So you did it! You took the thoughtful step into switching to solar, congratulations! We know it wasn’t the easiest and quickest decision to make; there’s a lot to consider while weighing the pros and cons, benefits and logistics, and whether your investment will have a return in the long run. Now that you’ve carefully examined all of the above and have come to the conclusion that switching to solar was right for you, you need to protect that investment and make sure your equipment is in tip top shape so you get the most out of it.

We’ve gathered a few tips that are fairly easy to do yourself. Please make sure you’re always being safe while maneuvering around if your panels are on your roof, and if the conditions aren’t suitable for you to be as safe as possible, there are professional companies you can call that can perform these maintenance tasks.

The most important thing for optimal usage and functionality from your panels is that they are clean. Dust, dirt, debri and bird droppings can be the cause of fogging up the panels and reducing the amount of solar energy that penetrates the panels. Luckily for areas where it rains regularly during the season, the rain is a great help in keeping your panels clean. If you’re in a more dry or dusty environment, you may want to periodically clean your panels using a garden hose. If you find droppings or debri that’s hard to rinse off, a non-abrasive soap and warm water with a squeegee or dry cloth will help clean off the residue.

No Shade
Making sure your panels are in direct sunlight and clear of anything that could block the light is another obvious, but easily not-so-obvious factor. Perhaps the surroundings were free and clear when you had your panels installed, and now after some time has passed, the beloved tree in your yard has had a growth spurt and its branches and flora are encroaching on your solar panels. Making sure your landscape is not affecting the amount of exposure of your panels to the sun will help them get the most amount of sunlight throughout the day.

Checkups on Wiring and Frames
Generally, it’s a good idea to take a look at your panels and just make sure they look to be in good shape, having no nesting or debri under the frames from animals, and no cracks or frayed wires. Look to see if there are any cracks or gaps in the frames that could allow for water or dust to get into the system. Water exposure can cause damage to the fuses and electrical connectors. Look for any corrosion as well.

Check Your Energy Usage
You may think that once your panels are set up and your deal with the power company is hammered out, you can just relax and let everything and everyone do their job, but unfortunately we know that machines can malfunction and human err is all too familiar. Being diligent with regularly checking all the factors and signs of your system working correctly is very important:

Inspect your inverters – red or orange indicator lights can mean your solar system is experiencing problems.
Read your solar meter – your meter monitors your system’s production and relays this information to your solar company. Pay particular attention to the screen displaying the total kilowatt hours being generated by your panels. If the kilowatt hours are increasing, this is a good sign of meter functionality.
Read your bill – this seems simple enough and obvious, but even from personal experience, we don’t always take a thorough look at our utility bills and understand them well. Going solar should have a significant impact on your power and energy bill, and if it’s not, you may have a problem with your system performance.

We hope these tips will help you keep your solar system in good shape and at optimal levels of performance. Please remember that safety is always the first priority, and if you can not perform any of these maintenance suggestions yourself, you should call a maintenance company with qualified professionals who can keep your system clean and healthy.