For any individuals looking to use environmentally-friendly power, solar powers are a great solution.

An unobtrusive addition to the roof, they offer the opportunity to not only generate energy for the home, but also sell additional power back to the grid, helping to offset the cost of installation.

However, having made the investment to purchase solar power panels, it’s essential that they continue to operate at their maximum potential. To do this, regular maintenance needs to be carried out to ensure they have the intended effect. Here are some hints and tips to keep them working like new.

Check any moving parts
One of the great things about solar panel systems is their simplicity of design; there is really only the pump which is a moving part and of any complexity.

Solar powered systems are intended to be very straight forward so all that is generally needed is a regular inspection to make sure that all the components look in good working order, are secure and not coming loose and are not leaking, corroding or rusting in any way.

A simple visual inspection will suffice; if there is any doubt about whether the pump is functioning properly, call an engineer to come and carry out a more formal assessment.

If your system is off-grid, you may also have storage batteries and possibly a back-up generator. These should also be checked regularly for any problems. If you are linked to the grid, you will also have an inverter. This is not mechanical but still needs to be checked periodically to ensure there is no damage.

Routine panel maintenance
Of course, the panels themselves are the most important part of the whole system and making sure they are in optimum condition is key to harnessing usable solar energy.

The good news is that solar panels are not fragile pieces of glass which are liable to crack or shatter at the slightest of touches. Instead, the panels are nearly always made from toughened glass mounted onto a metal rack, making them close to being indestructible from normal force.

But ultimately in order to provide energy for the home or business, solar panels need to have unobstructed access to UV rays. This means that they need to be clean and clean at all times otherwise the amount of power generated will either drop or cease.

The old adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’ has never been more appropriate and with solar panels tucked away on rooftops, it’s easy to forget to check them.

Whilst no-one is suggesting that you shin up a drainpipe to wipe them down every day, there are a few things you should watch out for.

If you have any trees which overhang your property you should be vigilant for leaves dropping onto the solar panels. This is obviously a much greater problem in the autumn when deciduous trees shed their leaves, but even evergreens can drop pine needles.

The weather is also a major factor in the operation of solar panels – and not just the sun. A snowfall may look pretty but even a light dusting could cover the solar panel glass and prevent it from being able to absorb any UV rays. If the sun does not melt the snow or there is a heavy covering, you will need to wipe the panels clear. You don’t want to be left without any power at a time where the weather is quite literally freezing!

If your home is in an urban area with plenty of traffic or you live somewhere that experiences dust storms, you will also need to regularly clean the solar panels. Although on first appearance they may seem to be clear, a covering of dust and grime could reduce their efficiency by as much as 55%.

Give your solar panels a treat!
Although most solar panels are made from self-cleaning glass – and the rain also helps to wash away any grime – every now and again a deep clean should be performed.

Dirt will often collect in the lower portions of the panels, especially around the bottom corners. Reaching up onto the roof to give your panels a quick wipe is great for routine maintenance but to keep them sparkling and working to their maximum capacity, a professional clean should be carried out periodically.

A professional solar power cleaning company have not only the expertise to make sure every cell in the panel is sparkling clean, but also the equipment to complete the job quickly and easily.

The average life span for solar panels is estimated at approximately 30 years but failing to maintain them properly means that not only will they be less effective; they will also not last quite as long. Remembering to keep an eye on your roof and also arranging for your panels to have a professional clean from time to time means that you can reap the rewards of generating extra energy and also extending the life span of your solar powered system.