Solar Panel Maintenance and Care: Maximize Output
Once you have done all the hard work and the solar energy system is in order, it is very easy to forget about the solar panels. While the solar panels are usually visible, most homeowners will not think about their condition after the installer has left. If you are considering powering a house with solar panels or you already have a system in place, then you need to make a few steps to be guaranteed of maximum output. When everything is working optimally, your solar panels can produce the highest power and you can get a desirable Return on Investment (ROI).
Utilize Daylight Hours More Often
We all know that solar panels get their energy from sunlight so they only generate electricity during the day. Homeowners can get more value from the system if they use most of this free energy. There are several ways of utilizing solar energy during the day including:
- Set energy hungry equipment for daytime operation- timers can help
- Recharge devices during the day and unplug at night
- Use equipment with rechargeable batteries – vacuum cleaners, cordless kettles
- Install inverters that have energy management features e.g. Fronius Inverters
Perform an Energy Audit
Making adjustments on your energy usage starts with understanding how appliances are drawing energy. The most basic step is determining the amount of solar energy produced daily. Nowadays, there are sophisticated systems that give live feeds using online platforms. With some of the systems available, you could even conduct audits on individual appliances in the house. Are you unsure which device uses the most electricity? You can switch off all of them, and then switch then on one by one. This way, you will be able to rank the appliances in terms of power consumption.
The end game of this process is to pinpoint areas of unnecessary high consumption and introduce measures. Do you still hold the original motivation for powering a house with solar panels? Perhaps you should even check the type of appliances you are buying. Use energy efficient appliances to get the most from your system.
Clean the Solar Panels
Being on the roof, solar panels are bound to get dirty over time. Despite the fact that the some dirt is washed away by rainwater, some stubborn stains will remain on the solar panels. Birds are particularly fond of staining the panels. This can significantly affect the amount of power the system generates.
For the sake of your safety, consider washing the modules from the ground. A squeegee and a soft brush are enough. Add a hose a stream of water and you are good to go. Of course, you may need a long extension to reach the panels. Please note that you should only climb the roof if you have the appropriate safety clothing and training on working at heights.
What is the best time to clean the panels? Avoid cleaning during a hot sunny day as the water will evaporate quickly leaving dirt smears on the surface. Mornings, evenings and overcast days are the best.
A report dubbed The Future of Solar Energy with five recommendations on how the government can enhance the growth of solar power further. At the level of a person powering a house with solar panels, the requirement is much less than allowing third party ownership, charging for carbon pollution and allowing third party ownership. Homeowners are only tasked to clean the panels often; perform an energy audit; utilize daylight hours and such manageable things. Using solar energy prudently is simply about maintaining the output of the system while managing energy usage in the home.
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