By Soni Sheimar, general manager of Easi-Dec
Solar panels might seem like they don’t need much maintenance, and to a certain extent this is true, the lack of moving parts like you would find in generators means there is nothing to repair or replace and nothing that can rust or breakdown.
However, this does not mean once your panels are installed you can simply forget about them, to ensure they are working at full capacity you must keep them maintained, with maintenance being the key to sustaining a strong, functional and efficient system.
What Do I Need to Do?
Cleaning your panels is by far and away the most important aspect of solar panel maintenance. Solar cells are made of semiconductors, a material that absorbs a portion of the light’s energy and frees electrons; the flow of these electrons is controlled by electric fields. When metals are placed above and/or below the solar cells, energy can be drawn from the electric current to be used externally to power devices.
However, for these semiconductors to do their job, the surfaces of the panels need to be clean and clear of dirt, debris and droppings. If the sun can’t reach them, you won’t be getting power.
Good to know: regular rainfall might not be great for power production, as dark skies means less light, but the rain itself is great for cleaning panels. If you live in an area with regular rainfall, you might never need to clean your panels. It’s always good to keep an eye on them, however.
The simplest and safest way to clean your panels is with a garden hose, which can be done from the ground or from a sturdy platform, avoiding the need to get up and onto the roof. You can also use a squeegee on a long pole, like the type used to clean tall windows, along with some soapy water.
However, if the panels need a little more elbow grease and require you to get up onto the roof, there are some other options you can pursue.
Important: if the panels are too high or too dirty to be cleaned from a high level platform, you should consider contacting a local solar panel cleaning firm. They are in abundance and a simple online search will almost certainly bring up the right one for you.
Contacting a professional firm removes the need for you to climb up onto the roof yourself, and could help avoid a serious injury if you are not trained or not competent enough to do it yourself.
The Easi-Dec Way
Easi-Dec’s Solar Ladder system is an efficient and safe way of maintaining your solar panels without having to bring in an external firm each time.
The Solar Ladder has been designed to form a bridge over the panels and provide a practical way of working when maintaining solar panel arrays. The bridging ladder provides 23 centimetres of clearance from the roof to the underside of the stile, allowing plenty of workspace, and up to 4.6 metres free span over the roof.
Simply roll the ladder up the roof on the soft rubber wheels, and then flip it 90˚ into position ensuring there is enough space for the Solar Ladder's “sky” to sit between the panel and the roof’s ridge. The special roof hook can be fixed to any rung, with the excess length flying the ridge.
Features include a fully stiffened construction, therefore avoiding deflection and damage to panels underneath, a detachable hook for easier transportation, soft rubber wheels and an optional workstation.
The ladder can be moved along the ridge with the use of special wheels fitted to the roof hook in either direction without it being taken down, allowing for easier repositioning than with normal roof ladders.
If you decide to install more arrays on your property or another property, the Solar Ladder is great for installation as well as maintenance.
Remember: the goal of a solar panel array is to get a good return on your investment, so it’s important to do what you can to make sure yours are running at maximum capacity. Easi-Dec sells a range of solar products which make installing and maintaining arrays much simpler.
*All users must be competent and trained for working at height.