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What Solar Companies Need to Tell Their Customers About Maintenance and Repairs

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Jane Marsh's picture
Editor Environment.co

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.

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  • Aug 23, 2022
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Solar panels can last for decades with the proper upkeep. However, once some people get them installed on a home or business, they may think there’s no need to give them any attention in the future. Representatives from solar companies must provide them with accurate, reliable information.

A Drop in Output Is Not Necessarily Problematic

Many solar panel manufacturers offer accompanying apps that let customers track the output of their panels. If they notice sudden drops, that could mean it’s time to clean off the dirt, pollen, leaves, and other things that can accumulate during typical use.

On the other hand, solar panel representatives should tell customers that these products lose some capacity each year. The amount is typically less than 0.5%, making it marginal.

Additionally, sweltering weather can cause up to a 25% drop in solar panel efficiency. That’s because the heat excites too many of the panel’s electrons, hindering how much of the sun’s light gets converted into electricity.

The guidance from solar panel companies should ideally advise people to remain aware of what constitutes average output. However, if that figure changes and starts going in the wrong direction, it doesn’t immediately warrant a maintenance appointment.

Take Care When Cleaning the Solar Panels Yourself

Keeping solar panels clean can make them more efficient. However, some people should not try to do it themselves. Research indicated 290,000 home improvement attempts in 2020 resulted in emergency room trips. Even the simplest tasks have accompanying risks, and that’s true when cleaning solar panels.

For example, the threats are bigger if the solar installation is on a steep roof or otherwise hard to reach. Moreover, people can get electrocuted in one of three ways if they try to clean their panels without turning them off first. The threat of slipping and falling also always exists when using water for any reason.

Some people also find it’s faster and more convenient to let someone else handle the cleaning. One company offers a water-free robotic system for solar panels.

People from solar panel companies should always recommend customers follow the manufacturer’s guidance for cleaning methods and frequency. Beyond that, they should suggest that clients always be careful and consider whether it may be easier and safer to let professionals do the work.

Budget for Possible Solar Panel Repairs

Statistics indicate approximately 80% of the energy supply comes from fossil fuel sources. However, that should gradually change for the better, particularly as solar power and other renewable options become more affordable. People must not overlook expenses associated with solar panel repairs as they explore whether they can fit the products into their budgets.

Inverter shutdowns or other malfunctions necessitate getting a professional’s advice about fixes. Issues can also happen to make repairs necessary because of external factors.

Consider the case of a homeowner in Toronto, Canada, who had to pay $6,000 in panel repairs and replacements due to golf ball damage. The affected homeowner lives near a golf course and thinks someone should install netting or a similar barrier to stop the problem from happening again to someone else.

When people experience abnormalities with the panels, they must check the warranty to clarify the coverage scope. Relatedly, customers should confirm what happens if a company goes out of business and whether authorized repair professionals operate in the area.

Not all manufacturers have a nationwide network of professionals to handle warranty claims. That could leave people in a bind if the manufacturer has a warranty-related obligation to fix something but the customer’s location has no approved technicians.

Dispose of Solar Panels Properly

Solar panels are generally durable and low-maintenance products due to their lack of moving parts. However, occasions will arise that necessitate discarding malfunctioning or obsolete panels.

When it’s time to do that, people must dispose of them in ways that limit toxic waste. Some companies offer recycling initiatives, but those are still rare and not yet cost-effective solutions.

The best option is to learn about state-specific laws, regulations, and programs, if applicable. Getting rid of solar panels is a matter not always considered. However, people are becoming more aware of it due to the growing number of panels reaching the end of their expected life spans.

Help Customers Enjoy Their Solar Panels

Ensuring that people know the points mentioned here gives them the knowledge needed to make their solar panels good investments that last through their expected life spans. When they know how to perform the necessary upkeep and when to hire people for repairs, they’ll also think of solar panel companies more favorably.

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Thank Jane for the Post!
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Julian Silk's picture
Julian Silk on Aug 24, 2022

Thank you for the post.

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