Tips & Tricks on Solar Carport Structure Maintenance

Why do you need to clean your solar modules?

Did you know you need to clean and maintain your solar carport structures and PV modules? Solar panels require very little maintenance. Generally, any failures that occur are related to electricity production or corrosion in the wires that tie your system to the inverter.

Remember that solar panels produce electricity only if the sun is shining directly on them. Any obstructions from dust, snow, or vegetation will cut into your production—or halt electricity generation altogether. If you live in an especially dusty area or an area that experiences regular snowfall, keeping your panels clean and unobstructed will result in more power generation.

Solar panels are incredibly reliable; most system’s lifespan for a solar panel can exceed thirty years. This means that solar panel installation companies routinely offer warranties and maintenance packages as part of your system cost. Despite this, some preventative maintenance may go a long way towards the longevity and efficiency of your system, and it is good to know what to do if there is a problem with any of your panels. Follow these tips for decades of clean electricity and save on your energy bill.

Summer should be a very productive season for your solar array. However, your panels may become clouded by dust, grime, animal droppings, or tree pollen from time to time. A rainstorm is usually enough to clean off a solar panel, but in arid climates, summer storms are few and far between.

If you live in an especially dusty area, and you are not expecting any rain, you can rinse the dust off with a garden hose. This method is ideal if you can safely reach your panels from the ground without a ladder. Be sure the water you are using to clean your solar panels is demineralized; hard water can cause scaling or corrosion over time.

Solar panels can continue producing energy well into the fall—as long as they are not covered in loose leaves or other vegetation. There is no guarantee that your roof and array will stay leaf-free, however even if you do not have tall trees overhanging your structure. Autumn winds can carry debris into the air, depositing it on your modules.

A test has been done to determine the efficiency loss due to the dirt being on the structure. Around 5 percent or less of efficiency can be lost, this means, with a 5kw system, you can lose around $20 on each energy bill.

How to clean your solar carport structures 

When it comes to cleaning your solar carport structure, it is recommended to get them professionally done. Due to the height of carports, it will be hard to access the PV modules. Companies often have scissor lifts; this allows them to be lifted to the top of the structure to reach the PV modules. They use a long brush or squeegee to clean the PV modules. Often rain takes care of your solar panel cleaning.

Maintaining your energy output 

A decline in performance, especially when there has been nothing unusual with the weather, may point to an underlying issue. Monitoring your energy output is a great way to detect potential problems early on before they get worse. It is rare to have an issue with equipment when you are working with a reliable company, but they do occasionally occur even with proper maintenance. If you have fluctuations in your energy bill, this could mean you need solar panel cleaning, see if the efficiency returns to normal after. If so, that is probably the end of it. If something is still off, do not hesitate to get in touch with your installer. If there is a legitimate issue, it is likely to be a simple fix that will have you at maximum energy production again in no time.

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