5 Tips to Keep Your Commercial Solar Operating at Peak Efficiency

Sabrina Lopez
June 6, 2019
3 min read

A common misconception is that solar panels are fragile (they’re glass, after all) and require lots of maintenance. All of this couldn’t be further from the truth. Modern solar panels have come a long way in almost every respect – from performance to durability and longevity. Today, most brands offer warranties in the 25-year range, with peak performance measured in decades rather than years.

But while today’s solar panels are unquestionably durable, most service experts recommend an annual inspection as the best way to ensure that your solar energy system is always operating at its best.

In addition to the annual inspection, here are five essential maintenance tips to help ensure your solar energy system delivers as designed for years to come.

1. Regular solar panel cleaning

Solar panels work best when nothing is blocking their path to the sun. Dirt, debris, and animal droppings can hinder performance by reducing the amount of sun that makes its way to the panels. Having your panels professionally cleaned once or twice a year will reduce the negative impact of buildup. Suppose your company has an in-house facilities department and water access near your system location. Routine rinsing of panels can further improve system performance and even extend the time between professional cleanings.                         

2. Install wildlife guards

Pigeons and rodents are known to burrow and nest in tight spaces, chew on wiring, and potentially cause electrical issues. In some parts of Arizona, wildlife guards are an excellent measure to help prevent pest-related issues long before they become a problem. Keeping wildlife away from the panels also helps ensure longer cycles between panel cleanings. 

3. Trimming adjacent vegetation will avoid shading

Living in the desert, we all appreciate a shaded parking space when the weather gets toasty. However, growing trees and bushes can cast a shadow over your solar panels and negatively impact their production when left unattended. Over-shadowing vegetation should be trimmed back to ensure that your system functions to its full potential.

4. Wiring and connection points inspection

The Sonoran Desert delivers ample energy-rich sunlight that makes going solar a “no-brainer” for most Arizona companies, but this is also one of the harshest environments in North America. Commercial solar energy systems comprise thousands of critical connection points—from the inverter(s) to the solar panels on your roof or parking structures.  As the years go by and the system is exposed to the harsh desert elements, these connection points can sometimes come loose. A yearly wiring inspection is all it takes to identify and fix potential problems long before they hinder your system’s performance.

5. Inverters inspection

Inverters are designed to withstand the extreme temperature changes of the Arizona climate, but they should be maintained and kept free of dust and debris. Having filters and fans cleaned regularly can also dramatically extend their functional lifespan and ensure that the equipment they serve remains cool and clean. This is an easy addition to an annual inspection.

These five preventative measures will help mitigate system degradation and ensure the system produces at peak efficiency for years to come!

Get a solar checkup today. Contact us for a free service quote or to schedule an appointment with one of our service providers.

*This blog has been updated since it's original publication of 8/19/2016.