Solar energy is a renewable energy resource that can provide society with clean, sustainable power. Solar panels are an essential part of solar-powered systems because they convert sunlight into electricity.
All over the world, more and more businesses are investing in commercial solar panels. There are a few reasons for this. For one, the efficiency of solar panels has improved significantly in recent years. There’s also increasing pressure on businesses to use renewable energy solutions to reduce their carbon footprint with Governments setting ambitious net-zero targets. Many businesses are spending a fortune on commercial solar panels. However, some aren’t doing enough to maintain the efficiency of their solar panels during their lifetime. As a result, their panels don’t output as much electricity as they could, costing the business.
Solar energy systems require periodic inspections and routine maintenance to keep them operating efficiently. Also, from time to time, components may need repair or replacement. You should also take steps to prevent scaling, corrosion, and freezing .You might be able to handle some of the inspections and maintenance tasks on your own, but others may require a qualified technician. Work that requires going up ladders, walking on roofs, soldering or hot work, or cutting back tree limbs should be performed by a professional service for safety reasons. Ask for a cost estimate in writing before having any work done. For systems with extensive damage, it may be more cost effective to replace, shut off, or remove the solar system than to have it repaired.
This article discusses Various tips for extending the life of solar thermal heaters to keep them working as efficiently as possible.
9 Ways to Extend Life of Solar Thermal Heaters
#01. Clean Your Solar Heaters Regularly
Make sure any debris is removed from the surface of the heater because it can reduce their ability to produce energy. You should also make sure that there are no sharp objects around your solar heater like rocks or other materials that could potentially damage them. Since, Damages can increase the number of replacements or repairs and can significantly decrease the lifespan of the solar panels leading to them not working overall. Hence, it is better to keep them in good condition. Make it a habit to check your panels at least once every few weeks during the spring and summer seasons when these problems are more likely to occur, then use mild soap and water (or vinegar) if necessary. For those who live in an area that experiences snow, it is important to brush off the snow before it melts. If left alone, it can damage cells by forming ice that presses against the surface of the panels and may cause them to crack.
#02. Get a Regular Inspection on the Heaters
Regular inspections will ensure that your systems are operating as efficiently as possible. It can also give you peace of mind knowing there aren’t any problems and also helps in increase the life span of thermal heaters. An annual repair or maintenance check can help prevent a small problem from turning into a significant repair or replacement expense. However, keep in mind that repairs should be addressed only by professionals.
#03. Shelter Your Heaters in Extreme Weather Conditions and Temperature
It is essential to avoid any physical damages to your panels. Be sure to cover them with a tarp during any big storms or harsh weather conditions so that they are protected from rain, sleet, hail, and snow. Weather forecasts must be kept in mind so that you can take precautions in advance. Doing these actions will ensure the most efficient production of energy and will help protect your panel from any damages.
Solar cells are designed for use in specific temperature ranges. Extreme temperature fluctuations can cause damage to the panel surface which reduces efficiency and can also reduce its lifespan.
#04. Apply a Quality Protective Coating Every Few Years
Applying a protective coating can help maintain your solar panel’s appearance and extend its durability. UV lights contain too much energy and can damage the surface materials of your system, which can lead to lower efficiency and diminished lifespan. Moreover, corrosion can eat away at the metal, reducing its longevity. Having a protective coating can help prevent these issues from occurring because it is a physical barrier between the elements and the solar panels, which will keep them protected for more extended periods.
#05. Avoid installing solar Thermal Heaters in shaded areas
Since solar heaters generate electricity from sunlight, it makes sense that shade harms the electricity output. However, many people aren’t aware of the effect of shade on a series of solar panels. If even one photovoltaic cell is shaded, it can impact the energy generated by its neighbour cells. This is because it acts as a resistor. Tall trees and other buildings are the two main offenders when it comes to shading solar panels. Make sure you spend time during the planning process to analyse a site and ensure that shade isn’t going to be an issue.
#06. Get an expert to install your solar Thermal Heaters
If solar heaters aren’t installed correctly, they won’t receive the optimal amount of sunlight and will generate less electricity. Some of the main things to consider when installing panels are the orientation and the angle. Typically, solar panels should sit at an angle between 18 to 36 degrees for maximum sunlight exposure. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, your solar panels should be orientated towards the south.
Likewise, they should be facing north if you’re in the southern hemisphere. Somewhat ironically, solar panel efficiency is also affected by temperature levels. The effectiveness of panels can drop as the temperature increases. A sufficient gap should be left between the solar panels and the roof during installation. This allows easy movement of air and prevents your photovoltaic solar panels from overheating. If all of this information is new to you, it’s probably worth enlisting the help of an expert to install your solar panels to ensure you get the most benefit from them.
#07. Preventing Scaling and Corrosion
Scaling :- Domestic water that is high in mineral content (or “hard water”) may cause the build-up or scaling of mineral (calcium) deposits on heat transfer surfaces. Scale builds up reduces system performance in a number of ways. If your system uses water as the heat-transfer fluid, scaling can occur in the collector, distribution piping, and heat exchanger. In systems that use other types of heat-transfer fluids (such as propylene glycol, scaling can occur on the surface of the heat exchanger in contact with potable water that transfers heat from the solar collector to the domestic water. Scaling may also cause valve and pump failures on the potable water loop. You can avoid scaling by using water softeners or by circulating a mild acidic solution (such as vinegar) through the collector or domestic hot water loop every 3–5 years, or as necessary depending on water conditions. You may need to carefully clean heat exchanger surfaces. A “wrap-around” external heat exchanger is an alternative to a heat exchanger located inside a storage tank.
Corrosion:- Most well-designed solar systems experience minimal corrosion. When they do, it is usually galvanic corrosion, an electrolytic process caused by two dissimilar metals coming into contact with each other. One metal has a stronger positive electrical charge and pulls electrons from the other, causing one of the metals to corrode. The piping connection from the copper pipe to the steel tank should thus be a “bi-metallic” type of connector that uses a plastic sleeve to separate the dis-similar metals. The heat-transfer fluid in some solar energy systems can also provide a bridge over which this exchange of electrons occurs. Oxygen entering into an open loop hydronic solar system will cause rust in any iron or steel component. Such systems should have copper, bronze, brass, stainless steel, plastic, rubber components in the plumbing loop, and plastic or glass lined storage tanks.
occurs when there is little hot water use in the home but the sun continues to heat the water. The controller will turn the pump off when the solar storage tank hits an upper limit (default 180F but often set lower to prevent scalding). The collector will continue to heat up, which most systems can tolerate, but can lead to discharge of fluid out a pressure relief valve and premature degradation of the heat transfer fluid. Draining the fluid back into a drain back tank can avoid this damage to the fluid caused by overheating. Some systems include a solenoid valve that will open to drain some water from the tank if overheated.
#09. Draining the Collector and Piping
Solar water heating systems that use only water as a heat-transfer fluid are the most vulnerable to freeze damage. “Draindown” or “drainback” systems typically use a controller to drain the collector loop automatically. Sensors on the collector and storage tank tell the controller when to shut off the circulation pump, to drain the collector loop, and when to start the pump again. Improper placement or the use of low-quality sensors can lead to their failure to detect freezing conditions. The controller may not drain the system, and expensive freeze damage may occur. Make sure that the freeze sensor(s) have been installed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and check the controller at least once a year to be sure that it is operating correctly.
Solar thermal heaters are cost-efficient, environmentally friendly, and are the best source of energy for your home. However, it is essential to make sure that your solar panels are protected from any physical damages or other problems for them to have a longer life expectancy. Remember, using Surple is a great way to improve solar panel efficiency.
The tips mentioned in this article will help ensure optimal efficiency and protection against any damages to your solar panels. By following these steps, you will create a successful system, which ultimately will save your money in the long run.