Maintenance points for Solar Panels

So now you have installed a rooftop solar plant or a ground mounted one, but want to ensure about the longevity of the plants life. Well, as your solar installer might have told you that these plants have very less maintenance requirement. All that is required is a cleaning cycle once in a month. Cleaning is importance to remove the direct / dust which is on the solar panels and can affect the output of the solar plant drastically. If you had installed the plant as an investment perspective, you definitely don’t want this hampering your returns.

I am considering you have installed the solar plant on your ground or rooftop via a reliable solar plant installer. This means, you don’t have to worry about the solar panels from being blown away or the structure falling on your roof and only carry out some routine maintenance on the plant. Maintaining solar farms can seem like a huge task, but with this list, you will have a starting points.

General maintenance of the plant can be divided into three fronts:

  • Defect Checking

  • Structure Stability

  • Cleaning

Warning: A solar plant is designed to be in the sun light maximum time of the day, thus the components of the plant might be hot and burn your hand - especially the solar panels. Use gloves and all the preventive tools and precautions while working on the plant to avoid getting yourself electrocuted.

List of Points for your Solar Panel Maintenance Plan on Defect Checking and Structure Stability:

  • The connection device between the solar module and the wire which might be black in colour, is called a MC4 connector. See if there is any unusual movement between the male and female locks of the MC4 connector.

  • (Warning: Do not do this if you are not qualified BW Technician) At the input and output of your grid-tied inverter there would be two boxes containing safety instruments. Check by removing the fuses on both DC and AC side, if there are any burnt signs.

  • Check the connections going in the inverter, to ensure they are not having any play. If any do not attempt to temporary tighten it, call the on-grid solar inverter manufacturer for more details. Do a quick visual inspection to verify all the led lights and display screen on the solar inverter is working properly.

  • (Warning: Do not do this if you are not qualified Technician) Using a voltmeter and clamp-meter, see the voltage and ampere readings of the DC output wire which is coming out of your DCDB box. Correlate them with the expected values provided by your solar installer.

  • Check the bolts which are holding the solar panels if they are tightly screwed and there is no play. If there is, tighten them.

  • If possible, try to keep a spray paint matching the colour of your rooftop solar structure. If you see any places where rust has started to grow, spray on it immediately.

Solar panels being cleaned

List of points for cleaning your solar plant:

  • Remove any dust which might be present on the inverter by dry cloth, especially on the area where fans might be present if your inverter has one.

  • Solar Modules require the maximum amount of cleaning maintenance thus cleaning activities are majorly concentrated around them. Cleaning is generally done by using soft water and a soft mob. Do not use any kind of hard cleaning tool as it might leave micro scratches on the solar panel.

  • Visually inspect the solar modules prior to cleaning them to ensure how intense cleaning cycle is required for this time. If you find many bird dropping spots, some hardened dirt particles or anything of this sort, then you might need to do a deep cleaning.

  • Using a wet mob, remove all the easily removable dirt and dust particles on the solar panels. The hard ones might remain, but let them be for now as mob might not be the best tool to remove them.

  • Take a thick but soft sponge or cloth, wet it with water and rub on the hard dirt spots. Bird droppings might be the toughest ones to remove. If they still don’t budge, you can use special cleaning detergents for solar panels or simply use a mild bathing soap bar.

As a general rule, you can perform the maintenance services once every three months and cleaning service every month.

People working maintenance on solar panels

You should also monitor the health of your solar plant via the online monitoring app provided by your installer. This app can show you generation graphs online and you can use it to easily check the performance of your plant. Ensure that the units produced in the current month are inline with the units produced in the years before this for the same month. Generally, the units should match with a variation of no more than 10-15%.

If your installer provides a comparative service like Bigwit Energy does, then you will be able to compare the generation of your rooftop solar plant with other solar plants in your neighbourhood. Variation in the output, can indicate a requirement for maintenance need. For Eg: If you reside in 35 Sector, Chandigarh and have installed a 5kW rooftop solar plant. The company can monitor the output energy for all the solar plants installed in and around Sector 35, Chandigarh for a “per kW output” rating for the month. This rating will have to be adjusted for the components you opted for during installation like type of solar modules, inverter type, direction of the solar plant, size of the plant, etc. Climate data is then used to relate with any significant drops in the generation output. By comparing this "per kW output" rating of all the other solar plants with yours will provide a in depth performance report and can immediately indicate a need of preventive maintenance.

The above points if you perform periodically, ensure that the life of the solar plant is preserved. Bigwit Energy through a combination of remote monitoring and on-ground checks ensures a hassle-free solar energy experience. We also provide with professional maintenance and cleaning services, details about which you can read here.

Board on solar panels installed with BigWit Energy written on it

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