With weather conditions more severe in Australia than ever, seasonal repair and maintenance of solar panels have become even more important.
Living in Ballarat, we’re no strangers to the whims of Mother Nature. Our weather can be as unpredictable as a cricket match – sunny one day and overcast the next. This variability isn’t just a topic for small talk; it plays a significant role in how we care for our solar panels.
Regular maintenance isn’t just good practice; ensuring your solar panels perform at their best, rain or shine, is essential.
Let’s now answer some of the most pressing questions concerning the repair and maintenance work of your Solar Panels as the season changes in Ballarat.
How Often Should You Conduct Seasonal Solar Panel Repair and Maintenance
Regular maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your solar panels. Seasonal maintenance, in particular, is crucial as it addresses the specific challenges and wear and tear that come with each season. Here’s a guideline on how often you should conduct this maintenance.
Timing: Conduct a thorough inspection and cleaning once in the spring. This is crucial after winter, as harsh weather can leave debris, snow residue, or even cause minor damage.
Focus Areas: Check for any damage from winter storms, clear any accumulated debris, and ensure all connections are secure.
Timing: Mid-summer is a good time for a check-up, especially in areas with high temperatures and lots of sun.
Focus Areas: Look for any signs of overheating, ensure the cooling systems (if any) are working properly, and clean the panels to remove dust and pollen.
Timing: An inspection in early autumn can prepare your panels for the coming winter.
Focus Areas: Clear leaves and other debris that can accumulate during this season and check for any damage from summer storms.
Timing: Before the onset of winter or in early winter, depending on your local climate.
Focus Areas: Ensure the panels are secure against heavy snow and strong winds, and check the wiring and insulation.
Addressing specific seasonal solar panel maintenance issues
Regular cleaning during Spring and Summer
Dirty solar panels can reduce their efficiency by 5%. The accumulation of dirt and dust on the surface of solar panels can block the rays of the sun from reaching parts of the cells, thereby reducing their output.
The winter season can bring with it fallen autumn leaves and dirt accumulated after rains, which should be cleaned before the spring season begins to make the most of the summer sunshine.
Birds, squirrels, and other small animals may try to find shelter under the solar panels during the winter season. This can lead to nests, accumulation of debris, and sometimes serious damage due to chewed wiring or broken panels.
To prevent such issues, consider installing mesh or screens creating a perimeter around the panels.
Inspection for damage after extremer weather conditions
From immediate damage to solar panels, such as cracks, breakage, or loose wiring, to serious issues such as exposed wiring, short circuits, or risk of fire, anything thing can go wrong.
Heavy rains, storms, or floods during winter and bushfires during extreme summers, can leave your solar panels vulnerable to damage. Such events might also create favorable conditions for pest infestations.
It’s a good idea to call a professional help and get your solar system inspected for any minor defect that may have occurred due to the weather. This will ensure they keep working efficiently and do not pose any risk of fire or electrocution.
Monitoring performance during heat waves
During a heat wave in Ballarat, can your solar panel get too hot and produce less energy? The short answer is yes! For a 1-degree Celsius rise in the temperature over 25, the efficiency of a solar panel goes down by about 0.5%.
There are several ways to ensure that your panels keep working optimally during this time of the year.
First of all, you need to monitor the temperature to which your panels are exposed. This can be done by using a thermal camera or infrared thermometer. Next, you need to monitor the output. Any significant drop in the energy output indicates a temperature rise.
You can ensure proper ventilation around the panels to keep them from overheating. You can also consider trimming vegetation, if any, that might be restricting the airflow.
Keep the panels clear of dirt. When the panels are already heated, this may worsen things. You can use cool water to clean the panels to lower the surface temperature.
Extreme weather conditions can also result in heat damage. Make sure to inspect your panels for any signs of discoloration, warping, or melting.
Also consider reducing your energy use during peak heat hours, to reduce the load on your system.
Ensuring optimum tilt and position before Winter and Summer
Does tilting your solar panel make a difference as the weather changes? Of course, it does!
Winter Solar Panel Prep
When winter’s coming, it’s smart to tilt your solar panels more. Why? Because the sun is lower in the sky, and a steeper angle helps catch more sunlight. This is super important in winter when days are shorter. Also, check around for things like trees or buildings that might block the sun more than usual. For solar panels, it’s good that snowing is a rare occasion in Ballarat. For areas that experience snowfall, a bigger tilt also helps snow slide off your panels, keeping them clear.
Summer Solar Panel Setup
In summer, the sun is way higher in the sky, so you’ll want to lower the angle of your solar panels. This helps them get the most sun during those long, sunny days. But watch out for overheating – make sure there’s good airflow around your panels. And since summer can be dusty, remember to clean your panels regularly. Adjusting them for summer helps you get the most energy and keeps your panels running great.
Who Conducts Seasonal Solar Panel Maintenance
For Simple Tasks: Homeowners can often perform basic maintenance tasks such as cleaning and visual inspections.
Safety First: Always prioritise safety, especially when working on roofs.
Professional Solar Panel Maintenance Services
For Comprehensive Maintenance: It’s advisable to hire professional solar panel maintenance services at least once a year for a thorough inspection and maintenance.
Expertise and Equipment: Professionals have the necessary expertise and equipment to safely and effectively conduct maintenance, especially for complex issues.
Solar Panel Manufacturers or Installers
Initial Years: Some solar panel manufacturers or installers offer maintenance services as part of their package, especially during the warranty period.
Specialised Knowledge: They have specific knowledge about the type and model of your panels, which can be beneficial for maintenance.
For Electrical Components: For any issues with the electrical components of the solar system, it’s important to involve a licensed electrician.
From the heavy rainfall in the cooler months to the intense sun in the summer, our panels go through a lot. Regular maintenance ensures that they remain efficient, safe, and productive throughout the year.
The key is to stay proactive, ensure you always prioritise safety, and ask for professional help when needed.
We at Ballarat Solar, are CEC-accredited solar experts with 25 years of experience in the field. We can help you with any solar installation, repairs, and maintenance needs in Ballarat. So call us for a free consultation and we would be more than happy to pay a visit and give you a quote.