Residential solar panels have been around for a long time. Today more than 2 million homes have solar panels according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and they project installations to double by 2023. Solar panels can save money on homeowners’ energy bills and they contribute to a healthier environment as a source of renewable, clean and consistent energy.
How do Solar Panels Hold Up Through Winter Weather?
Solar panels are a great investment that can provide reliable energy for approximately 25-30 years. In many cases, high-quality solar panels can produce at least 80% of the power rating after more than two decades of use. Yet, like any important mechanical system in your home, like the heating, cooling, and hot water systems, solar panels need to be maintained properly and regularly to keep them in great condition so that they provide reliable service over a long lifetime.
When is Solar Panel Maintenance Necessary?
In general, watch constantly for damage. If there is a severe hailstorm, inspect your panels for damage. Report that to your solar panel installer. If high winds cause heavy debris to be thrown around, they might hit the roof with enough force to crack or dislodge a panel. Inspect the roof and panels for damage and report the issues for repair.
Winter weather in the Bay Area brings wind and rain. Wind can cause dirt and debris to be deposited on the solar panels and intermittent rain can cause dirty spotting on the panels. Usually, heavy rain is good because it will wash off normal dirt and debris. Yet periodic washing is still recommended.
Leftover from the summertime may be deposits of debris from the windy effects of summer wildfires. And, left over from the fall may be deposits of leaves and other organic materials. These need to be cleaned up before the winter weather hits.
How to Maintain Solar Panels in The Bay Area’s Winter Weather
Basic solar panel maintenance can be done by the homeowner. Use these simple tips:
- Use a blower or soft brush to remove any deposited leaves and debris. (Don’t use metal objects.)
- Use a good nozzle attachment to your garden hose to spray the panels with water.
- Most manufacturers recommend cleaning panels at least twice each year. But more frequent cleaning may be necessary in windy or dirty conditions.
In every case, if you see damage call us for help. Do not try to repair cracks or broken supports yourself!