Solar panels can last for years without experiencing any issues. However, they still need a bit of preventative care to keep them running at peak performance levels. This checklist will show you the top four things to check on your solar system to make sure any maintenance is taken care of before small issues possibly become bigger problems.
Solar Energy System Care
In order to properly maintain your solar system, it’s good to be well versed in each component. Solar systems are made up of three major components:
- Solar panels
- Conduit for wiring
Get to know what your specific solar energy system setup is then run through this checklist to keep things ship shape.
Safety Note: Because solar energy systems conduct electricity and are often mounted high off the ground, conducting repairs yourself can be hazardous. This list is intended to offer visual inspection guidelines—not repair suggestions. We always advocate safety first, so contact A.M. Sun Solar if you notice any issues during your visual inspection.
1. Keep an Eye Out for Debris Buildup
Keeping your panels clean and free from any debris ensures you’re maximizing the efficiency of your system. Dust, dirt, or leaves on your solar panels should be removed regularly. A monthly check to make sure your panels are free of any buildup should be enough to keep your system running efficiently.
Don’t attempt to clear your panels yourself if it puts you at risk of a fall. Many solar systems are mounted low enough that cleaning is possible from the ground using a long-handled broom or mop. You’ll want to verify that using such tools won’t void your warranty, however.
For panels mounted higher which limit broom use—we have a solar panel cleaning service to recommend. Hiring professionals can help ensure that your panels receive a thorough cleaning and they won’t be damaged in the process.
2. Check Your Utility Bill and Usage
The billing for your solar energy system is set up to be paid annually. However, it is still a good idea to check your bill every once in a while to make sure there are no surprises at the end of the year.
How To Read Your PG&E Bill
Make sure your statement reads, “Your Net Energy Metering (NEM) Account Summary”, on the first page. If it does not, PG&E may still be billing you for your electric charges. It can take PG&E 1-2 billing cycles to complete the set up of your solar billing. If you have any questions or feel like you may be being charged incorrectly, please feel free to contact our office at (805) 772-6786.
You will continue to receive your PG&E bill every month, even after you have turned on your system. Here are the key things you need to know:
- On page 1 of your bill, there are two dollar amounts shown. The top Total Amount Due, shows the Electric Monthly Charges, which solar does not offset. You will need to pay these minimum delivery charges each month.
- The bottom number next to, YTD Estimated NEM Charges At True-Up, shows the estimated amount you will or will not owe at your one-year True-Up bill with PG&E. This number will vary and could be higher in the winter months and lower in the summer months. If it is close to your one year and it is a positive number, you will owe this at your True-Up.
- If you are concerned about your bill or ever have questions, please call our office at, (805) 772-6786 and we will be happy to look over it with you.
3. Check for Potential Corrosion
Solar panel arrays are made using durable, long-lasting components—most systems can produce electricity for thirty years or more. The racking and the solar energy panels themselves will almost definitely be made from corrosion-resistant materials, but over a long enough time, corrosion can develop and compromise the strength of your system components.
A visual check of your panels for any corrosion, conducted at least once a quarter, gives you the opportunity to address any issues with your system’s hardware before a more serious breakdown occurs. As with many of the other inspection points listed, make sure you call us at 805-772-6786 to perform any component replacements or repairs.
4. Check for Cracks in The Glass
The silicon wafers inside your solar panels are covered by extremely durable tempered glass. This glass is rated to withstand a lot of punishment and is usually strong enough to weather even tough hailstorms. However, fallen tree branches or an especially bad storm, like we had this past winter, can result in broken panels, compromising your system’s output.
If you notice any broken panels, contact us and we can help determine if the panels need to be replaced.
A.M. Sun Solar is Here to Help
If you have any more questions, or spot something on this list, feel free to contact us right away. We will be happy to answer your questions or schedule a time to come out and inspect your solar energy system.
If you don’t have a solar energy system yet, get your free quote today and see how much you could save!