial solar system may not produce the expected amounts of usable electrical energy.
You may wonder how this factor influences the effectiveness and efficiency of your solar panels. Well, lying on the surface, leaves, debris, and snow can obstruct the sunlight from reaching the solar panels. When the sun’s rays are blocked from getting into the panels, the solar panels cannot generate solar energy to power your business operations.
Therefore, taking care of any obstructions, you notice on the surface of the solar panels is crucial. While you can get on the roof and remove the obstructions, professionals can clean your solar panels more efficiently. Not to mention, you may not feel comfortable cleaning the solar panels.
Besides leaves, snow, and regular debris, you may also want to keep bird droppings in mind. Birds like to take advantage of solar panels to sit during the day. As a result, bird droppings can often build up on the surface of the solar panels, blocking the sunlight from entering the solar panels. Bird droppings especially become an issue for solar panels installed close together, as birds use them for resting more frequently.
Safely Cleaning Solar Panels
Fortunately, cleaning solar panels is easy. You can perform the cleaning in several ways using a few tools to help do the task safely. The soft-bristled brush head, hose attachment, soft-wash solution, and telescoping pole are the things you will need. When cleaning your solar panels, remember that less is more; this will help prevent scratches and damage to the solar panels.
- When cleaning your solar panels, you want to avoid a few things to ensure you do not damage them. For example, you should avoid hard, cold, or high-pressure water, abrasive sponges, and solvent-based cleaners.
- Besides obstructions, you should regularly check your solar panels’ electrical wiring and connections. Corrosion and chews by critters can lead to less power production.
- Make sure to hire a professional solar panel cleaning and maintenance service for regular keep-up of your commercial solar system.
Maintain Your Commercial Solar to Increase their Longevity
Commercial solar systems in California do not require much maintenance, though you should keep a few things in mind. Regular inspections and cleanings can help maintain your commercial solar system’s efficiency and increase its longevity. Get in touch with Coldwell Solar to help with the maintenance of your commercial solar power system.