One of the beauties of solar power is that, once installed, solar panels require little maintenance throughout their rated lifetime. The initial startup cost of installation can be a deterrent for many homeowners, but in reality, the monthly energy savings pay back the installation costs relatively quickly. With limited maintenance costs, solar panels really are strong long-term investments.
Solar Panel Efficiency
In general, photovoltaic (PV) systems come with a 20-year warranty and a guarantee that the solar panels will continue to produce at least 80% of their rated power after the initial 20-year period. Solar panel durability has improved in lockstep with improvements in PV technology and manufacturing, however, so a solar panel produced after the year 2000 will only degrade by 0.4% a year. At this rate, it will retain 92% of its original efficiency after 20 years. Yet, even with this minimal degradation, there are some basic maintenance tasks that can be done to reduce the wear and tear on the panels and maintain high efficiency throughout the lifetime of the system.
Clear Dirt & Debris
Homeowners with solar panel installations
should be primarily concerned with keeping the panels free of dirt and debris. This will be a bigger problem in systems with flat-lying panels, as opposed to those oriented at an angle. Anything that covers the panels will reduce the electrical output of the system, so it is important to not let some dust reduce the efficiency of the system. In most cases, simply spraying the solar panels with a hose will suffice, but you could also use a sponge on a pole to squeegee the panels and remove any stickier items, like bird droppings. Many solar companies also offer cleaning services and there are cleaning supplies available for purchase on the internet.
Ensure Access to Sunlight
Similar to keeping the panels clear, it is important to ensure clear access to sunlight. Solar access could be impeded by overgrown vegetation or new structures, so always keep an eye on what’s happening south of the installation. It may be necessary to trim back some trees or talk to your neighbor so they don’t block your sunlight.
Solar panels are more susceptible in harsh climates, particularly those that experience heavy snowfall, strong winds, or frequent hail. If space and the angle of the panels permit, homeowners may consider erecting a buffer to protect the panels from the worst of the climate. Reducing the direct impact to the solar panels will extend their lifetime and improve efficiency.
There are other, rarer, things to look out for as well. Ideally, your solar panels will not much that can fall on them, but there could be instances when they are damaged by hail, or falling sticks, or a rogue cat. Keep an eye out for broken glass on the top of the panels; if there is broken glass the solar panel
could be compromised and will need to be replaced.
A recent study shows that photovoltaic systems are reliable and operating as expected, with 80% to 90% of all systems performing within 10% of the predicted production or better. This peer-reviewed study was based on the largest to date assessment of 100,000 solar systems. Newer solar panels have even lower rates of degradation, so are likely to produce 85-90% as much electricity after 25 years as they did when new.
The lifespan of a solar panel is much longer than its “energy payback time,” or the time it takes for a solar panel to produce enough clean energy to “pay back” the energy that was used in its manufacturing processes.
The June 2014 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) report, which assess the impact of the Federal Power Act, indicates that natural gas is still leading the nation in installation capacity for the year overall. However, those numbers only record utility installations and do not account for residential rooftop and commercial installations of solar electric panels
. Many industry professionals suggest that if that data was available, solar energy would be leading the the U.S. in installations.
The Solar Industries Association (SEIA) states that over 44 percent of solar energy units that were installed over the first quarter of the year were non-utility, which is a significant chunk of the industry.
According to The Eco Report, if those numbers kept up through the end of June, solar would certainly be the leader in energy sources across the nation.
President and CEO of the SEIA, Rhone Resch, said in a press release that solar has already and will continue to be a huge booster for the national economy.
“Solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy today – and, as this report bears out, it will continue to be for years and years to come,” said Resch. “The continued, rapid deployment of solar nationwide will create thousands of new American jobs, pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy and help to significantly reduce pollution.”
With the country trending toward solar power, many Coloradoans have begun looking into ways of making their homes solar-friendly. This conversion saves homeowners on utility costs by creating a more energy-efficient living space. If you are interested in learning more about your solar options, contact Golden Solar today for a free at-home consultation.
Everyone knows what it feels like to dread your power bill each month. In fact, most people have considered switching over to solar power in their homes. Perhaps you have too. It is a tempting idea but frequently it seems too daunting and confusing, so you decide to go without. Well today we’re going to explain why it’s not as difficult as it seems, it’s actually not difficult at all when compared with the extensive benefits you’ll experience!
So have no fear, your beginners guide to solar power in your home is here!
By going green with solar power not only do you get to feel good about saving the environment but you’ll also save money in the long run. Tax breaks, rebates and lack of an electric bill are all amazing benefits of installing a solar power system
in your home.
So what do you need to consider?
You’ll want to think about the following when making the jump to solar panels:
- Space. Where can you place the panels in your home to maximize their exposure to sunlight and ensure you’re getting the most out of them?
- Installation costs. The cost of installing solar panels may seem high but when you that consider against the cost of your electric bill over time it’s really quite reasonable. Additionally, the government frequently offers tax breaks and rebates, so be sure to do your research!
Finding an installer:
Of course when you’re looking for someone to install your solar panels it’s tempting to select the cheapest option, but that is not necessarily the best option! You’ll want to keep in mind that your solar power system is meant to last for 25-30 years. With that type of time you want to select an installer with the proven experience and qualifications to do the job! A great contractor will answer any of your questions confidently and provide a comprehensive warranty for issues in the future. With an experienced installation team this process is much simpler than it seems.
Once you’ve considered space and installation costs, and found an installer you trust, you’re ready to take the plunge! The sooner you get started on your solar panel installation
, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits of it. Ask your installer for any advice he has to make the process simpler and get ready for an environmentally friendly home and happier wallet in the long run! When you decide on a solar power system, you’ll always feel good about your decision.