This Is What It Takes to Keep Your System up and Running
We tailor each PV system depending on the needs of each client! Our systems are offered with very few maintenance requirements, and we have achieved this by implementing the best practices in the industry.
Did you know that simple daily life conditions like dust, traffic, or even bird depositions can affect the performance of your solar panels? If these factors are not considered when designing the PV systems, you can experience less production than expected and therefore your savings and annual profits decrease significantly.
When the panels are not tilted enough, the soiling tends to accumulate at a fast rate, forming layers of dust and eventually turning into crusts. The design process can be challenging when considering this issue because panels installed with tilts over 20 degrees have fewer problems with soiling, but this tilt is not always optimal for power production. Cleaning the solar panels when there’s no rain is vital to address this issue and maintain the PV system in high-performance conditions. Cleaning can be easily done with water in small residential and commercial buildings.
Bird droppings are difficult to remove and can cause hot spots on the panels – high-temperature points that can break the cells around them. It is good to look at the panels or check if the energy produced matches the expected at least once a month. Some of the tips given by most of the solar PV modules manufacturers to clean correctly the panels include:
- Do not use detergent or any other cleaning agent, do the cleaning only with water.
- Turn off the inverter before cleaning.
- Choose the morning or evening to do the cleaning, as usual times around noon, the surface of the PV panel temperature is very high, and suddenly dropping water on the glass may damage the cells due to the thermal expansion and contraction.
- Use soft bristle brushes or rags.
- Avoid stepping or making pressure on the surface of the panels, even if you do not see the damage, micro-cracks are still formed on the cells due to stepping or kneeling on the surface.
Birds, rodents, and squirrels may use the solar panels as a shelter for nests. Also, rodents are very attracted to wires because of the heat they provide. Furthermore, rodents can chew on solar wires, creating a risk of electrocution, performance losses, and grounding faults. Some inverters detect this ground fault, but others don’t, so this fact must be carefully considered when providing a complete solution for a PV system. A ground fault is dangerous, as it means that there are live parts in the system that should not. It is good that in the design phase EMT or conduit is installed where is necessary, this avoids the damage of pests to the system. If in your situation you are aware of pests nearby, then it is recommended to look under the panels more often.
Inverters are very delicate components of your PV system, if they are outside, they can be a target of bird nests, spider webs, and dust accumulation in the ventilation zones. Moreover, high temperature has a negative impact on the inverter’s performance and its efficiency. Therefore, it is important to keep the cooling system as clean as possible. A regular check every 3 to 4 months is enough.
Even though most inverters are IP 65 classified, it is good to provide them with some kind of awning to avoid direct solar contact and water from rain coming inside these devices.
PV systems have control and protection devices of different types, breakers, differentials, contactors, relays, etc., contactors may present a buzzing noise when they have a failure. Breakers may inadvertently trip for no reason, these failures should be attended to by your installer. A good practice is every year to use the test trip button from the protection and tighten the cable connections.
At Solarside, we make sure that your system is designed in a way that maintenance can be performed in an easy and efficient way. If you’d like to know more about our O&M service, give us a call!