Dust, dirt, leaves, and even pollen can accumulate over time on your solar panels. A simple rinse with a garden hose, without climbing on a ladder or the roof, is usually sufficient to clear away your solar array and keep it running at peak efficiency. Unless you live in an exceptionally dusty area, rinsing off the solar system once a year is usually sufficient.
Your utility company keeps track of any extra power your solar panels produce through an electric meter. This will cause your electric meter to dial or spin backwards. In the evening, you use grid power but on the credit you earned while supplying the utility company with power during the day. Net metering is virtually maintenance-free on our systems. Our monitoring systems will alert us if there is a problem and we will automatically send out a crew, free of charge, to correct the issue.
Most people don’t need batteries for their solar system if they’re already connected to the grid. It is an option, but currently most of the back-up batteries are still big and bulky, expensive, and need to be replaced every 5-10 years. There are, however, ongoing efforts to make batteries more financially sound. There are already some batteries that work well in the commercial projects that help shave demand and increase the savings. Since each project is customized, your building’s specific electricity usage profile would dictate if a battery back-up would be a financially viable solution.
The rest of the system is typically referred to as the balance-of-system (BOS) and consists of components such as various wiring, system monitoring hardware, emergency DC disconnects, and the racking with which your panels are fastened to your roof, with the assistance of nuts, bolts, and roof “flashing” to ensure the prevention of leaks.
Solar panels are rated for their efficiency in a lab setting. In the real world, there are numerous factors that affect a panel’s efficiency.
- the array’s orientation
- your roof’s pitch
- any obstruction of even a portion of the panel by shade
- panels need to be hosed off on occasion as a panel’s efficiency can be slightly ower if it accumulates too much solid dirt such as bird droppings, mud
- panels typically require a bit of air flow underneath them to avoid extreme heating conditions