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Effective Tips to Maintain Your Solar Panels for the Long-run

A man is cleaning solar photovoltaic panel with water.

Solar panels are gaining popularity among the masses for their sustainability and eco-friendliness. As efforts to reduce the environmental damage continue to increase, solar panels and other sustainable forms of energy are gaining a wider consumer base as a cheaper and more efficient fuel than coal and other fossil fuels. In this article, we take a closer look at solar panels and ways to use and maintain them efficiently.

Examining the Benefits of Solar Panels

Solar panels and solar power gain over other non-sustainable forms of energy in three important ways. They are:

  • Sustainable over the long run
  • Highly cost-effective compared to other forms of energy
  • Energy efficient

It is now common knowledge that energy consumption methods commonly practised in homes and businesses generate large amounts of hazardous waste. This affects the environment at many levels. The use of solar panels eliminates this pollution by storing and using the sun's energy to power common household appliances like lights and heaters. Here's how the use of solar panels can be beneficial to the environment.

Using solar panels reduces:

  • The production of hazardous waste

Using solar panels can help reduce our dependence on energy sources that produce hazardous chemical wastes like oil sludge and coal ash which increases the presence of metal compounds in the environment to dangerous levels.

  • Air pollution

It is now commonly known that traditional methods of electricity production have had devastating effects on the environment. Power plants that generate electricity release dangerous toxins like carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, mercury and particulate dust. This has led to phenomena like global warming and climate change, contaminated fisheries, acid rains and smog.

The use of solar panels can reduce our dependence on such toxic power sources. Even limited use of power panels energised by the sun can significantly impact total energy production and consumption.

  • Water pollution

Water bodies have also suffered tremendously from pollution because of our dependence on coal-based power plants. They release toxins like arsenic, boron, selenium, mercury and cadmium into water bodies, effectively poisoning them. Release of large amounts of warm, low-oxygenated water into water sources has only added to the damage. The adoption of solar energy can reduce our dependence on these dangerous, unsustainable sources of energy, and also give the environment a chance to recover from the damage.

  • Resource mining

Coal-based power plants raise the need for surface mining, bringing profound environmental challenges to the forefront, even before coal-based energy is produced. The energy produced by solar panels can eliminate the need for coal-based energy, thus cutting down on the impact on the environment.

Solar Power Maintenance and Protection

Solar panels are fundamentally durable and sustainable sources of energy. They can withstand adverse weather conditions. But we can take a few steps to maximise their life and protect them from unnecessary damage. Here are seven simple ways to protect your solar panels:

  • Clean regularly

Periodic cleaning is necessary to maintain the optimal functioning of solar panels. Washing down with a hose pipe needs to be supplemented with a thorough scrubbing with a soft rag or sponge. Experts recommend using the rag or sponge attached to a pole from the ground level.

  • Keep a check on surrounding vegetation

Falling trees are not the only things that can damage solar cells. Branches, leaves and twigs that fall continuously can scratch the surface of the cells and reduce their efficiency. This will lead to a need to replace the cells, which can be expensive.

  • Inspect the sealants regularly

The sealants on the solar panels can wear with time. This will affect their functioning since water and dust can seep through the gaps into the PV mechanism and cause short-circuiting. Faded sealants can be repaired, preferably with a silicon-based sealant that is effective and easy to use. Regular inspection will help you identify areas that need repair. Major wear and tear in significant places like the area between the roof and panels will have to be replaced.

  • Install weather protection features

Natural disasters and similar occurrences cannot be prevented. But there are measures one can take to control the damage. Many businesses and homeowners install lightning rods to protect solar cells from lightning strikes. Even indirect strikes can cause a power surge that can harm the panels and people.

Installing solar panels requires proper grounding for protection and proper functioning. Anchoring is also an important step in proper solar panel installation. As the name suggests, anchors are tools that hold the solar panels in place, even in the roughest weather. Panels that are mounted in the ground require proper earth-anchors to withstand any weather.

  • Invest in extra protection

Natural disturbances to the smooth functioning of the solar panels can come in many forms:

  • Large birds could dislodge the MC4 clips connecting the back of the panels to the wiring
  • Squirrels can nibble through wiring
  • Pests and rodents can disrupt and damage wiring and other parts

It is recommended that you instal mesh wiring and other protective measures to prevent such damage.

  • Consider the use of retaining walls

Retaining walls are supporting structures made of pre-cast concrete, which can form an impenetrable support against weather and climatic conditions like rains and storms. These can last for decades and work to strengthen the foundation on which the panels rest. They will be a good investment if you live in places that receive large amounts of rainfall or experience other adverse weather conditions.

  • Invest in an insurance policy

Solar panels are considered permanent fixtures when installed on the roof. They can be insured against damage due to fire or water and theft or vandalism. Many companies also provide insurance for accidental damage.

Solar Power As an Investment

There are many advantages to investing in solar energy. It is one of the most beneficial sources of power - it is endlessly sustainable, cost-effective, and energy-efficient. There are long-term benefits to the environment and ultimately to your health and well-being as well.

For all these reasons, it will be wise to invest in solar panels for energy production in your home. For maximum benefit, follow the tips discussed above to enjoy the benefits of solar panels for many years to come. Professional UPS manufacturers like Nantech Power Systems in Chennai can be of great help for best-fit recommendations and installation.

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Author: Nantech Team
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