Solar Maintenance Blog

Your Solar Installation Is Not Performing – Now What?

September 18, 2019

The basic solar sales pitch couldn’t be simpler or more alluring.

“Just install solar panels on your home and benefit from decades of lower utility bills. (And help the environment at the same time!)”

That’s the sales pitch.

But the reality is sometimes very different.

Although solar technology can deliver the above benefits for many years, it’s not uncommon for your installation’s performance to deteriorate over time. For example, maybe your system’s solar energy output dips due to failed components. Or perhaps it is underperforming because of something the original installer did incorrectly.

But even if you invest in premium solar panels installed by expert solar technicians, you’re still not 100% safe from performance-related issues:

  • Natural disasters like hail storms can crack your panels
  • Corrosion and weather can wear down your PV components
  • Birds, rodents and other pests can infest your solar installation

And of course, all solar panels slowly degrade with time – regardless of their make, model or quality.

A More Realistic Solar Sales Pitch

What all of the above means is that the financial and environmental savings that your solar installation delivers on Day 1 likely won’t match what you’ll get 5, 10 or 20 years down the road. 

That’s because lower solar PV performance translates to higher energy bills and fewer carbon offsets.

As a result, it’s understandable that many homeowners feel their solar installations are not fully meeting their expectations. Swayed by the simplicity of the sales pitch, these customers paid good money upfront. But the final results are underwhelming.

And that’s not all.

In an industry as fast-paced as solar is, it’s not uncommon to discover the original installer or manufacturer is no longer around to honor the long-term warranties attached to their product, service or workmanship.

Fortunately, however, there are some strategies you can use to maximize the performance of your solar panels – short of replacing them entirely. Below are 5 simple tips to help you reclaim your lost savings and boost the ROI of your clean power investment.

1. Check Aggregate Solar Performance

Solar installation output varies throughout the year, meaning your utility bill savings will fluctuate from day to day (and month to month).

If you’ve noticed a recent dip, it’s possible that your solar panels are working just fine – they just need a little more time. So wait for the weather to clear before taking your next measurement—and be sure to regularly check your utility meter and bill throughout the year.

Total solar output is what truly matters – not day-to-day performance.

2. Look for Tripped Breaker Switches 

Thunderstorms and grid surges can sometimes overload your home’s electricity system. This is especially true if your house has older wiring and circuitry.

However, the fix is simple.

If your solar installation isn’t performing as it should, check your breaker box for any tripped fuses. Switching them back to an “on” position is often enough to get the solar electricity flowing again.

If you’re not sure how do conduct this DIY inspection on your own, you can give us a call at (866) 737-2328 and we’ll walk you through these steps.

3. Clean Your Solar Panels Frequently

Dust, debris, and even pollen can slowly build up over time – preventing sunlight from hitting your solar panels. All it takes is a thin layer of this buildup to cause a noticeable dip in PV system performance—all reasons to regularly clean your solar panels.

At Stable Solar, our expert technicians use the right equipment and cleaning products to maximize your solar installation’s performance. They also carefully monitor local weather conditions to decide when to clean your panels. 

However, solar panel cleaning can also be a DIY job. All you really need is a garden hose – and maybe a ladder for those hard to reach areas on the roof. Just be careful, don’t clean the panels when it’s hot outside, and make sure not to leave glass streaks.

The results won’t be as good as a professional treatment, but regular cleaning can help bring your solar panels back to life.

Prefer not to clean your solar panels on your own? No problem. Request a service with us today, and our technicians will visit your home in-person to handle the job.

4. Keep Pests and Vermin at Bay

The crawl spaces between your solar panels and roof are perfect nesting spots for birds, rats, squirrels and other vermin. If this area has already become infested, the first order of business is to clear away any droppings and debris ASAP. 

The longer these unwanted guests remain, the more likely it is that they will damage your solar installation.

The next step involves making sure these critters never come back again. You can accomplish this by installing a simple pest guard. This is a specialized barrier that prevents rodents and birds from nesting in the crawl spaces beneath your solar panels.

If you’re not sure how to clean infestations or install a pest guard, we’ve got you covered. To learn more about our professional pest prevention services, click here.

1 Final Solar Performance Tip – When All Else Fails

You took the plunge and invested in a technology you knew could save you money and benefit the planet. But then your solar installation started underperforming – causing both your utility bills and carbon footprint to grow.

However, it’s still possible to save your savings – without spending a fortune upfront.

If none of the above tips work, the underlying cause may be a system monitoring or solar metering issue – one that is relatively easy to fix. 

To find out, contact us today. Together, we’ll explore potential (and affordable) fixes to get your PV system back to 100%.

For additional peace of mind, we’ll also discuss simple strategies to ensure your solar installation continues to perform as expected for many years to come.

Solar Service Membership Plan

For less than $10 per month, Members receive:

Monitoring and regular monitoring reports
Initial system analysis and detailed performance report
Discounts on service visits, system upgrades, cleaning and other services

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