Solar Panel Maintenance: What You Need to Know

Solar Panel Maintenance

After you have implemented your solar power project, maintaining them to ensure maximum efficiency is crucial. Many investors raise questions about the maintenance of solar panels, and VREnergy will share some useful information on this topic.

Fortunately, solar panels typically have quite impressive durability. They are often made from high-quality materials like tempered glass, anodized aluminum, and have no moving parts (except for tracking arrays). This helps reduce the frequency and cost of maintenance, while enhancing the system’s durability.

And the issue we address here is the maintenance of these panels to ensure maximum efficiency. Regular maintenance not only extends the lifespan of the panels but also helps you save on long-term investment costs.

Be ready to spend time learning about the maintenance of solar panels, ensuring that your system always operates stably and delivers maximum efficiency. You and I, let’s start this journey right now!

Why Solar Panel Maintenance is Necessary

As we know, solar panels typically have a lifespan of 25 to 32 years, enduring all weather conditions to deliver long-term efficiency. So, do we need to maintain solar panels?

Here’s the answer for you!

Maintaining Operational Efficiency

Solar panels operate on the principle of absorbing sunlight and converting it into electrical energy. However, during operation, panels can get covered with dust, leaves, or other objects, reducing their ability to absorb light. Additionally, environmental factors like temperature, humidity, and wind can also affect the panels’ efficiency.

Regular maintenance of the panels helps remove dust, debris, and other objects from the surface, thereby enhancing their light absorption efficiency and the system’s electrical output.

Ensuring Safety and Reducing Incidents

Solar panels are electronic devices, and thus can encounter issues such as electrical leaks or fires. Regular maintenance of the panels helps timely detect and address these issues, ensuring safety for users and the electrical system.

Moreover, maintaining the panels also involves checking electrical connections, wiring, and other devices in the system, ensuring the system’s reliability.

Extending the Lifespan of Solar Panels

The lifespan of solar panels is often advertised as 25 years. However, the actual lifespan can be affected by various factors, including the environment, installation methods, and maintenance.

Regular maintenance of solar panels helps minimize the impact of environmental factors, ensuring that the panels operate under optimal conditions, thereby extending their lifespan.

Thus, maintaining solar panels is essential to ensure the system operates efficiently, safely, and durably.

How to Know When Solar Panels Need Maintenance

The most important aspect of maintaining a solar panel system is closely monitoring its energy output. Often, a decrease in panel efficiency can indicate the need for maintenance.

Although the efficiency of solar panels may naturally decline over time due to aging, any significant efficiency loss in the early stages of use is usually due to dirt accumulation or other obstructions.

Specific cases when solar panel maintenance is necessary:

  • Decreased energy output: If you notice a drop in the energy output from your solar system, it could be a sign that your panels are dirty, damaged, or experiencing efficiency loss.
  • Dirty panels: Dust, leaves, and other objects can accumulate on the surface of the panels, reducing their light absorption capacity and energy output. If you notice your panels are dirty, clean them immediately.
  • Cracked or broken panels: Any cracks or breaks on the panel surface can reduce efficiency or even cause electrical leaks. If you notice any damage to your panels, contact your solar system provider or installer for assistance.
  • Yellowing or discoloration: Yellowing or discoloration on the panel surface can indicate efficiency degradation. If you notice any changes in your panels’ appearance, contact your solar system provider or installer for advice.

Closely monitoring output reduction helps you quickly detect and address issues, thereby maintaining optimal system performance. Regular maintenance, including panel cleaning, ensures stable operation and maximum energy efficiency.

Solar Panel Maintenance Cycle

Like operating a car, you can maximize the use of your solar energy system through continuous maintenance. Although your solar system is built to be durable, your panels are still exposed to all weather conditions outdoors.

So, what does solar panel maintenance entail?

Annual Maintenance

Annual maintenance is the most basic and necessary maintenance cycle for a solar energy system. This cycle includes the following tasks:

  • Panel cleaning: This is the most important task in maintaining a solar energy system. Dust, leaves, and other objects can accumulate on the panel surface, reducing light absorption and energy output. Therefore, regular panel cleaning is necessary to ensure system performance.
  • Electrical connection checks: Electrical connections in the system should be regularly checked to ensure safety and reliability.
  • Other equipment checks: Besides the panels and electrical connections, other system components should also be periodically inspected to detect and address issues promptly.

Periodic Maintenance

In addition to annual maintenance, solar energy systems also require periodic maintenance at the following intervals:

  • After 3 years: Check the support frame, wiring, and other components to ensure they are still functioning well.
  • After 5 years: Check panel performance to determine the extent of efficiency loss.
  • After 10 years: Conduct a comprehensive system check to detect and address potential issues.

Factors Affecting the Maintenance Cycle

The maintenance cycle for a solar energy system can vary depending on the following factors:

  • Environment: Systems installed in dusty environments, areas with many leaves, or exposed to harsh weather conditions require more frequent maintenance.
  • Installation method: Systems installed improperly may be more prone to damage and thus require more frequent maintenance.
  • Brand and quality of panels: High-quality panels may have a longer lifespan and thus require less frequent maintenance.

Users should consult their solar system provider or installer for advice on the appropriate maintenance cycle for their system.

Solar Panel Maintenance Tasks

Maintaining solar panels is an essential part of keeping and optimizing the system’s performance. This includes closely monitoring energy output, regular cleaning to remove dirt, addressing cracks or breaks, and dealing with other issues that can reduce efficiency.

Regular maintenance tasks include:

Panel Cleaning

Cleaning the panels is the most important task in maintaining a solar energy system. Dust, leaves, and other objects can accumulate on the panel surface, reducing light absorption and energy output. Therefore, regular panel cleaning is necessary to ensure system performance.

Panel cleaning can be done using clean water and a soft cloth or a low-pressure washer. When cleaning panels, avoid using strong cleaning chemicals, as they can damage the panel surface.

Electrical System Check

Electrical connections in the system should be regularly checked to ensure safety and reliability. Loose or damaged connections can cause electrical leaks, fires, or reduced system efficiency.

Electrical system checks can be performed using a multimeter or specialized electrical testing equipment.

Checking and Replacing Damaged Components

Components in the solar energy system can become damaged over time. Regular system checks are needed to detect and replace damaged components promptly.

Checking for damaged components can be done visually or with specialized testing equipment.

In addition to the above tasks, during solar energy system maintenance, consider the following:

  • Perform maintenance at appropriate times, avoiding extremely hot or cold weather.
  • Follow proper technical procedures to ensure safety.
  • If inexperienced, hire a professional service to perform solar energy system maintenance.

Regular maintenance of the solar energy system ensures efficient, safe, and durable operation.

Considerations for Solar Panel Maintenance

For those new to solar panel maintenance, especially those with little experience, there can be challenges. To help you feel more confident, here are some tips to minimize unwanted errors during the planning and execution of solar panel maintenance.

  • Follow proper technical procedures: Solar panel maintenance should be performed according to correct technical procedures to ensure safety and effectiveness.
  • Use appropriate tools and equipment: Use suitable tools and equipment for solar panel maintenance. For example, when cleaning panels, use clean water and a soft cloth, avoiding strong cleaning chemicals.
  • Turn off the system before maintenance: Ensure the system is turned off before performing maintenance for safety.
  • Check the electrical system before restarting: After maintenance, check the electrical system to ensure safe operation.

Cost of Solar Panel Maintenance

Regular Maintenance Fees

Regular maintenance fees are necessary for performing routine solar system maintenance tasks, including:

  • Panel cleaning: The most important task in solar system maintenance. Dust, leaves, and other objects can accumulate on the panel surface, reducing light absorption and energy output. Therefore, regular panel cleaning is essential for maintaining system performance.
  • Electrical system checks: Regular checks of the electrical connections in the system are necessary to ensure safety and reliability. Loose or damaged connections can cause electrical leaks, fires, or reduced system efficiency.

Regular maintenance fees are typically calculated based on the system’s capacity, with prices ranging from 1,000,000 – 2,000,000 VND/kWp.

Repair Costs

Repair costs arise when the solar energy system encounters issues that need fixing. The repair cost depends on the extent of damage to the system’s components.

Common damages in solar energy systems include:

  • Cracked, broken, or yellowed panels.
  • Loose or damaged electrical connections.
  • Other damaged electrical components.

Repair costs are usually calculated based on the cost of replacing components and labor.

Solar Panel Maintenance Service Price List

Type of Service

Price (VND)

Solar panel cleaning

1.000.000 – 2.000.000/kWp

Electrical system check

1.500.000 – 3.000.000/kWp

Checking and replacing damaged componentsVaries based on component type and extent of damage

*Note:

  • The cost of maintaining and repairing a solar energy system is usually much lower than the cost of installing the system.
  • Regular maintenance of the solar energy system helps extend its lifespan and minimize repair costs.

Conclusion

Maintaining solar panels is an important task that ensures the system operates efficiently, safely, and durably.

To effectively maintain solar panels, it is necessary to understand and perform the correct maintenance procedures. If you lack experience, it is advisable to hire a professional service to maintain the solar energy system.

Regular maintenance of the solar energy system will help extend its lifespan and reduce repair costs.