Build IR Blog

Springtime: The Perfect Time For A Solar Panel Inspection

Richard Ewins

June 3, 2024

Solar Panel Inspection In Springtime

The sight of solar panels shimmering in the sunshine is becoming an increasingly familiar one across the UK. From sprawling solar farms to domestic rooftops, these marvels of modern technology are harnessing the power of the sun to generate clean, renewable energy.

Interestingly, solar panels in the UK are more productive during spring and summer (March to August), generating roughly 70% of their annual output in this period. The remaining 30% comes from the cooler months of autumn and winter (September to February).

But just like any other investment, solar panels require regular maintenance to ensure they continue to operate at peak efficiency. This is where a Solar Panel Inspection comes in, and springtime offers the perfect window of opportunity to schedule such an inspection.

Why Are Solar Panel Inspections Important?

Unlike most household appliances tucked safely indoors, solar panels are constantly exposed to the harsh realities of British weather. 

From the battering winds and rain of winter to the scorching heat of summer, these external elements can take their toll. Over time, this exposure can lead to:

Micro-cracks: These tiny fissures in the panel’s surface can significantly reduce its efficiency in converting sunlight into electricity.

Hotspots: These occur when a section of the panel operates at a much higher temperature than the rest, often caused by faulty wiring, corrosion, or even animal nesting. Hotspots can lead to permanent damage in a solar panel if left undetected.

Debris Build-up: Leaves, twigs, and even bird droppings can accumulate on the panels, casting shadows and hindering their ability to capture sunlight.

Loose Connections: Over time, connections between panels and wiring can loosen, causing inefficiencies or even complete system failure. 

Springtime Solar Panel Inspection

Regular Solar Panel Inspections In The Spring

Early detection of potential issues during a panel inspection can prevent them from causing significant problems down the line, maximising your system’s performance and savings. Some benefits from a springtime inspection, include: 

Peak Performance Throughout the Year: While UK sunlight varies seasonally, regular inspections, especially during spring (when panels see increased sunshine), guarantee optimal efficiency. This means you’re getting the most out of your solar investment year-round. 

Catch Problems Early To Save Money Later: Professional inspections can identify potential issues like dust build-up, shading, or damaged wiring before they cause significant problems. Early detection saves you from unexpected repair costs and ensures your solar system lasts longer. 

Reduced Reliance on the Grid, Increased Savings: Regular maintenance keeps your panels generating more electricity, allowing you to rely less on the grid and significantly reduce your energy bills. 

A Greener UK: Solar power is a clean and renewable energy source and by ensuring your panels function optimally, you’re directly contributing to a cleaner UK by reducing dependence on fossil fuels and their associated emissions. 

Maintain Warranty Coverage: Most solar panel warranties in the UK require regular inspections. Neglecting these inspections can void the warranty, leaving you responsible for future repairs or replacements. Regular inspections protect your investment. 

Potential Boost to Home Value: Homes with well-maintained solar panels are attractive to potential buyers due to the long-term cost savings and environmental benefits. Regular inspections ensure your system is in top condition, potentially increasing your home’s resale value.

Springtime Solar Panel Maintenance

Why Spring Is The Perfect Time For A Solar Panel Inspection 

Spring offers the perfect opportunity to address potential issues with your solar panels before the peak summer months arrive. Here are the top 5 reasons why scheduling a spring solar panel inspection is a good move for any owner:

  1. Identify Winter Wear and Tear: The harsh conditions of winter can wreak havoc on solar panels. A spring inspection allows you to assess any damage caused by freezing temperatures, strong winds, or even snow accumulation. Early detection is key to preventing further problems and ensuring optimal performance throughout the year.
  2. Optimise Performance Before Peak Season: Summer brings longer daylight hours and increased energy demand. A spring inspection ensures your panels are in top condition to capture the maximum amount of sunlight during these crucial months. This translates into higher energy production and potentially lower electricity bills.
  3. Early Detection of Hotspots: Hotspots are a serious concern, as they can significantly reduce the lifespan of your solar panels and even pose a fire risk. A spring inspection with Thermographic Solar Panel Inspections can detect hotspots before they cause lasting damage, allowing for prompt repairs and ensuring the safety of your system.
  4. Clean Sweep for Optimal Efficiency: Spring is a natural time for cleaning and renewal. A drone inspection can help identify any debris build-up on your panels, allowing for a thorough cleaning to restore their efficiency. With a clear view of the sun, your panels will be able to generate power at their full potential.
  5. Peace of Mind for the Sunny Months Ahead: Knowing that your solar panels are in good working order provides reassurance throughout the summer. You can relax and enjoy the benefits of clean, renewable energy generation, safe in the knowledge that your system is operating efficiently.

The Power Of Drones For Safe & Detailed Solar Panel Inspections

Drone thermography shines as one of the most popular applications for drones with their ability to swiftly cover vast areas of land making them ideal for solar panel inspections.

A licensed drone thermographer can image hundreds of acres of solar fields in a fraction of the time required by traditional, ground-based methods. This translates to faster issue detection and significant time savings.

Our team at Build IR utilises advanced drones equipped with high-resolution cameras and Thermographic Solar Panel Inspection technology. This allows us to:

Safely inspect your solar panels: No need for anyone to risk their welfare by climbing onto your roof. Our drones provide a safe and efficient way to access even the most difficult-to-reach areas.

Capture high-resolution imagery: Our drones provide a detailed visual inspection of your entire solar panel system, allowing us to identify any physical damage or potential problems, like micro-cracks or loose wiring. This eliminates the need for close-up contact and ensures a comprehensive assessment of your panels’ health.

Utilise thermal imaging to detect hotspots: Thermal imaging cameras can detect even the smallest temperature variations on your panels, revealing hidden hotspots that may not be visible to the naked eye.

Generate comprehensive reports: Following the inspection, we’ll provide you with a detailed report outlining the findings, including high-resolution images, thermal data (if applicable), and clear recommendations for any necessary repairs or maintenance.

Residential Solar Panel System

The Top 3 Thermal Anomalies 

Solar Panels are a fantastic way to generate clean energy and save money on electricity bills, but even the best solar panels can encounter problems. Here, we’ll unveil the top three culprits that can steal your sunshine and significantly reduce your system’s output. 

Hot Spots are the biggest troublemakers: Over 600,000 (602,980) modules were affected by hot spots in 2022! These happen when a single cell gets too hot, like a tiny resistor stealing energy from healthy cells. A single hot spot can cause a huge drop in power output, up to 90% of what the whole panel should be making! 

String problems cost big too: More than 300,000 (314,060) modules had string issues. This can happen in a few ways: entire strings getting disconnected (losing 100% power!), parts of a string getting too hot (open circuit), or a strange patchwork pattern (short circuit). 

Beware of PID: Over 69,000 (69,954) modules had a problem called PID. This shows up as hot spots spreading from the edge of the panel. While not as common as hot spots, PID can still cause power loss, up to 30% per affected module, and it gets worse over time!

Take Action: Schedule Your Spring Drone Inspection Today

Don’t wait until summer arrives to discover potential problems with your solar panels. By scheduling a professional drone inspection in the spring, you can take proactive steps to ensure your system is operating at peak efficiency.

At Build IR, we are committed to providing our clients with the most advanced and effective solutions for Solar Panel Inspections. 

Contact us today to discuss your specific needs…let’s work together to keep your solar panels shining bright and ensure you enjoy the full benefits of clean, renewable energy throughout the year.


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