5 Tips for Maintaining & Maximizing Your Solar System

Winter is in full swing here in the Southwest, which means shimmering, frosted dew and the smell of juniper woodsmoke at dawn. 

Thankfully, our desert region offers over 300 days of sunshine per year, so most crisp mornings melt into sunny afternoons. The coldest part of the year is just around the corner, though, which means lower temperatures and more overcast days — is your solar system ready? 

Individuals are facing a projected 17.2% increase in utility costs for this winter season, but with proper maintenance and care, some homeowners can enjoy the benefits of their solar system even in the chilliest of months. 

With solar incentives also on the rise thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, there’s never been a better time to increase your home’s market value, lower your electric bill, and protect the health of our planet with a well-maintained solar system. 

Keep reading for 6 tips on solar panel maintenance and getting the most from your energy-efficient system. 

1. Add a critter guard 

While squirrels and pigeons are an all-too-familiar part of our natural ecosystem, they don’t seem to have a grasp on solar panel etiquette quite yet. 

The latter are notorious for causing a racket, pecking out wiring for nests, and, believe it or not, corroding metals with their highly acidic feces. This spells disaster not only for your solar panels, but for your peace of mind and the tiles of your home’s roof as well. 

Creatures of all shapes and sizes will seek shade and make nests under panels during the hotter months in Texas and New Mexico, so having a critter guard is imperative for both homeowners and commercial businesses with solar energy. 


2. Work with a trusted company 

The minimal cost and time needed to maintain your energy efficient system is one of solar power’s biggest draws for busy individuals. Combine a critter guard with light cleaning once a year, and your solar system will be in great shape!

Complicated issues with your solar system are pretty rare, but if they do occur, you’ll most likely need the help of an experienced team to resolve them. Pigeons or not, check your solar system warranty as soon as any difficulties arise. 

Not every solar company offers generous warranties — and in fact, some companies are total scams. Do your research and partner with a trusted business to save yourself money, time, and stress when complex maintenance work is needed down the road. 

Pro Tip: Look for solar installers that provide warranties for solar panels, inverters, and installations like Solar Smart Living. 


3. Use a high-quality solar battery system 

Did you know most solar systems typically generate more clean energy than your family can immediately use? 

Choosing the right energy storage system can help you get the most out of your solar panels by catching every drop of sun-generated power. Batteries like the Tesla Powerwall or Fortress E-Vault store excess solar energy so none of it goes to waste, and also keep it on demand for nighttime electricity usage.  

In case of a natural disaster or power outage, solar energy storage goes from bonus feature to must-have really quickly. Backup your necessities and avoid having to buy electricity at peak-usage times with a dependable energy storage system.


4. Take advantage of IRA incentives

Making the switch to sustainable energy sources isn’t always a walk in the park — remember those solar scams we mentioned above? Thankfully, with the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022, homeowners making efficient upgrades can reap new rewards for doing their part to help the planet. 

Read: The Homeowner’s Guide to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)

Part of maintaining your solar system that doesn’t get discussed very often is maintaining your commitment to sustainable living. However, when upgrades are incentivized and long-term usage leads to lowered electricity bills, the motivation to clean off your solar panels comes rather naturally!

Save up to 30% on your home’s eco-friendly energy system with just one of the incentives from the IRA: the residential clean energy credit. This credit is offered to homeowners installing more efficient systems from solar and wind, to geothermal energy and fuel cells. 

Pro Tip: Use Rewiring America’s calculator tool to see how much you’ll save with the Inflation Reduction Act incentives!


5. Be mindful of energy usage 

If you clean your solar panels once a year and have gotten your critter guard, IRA rebates, and energy storage system, you’re already way ahead of the game. Even so, homeowners can still do more for the environment and their energy efficient system. 

To lower your electric bill and carbon footprint further, consider making minor lifestyle adjustments that prevent energy waste. 

You’re probably familiar with the basics of mindful energy usage like taking shorter showers and turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth, but there are even easier ways to live more sustainably

For example: Americans spend, on average, $19 billion dollars per year providing energy to inactive devices, appliances, and electronics that are left plugged in. Start reducing your home’s idle energy load by unplugging devices and turning off lights in empty rooms, and watch how your energy consumption drops!


Want personalized details on how your home and wallet can benefit from solar power, efficient energy systems, and sustainable upgrades? Chat with an experienced consultant at Solar Smart Living today. 


About the author
Alan Morgan

Alan is a solar and sustainable energy advocate. He has served the renewables industry for over 5 years for companies such as Solar City and Tesla and now acts as the Director of Business and Market Development for Solar Smart Living.