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Is Solar Energy Low Maintenance?

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With the increasing threat of global warming and ever reducing quantities of non-renewable energy sources (such as coal and fossil fuels), solar energy presents a positive alternative. Solar energy is available in constant and abundant supply, with the earth receiving approximately 20,000 times as much power from solar radiation as would be necessary to power the entire globe. This plenty of power supply, coupled with the fact that NASA estimates our sun will last another 6.5 billion years, proves just how sustainable solar energy can be. It offers a long-term source of energy without the possibility of “over-consuming” to the detriment of future generations.

But, some still argue that solar energy is not really an efficient source of power; many people worry that the ongoing maintenance required for such advanced technology will outweigh the potential benefits. These ones may be pleasantly surprised to learn that, although solar energy does involve advanced technology, solar-powered systems require relatively little ongoing maintenance. This is reflected in the extended warranties offered by most reputable solar manufacturers, with guarantees against defects averaging 20-25 years.

One of the key reasons why solar energy systems require little ongoing maintenance is because they have so few movable parts. Technology that relies on moving parts will always be subject to components rusting, breaking down or wearing out due to repeated use; these systems require regular servicing to keep everything working efficiently. But most solar-powered systems require few (if any) movable parts, meaning minimal routine servicing and less chance of interior components needing to be repaired or replaced.

One of the most commonly utilized forms of solar power is the installation of solar panels, whether in an industrial or residential setting. Solar panels do require routine inspections to ensure that dust and debris build-up is not interfering with the panels ability to efficiently absorb sunlight, but this can be as simple as a quick visual check. If cleaning is required (the need for cleaning will largely depend on the general weather conditions of the area) then a quick rinse is often all that is required (always follow manufacturer instructions for cleaning and do not spray cold water on to hot panels).

If more regular cleaning is necessary, then automated sprinkler systems can be installed and programmed to carry out routine washing. In areas where shared solar panels or community solar gardens are offered (a popular concept in the United States, where an estimated 1 in 5 homes are unsuitable for solar panel installation), the ongoing maintenance is further reduced, as several households may share the responsibility.

With ongoing advances in the technology surrounding solar energy, this power source is now being utilized in a wider range of functions. For example, a growing number of countries are investing in solar-powered street lights in an effort to lower carbon emissions and reduce running costs. Unlike traditional street lights, solar-powered lights require minimal wiring which makes them less susceptible to connection issues. These self-sufficient lights are designed to run off their own individual solar-powered battery, leading to minimal maintenance and repair work. The increased lifespan of solar globes also reduces the need for regular globe changing, reducing the necessary care and maintenance even further.

It is clear that solar energy offers a sustainable and low maintenance source of power, and continued research promises to deliver systems that will in the future require ever reduced levels of maintenance.

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