So you’ve decided to go solar and take control of your energy costs. Congratulations! Installing residential solar panels is an exciting step towards energy independence and saving money on utility bills in the long run. But before you dive in and sign that contract to go solar, it’s important to make sure you fully understand what’s involved with installing and maintaining a solar panel system.
As with any major home upgrade, there are practical considerations to keep in mind to ensure your solar panels will work efficiently for years to come. Proper installation and regular maintenance are key. We’ve compiled a list of our top tips for solar panel installation and maintenance to help you make the most of your solar investment. From choosing the right equipment and contractors to ongoing care and cleaning of your panels, these best practices will help your solar panels soak up the sun and keep your energy costs down.
Choosing the Right Solar Panels and Installer for Your Home
Choosing solar panels is a big decision, so do your homework. Compare different panel types – monocrystalline panels are the most efficient but also most expensive, while polycrystalline panels are cheaper but slightly less efficient. For most homes, polycrystalline panels are a great, cost-effective choice.
Find an experienced installer
Once you’ve selected panels, find an installer with a proven track record of residential solar installations. Ask for references from recent local customers and check reviews online. A good installer will evaluate your roof to determine the ideal panel placement and configuration to maximize energy production. They should handle all permits and rebate paperwork for you as well.
Consider a solar lease or loan
Don’t forget that going solar doesn’t have to mean paying tens of thousands of dollars upfront. Many installers offer solar leases or loans that provide an affordable monthly payment option. With a solar lease, you rent the panels and the installer takes care of maintenance. A solar loan lets you own the panels right away while paying over time.
Maintenance is minimal but important
Once your system is installed, solar panels require little maintenance but should still be inspected annually. The installer should check connections, wiring and mounting equipment to ensure maximum efficiency and safety. You’ll also want to keep panels relatively clean – wipe off any dirt or debris a few times a year.
Following these tips will help ensure you end up with an affordable, high-quality solar installation and years of free energy from the sun. Going solar is a big step, but with the right planning and partner, you’ll be soaking in the rewards in no time.
Proper Solar Panel Installation for Optimal Efficiency
For your solar panels to work as efficiently as possible, proper installation is key.
Select the right location
Choose a spot on your roof that gets plenty of direct sunlight throughout the day, free from shade. South-facing roofs are ideal. The location should also be easily accessible for any needed repairs or maintenance down the road.
Ensure secure mounting
Panels must be securely mounted to your roof to withstand weather and last for decades. Hire a professional installer to survey your roof and install the appropriate racking system. They can properly seal and waterproof any roof penetrations to prevent leaks.
Optimize the angle
The angle, or tilt, of your panels impacts how much sunlight they can capture. For maximum efficiency, install panels at the same angle as your latitude. Panels should face within 45 degrees of due south in the Northern Hemisphere or due north in the Southern Hemisphere.
Connect components correctly
Professional installation also ensures all components like panels, inverters, and wiring are properly connected and configured for your system and home. Connections must be tight and weather-resistant.
Consider a professional maintenance contract
Once installed, it’s a good idea to have a professional service contract to keep your system running well for years to come. Schedule annual inspections and servicing to catch any issues early and keep panels clear of dirt and debris for optimal light absorption.
With the proper installation and regular maintenance, your solar panels can provide abundant renewable energy and cost savings for decades. The initial investment in professional installation and service is well worth it!
Maintaining Your Solar Panels for Long-Lasting Performance
To keep your solar panels working efficiently for years to come, perform regular maintenance and inspections.
At least twice a year, clean your solar panels to remove built-up dirt and debris. Use a soft brush and water with a mild detergent, avoiding abrasive cleaners. Rinse the panels with a hose to wash away any remaining dirt or residue. Check that all panels are securely installed and free of any cracks or damage before rinsing.
- Clean the glass panels and frames. Wipe away stubborn stains gently with a microfiber cloth.
- Clear leaves, branches and other debris from around the panels and mounting rack.
- Ensure all wiring and connections are intact with no exposed or frayed wires.
In the spring and fall, do a walk-around of your solar panel system. Look for any signs of damage or needed repairs.
- Tighten any loose nuts, bolts or screws on the panels, racks, and wiring.
- Prune back any overgrown trees or bushes that could shade the panels.
- Note the angle of your panels and adjust as needed for the changing seasons. Panels should be angled more directly at the sun during winter and spring.
- Check that rain gutters and downspouts are clear and diverting water away from the panels. Standing water and moisture buildup can damage panels over time.
Following these simple maintenance tips will help your solar panels function optimally for 20-25 years or more. Staying on top of routine care and being proactive about any issues will save you money in costly repairs down the road. Your energy bill and the environment will thank you!
So there you have it, the essential tips to keep in mind for installing and maintaining your solar panels. If you follow these best practices, your system should provide clean energy for years to come. But don’t forget, as with any technology, solar panels require some TLC. Inspect them regularly, clear off any debris, and check that all connections are tight and secure. And if anything seems off or damaged, don’t hesitate to contact a professional to prevent any issues down the road. Going solar is a big step towards energy independence and saving money, so do it right the first time. Keep these tips in mind, enjoy soaking in the sun’s rays, and here’s to lower electric bills and a greener planet for us all!