Solar Panels: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Solar panels take in sunlight as an input and produce electricity as an output, using arrays of photovoltaic cells.
The global solar panel market is estimated to reach a value of £249 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 6.9%. This growth is accounted for by the increasing awareness around renewable energies and solar power being the cleanest and most plentiful renewable energy. In addition, due to government policies imposing sustainability standards on manufacturers, eco-friendly technologies such as solar power are receiving more funding in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions.
Here we answer the top frequently asked questions on solar panels:
How do I ensure my solar panel generates as much energy as possible?
You can ensure your solar panel generates as much energy as possible through:
- Facing them in a direction that receives the most sunlight.
- Removing them from shaded areas and placing them in areas exposed to the sun.
- Cleaning them periodically to remove all debris blocking the panels.
You can check the amount of energy your solar panel generates by taking note of the generation meter reading on the fuse board. If the annual generation figure is much less than the projected value for your unit, after taking all the steps above, then your unit may require maintenance.
How do I clean my solar panels?
Solar panels usually don’t require frequent cleaning unless they are covered by leaves, heavy snow, animal droppings or other external debris.
As a result, they can be cleaned using specialised solar panel cleaning kits, eliminating potential contamination and ensuring improved durability. It is generally recommended that solar panel cleaning is carried out between two and four times per year.
As they are sensitive pieces of equipment, ensure to never use abrasive sponges or soaps on solar panels as this could damage the panels.
Can I use solar energy at night?
Yes, solar energy can be used at night as long as your solar panel includes batteries that store the energy which it produces during the day. Batteries can be fitted onto your solar panel if you wish to store the generated energy for night-time.
What do solar inverters do?
Solar inverters convert the DC current produced by the solar panels into the AC current that can be used by homes and the electric grid. In addition, they are important in maximising the power output and ensuring the solar system is operating safely.
There are 3 main types of solar inverters:
- String inverters: the most common type; connected to a string (rows) of solar panels.
- Micro inverters: small in size; optimise each solar panel individually, providing higher energy efficiencies.
- Hybrid inverters: allows excess energy to be sold back to the grid or stored in a battery.
What is the lifespan of solar panels and inverters?
Typically, solar panels last around 20-25 years, and solar inverters last around 10-15 years.
The lifespan of both solar panels and inverters can be maximised by ensuring there’s enough ventilation around the units, keeping them out of debris through cleaning, and carrying out maintenance on them when required.
How do I know if my solar panels require maintenance?
Your solar panels will require maintenance if one or more of the following is occurring:
- The solar panel isn’t generating electricity, or not as much as it’s supposed to, despite following reset instructions in the manual.
- The panels and cables connected to the solar panels are damaged.
As solar panels don’t contain any moving parts, they typically require little maintenance unless actual damage is done. This is especially the case if high-performance adhesives and sealants have been used in their construction, ensuring durability.
How do I manufacture solar panels to be durable and reliable?
Adhesives and sealants are exceptionally beneficial in solar panel manufacturing, providing:
- Ability to withstand extreme temperatures
- Ability to withstand humidity and water
- High load-carrying capability
- High structural strength
- Improved durability
- UV resistance
- Lower labour, installation & running costs
Discover our full guide on the top adhesives and sealants that can be used in solar panels manufacturing, repairs and maintenance, ensuring durability and reliability.