Photovoltaic System Maintenance: What You Need to Know

Maintenance of the Photovoltaic System allows you to maintain a good level of efficiency and clean Energy Production. If the system components are of high quality and are installed correctly, the Photovoltaic System requires minimal maintenance. 

Usually, in fact, Solar Panels are kept clean thanks to the action of atmospheric agents. In some cases, however, it is necessary to carry out cleaning, repair, or replacement of damaged elements. The type and cost of maintenance depend on certain factors such as the size of the system, the type of installation, and the extent of damage.

Maintenance of a Photovoltaic System: When it is Necessary

Although the life cycle of Photovoltaic Systems is relatively long (Over Twenty Years), they tend to progressively lose their level of efficiency. The most common causes that contribute to deterioration are:

The Wear and Tear of Time: 

The components of Photovoltaic Systems, in particular solar panels, are subject to a natural loss of efficiency over time;

Atmospheric Agents: 

Atmospheric Phenomena, such as strong temperature changes and extreme rainfall, can damage and dirty the Photovoltaic System.

Smog: 

The accumulation of fine dust causes, in the long term, a reduction in the yield of the system.

Dirt: 

The elements that dirty solar panels are many and of different nature, from dust to birds, from rain of sand to smog. The accumulation of dirt can accelerate the loss of efficiency of the system.

To slow down the degradation process of photovoltaic systems, attention must be paid to the maintenance of solar panels and other components of the photovoltaic system. But what are the maintenance interventions for a system? First of all, it is important to specify that, if the various elements are mounted and fixed correctly, a quality photovoltaic system does not require particular maintenance. 

The installation, in fact, if carried out in a workmanlike manner, does not require secondary interventions, since atmospheric agents naturally perform the cleaning function.

In some specific cases, however, certain solar panel cleaning operations may be necessary. These are mainly photovoltaic systems located in unfavorable environmental areas. In maritime areas, for example, the long exposure of the panels to salty air makes it necessary to intervene with periodic cleaning to guarantee the efficiency of the solar panels. 

Another case in which manual cleaning of the panels may become unavoidable is the presence of large trees nearby: if too many leaves are deposited on the panels, it is advisable to remove them to prevent them from blocking the sun from filtering through.

Furthermore, it is important to keep the production levels of the system and its efficiency under control, so as to be able to identify any problems or malfunctions and intervene to resolve them. The monitoring must concern the different components of the system, i.e. the solar panels, the photovoltaic generator, and the inverters.

Photovoltaic System: Ordinary or Extraordinary Maintenance

From a legislative point of view, maintenance interventions can be divided into two categories, ordinary and extraordinary maintenance. Ordinary maintenance includes all “repair, renovation, and replacement works of building finishes and those necessary to integrate or maintain existing technological systems in efficiency, provided that they do not lead to alterations to the external appearance of the building and its appurtenances” (art. 6, PARAGRAPH 1, Presidential Decree no. 380/2001). From 2022, thanks to the Energy Decree, the installation of photovoltaic systems falls within ordinary maintenance, and therefore within free construction.  

As regards the type of Interventions to be carried out, the following can be Distinguished:

  • Ordinary Maintenance of the Photovoltaic System: This mainly involves constant monitoring of the operating status and periodic cleaning of the solar panels;
  • Extraordinary Maintenance of the Photovoltaic System: Concerns the actions to be taken on an extraordinary basis, such as repairing damage to the panels and/or inverter or replacing them, checking the status of the batteries, and resolving anomalies found during the monitoring phase.

Photovoltaic Maintenance: How Often to Carry it Out

A quality and securely installed photovoltaic system does not require frequent maintenance. However, it may be useful to check the conditions of the system at certain times:

After Extreme Weather Events: 

After strong storms, hailstorms, heavy snowfall, or other extreme weather events, it is advisable to check the system for any damage, carrying out a visual inspection of the state of the solar panels, the integrity of the cables, or compromised electrical connections.

Malfunctions or Reduction in Energy Production: 

If you notice a significant reduction in the system’s energy production, repair work may be necessary.

Monitoring Problems: 

If the monitoring systems show anomalous data, it is recommended to check the operation of both the monitoring system itself and the various components of the system.

In Conclusion, Photovoltaic Systems do not require frequent maintenance, unless there are specific environmental conditions or anomalies and malfunctions occur. Maintenance needs may vary depending on the type of system: it is always advisable to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and consult a qualified professional for repairs to the Photovoltaic System.

How Much Does the Maintenance of a Photovoltaic System Cost

The Maintenance Costs of a Photovoltaic System can vary based on some factors:

Size of The System:

Larger Photovoltaic Systems require more manpower to carry out maintenance work, and a consequent increase in cost. Furthermore, for systems with a power exceeding 11.08 kW, periodic maintenance is mandatory by law.

Type of Installation of the System: 

The positioning and conditions in which a system is installed influence the difficulty of intervention and the times (and therefore costs) of maintenance. Please remember that a correctly installed system minimizes the need for maintenance;

The Extent of Damage:

The cost can vary considerably based on the type of damage that needs to be repaired or the component that needs to be replaced. If simply cleaning the panels takes little time and can also be done independently, replacing electrical components requires the intervention of a technician, and the cost of maintenance can increase.

If you are looking for a company expert in the installation of quality Photovoltaic Systems, rely on Pksolarpower. A team of industry professionals is ready to take care of every step to create a Photovoltaic System tailor-made for your needs. Relying on a Photovoltaic System allows you to achieve significant savings on your bill and produce clean energy while benefiting the environment.