If you’ve recently made the switch to solar energy, you’re probably already enjoying the benefits. However, in order to keep doing so there are some basic things that you’ll need to do to keep your panels maintained. One step that you can take to keep your new gear operating efficiently is to keep it free of leaves and other debris.
When leaves accumulate on the surface of a panel, they can cause micro-scratches. You may not be able to see the evidence with your eyes, but even tiny scratches can reduce efficiency over time. The main reason for this is that scratches cause the sunlight to fracture when it hits the surface of the panel instead of being fully absorbed.
The likelihood of scratches occurring increases once the leaves have dried and lost their moisture content. For this reason, it is best to check your panels shortly after any majorly windy or stormy days to remove leaves while they’re still soft.
When leaves begin to decay, they break down into organic matter and can attract insects. While the occasional bug wandering around your panel is fine, you certainly don’t want them getting too comfortable. Insects may cause damage to the seals on your panels and try to burrow beneath them.
In addition to the risk of attracting insects, the leaf decaying material in and of itself can cause issues such as mildew and mold. Damaged seals can leave your panels vulnerable to moisture damage and short-circuiting.
It is important to note that although leaves should be removed, there is no need to be hypervigilant about it. The solar panels available today are quite resilient. Most solar panels last upwards of 30 years with minimal maintenance without needing to be replaced.
Typically, the natural breeze in the air and occasional rainfall will take care of removing leaves for you. However, roof shape and other factors can all play a roll in the amount of active cleaning that you’ll need to do. For this reason, it is important to check things out from time to time to avoid issues with major debris build-up.
If you have more questions about solar panel maintenance, you’ll want to check out our FAQ guide. It is full of valuable, easy to read the information that will help you to get the most of your switch to green energy.