Ever wonder how your calculator turns on without having to change the batteries?

Magic! At least that’s what I used to think when I was little.

The truth is that these little devices are powered by the sun using solar (photovoltaic) cells and as long as there is enough light, the devices can essentially stay on forever.

Now, imagine having something powered by the sun on a much larger scale. A parking lot? A road sign? A call box? An entire corporate building? What about your very own home? From the small electrical appliances such as your hair dryer or coffee maker to the big scale items like your stove, everything requires power. And what better way to power than by using your very own solar energy provided by the sun.

How do solar panels work?

Solar cells help convert sunlight directly into electricity.

To put it simply, solar cells are made of semiconductors, a material that absorbs a portion of the light’s energy and frees electrons. The flow of the electrons is controlled by electric fields. If metals are placed above and/or below the solar cells, energy can be drawn from the electric current to be used externally to power devices. Solar panels are basically packages of connected solar cells.

To watch an animated video of how this conversion takes place, please visit How Solar Works.

In a nutshell, converting to solar panels in your home or commercial property can be one of the best investments of a lifetime.

How do I maintain by solar panels?

Maintenance is the key to sustaining a strong, properly functioning, efficient, and effective structure.

With the purchase of solar panels, consumers are in luck.  Fortunately, solar panels require pretty low maintenance. Unlike generators which are composed of moving components which require repair or replacement, solar panels do not have moving parts that can rust or breakdown.

So, what exactly do I need to do?

Cleaning is an important key aspect of solar panel maintenance. The dustier your area, the more frequent inspection is recommended. This ensures that dirt, grime, bird droppings and debris do not block the sun from efficient absorption by the panels.

There are a few ways you can clean your panels. The first (and easiest) way is to rinse of dust with a standard garden hose. If the panels seem to need a little more cleaning than the hose offers, a soft, spongy squeegee on a long pole (like the ones used to wash tall windows) can be used, along with some soapy water. Then use the hose to rinse off any excess suds.

If the panels are too high to reach without climbing up a ladder, it may be best to leave the cleaning for the professionals. Local solar panel cleaners are in abundance and a quick search online can yield a whole list of companies to choose from.

We generally don’t like rainy days since cloudy days mean less power production, but consider it a blessing if there’s a few days of it. Free cleaning? I’ll take it!

As owners, the goal is always to get the best bang for your buck, so make sure your panels are performing at maximum capacity and save energy whenever possible. .