Summer Solar Electric System Tune Up

Summer Solar Electric System Tune Up Solutions

Summer is just around the corner and now is a good time to take a look at seasonal maintenance of your system. Here are some recommendations from Backwoods Solar to help you keep your off-grid or grid-tied solar electric system running at peak efficiency.

Solar Modules on Post Mount | Backwoods Solar Electric Systems, IncIf you have an adjustable rack mount for your solar panels, it is worth tilting them to the ideal angle to properly capture the summer sun. An appropriate angle can make a big difference in the amount of power collected. Stationary mounts are optimized for spring and fall at an angle that is the same as your latitude. Peak summer angle would be latitude minus 15 degrees. As an example, Sandpoint, Idaho is at 48 degrees north. Ideal summer angle is 48 - 15 = 33 degrees.

In winter many system owners will use more aggressive charger controller settings with slightly higher voltages and longer absorb times to take full advantage of any winter time sun. When summer comes around, these higher settings should be reduced to avoid overcharging batteries. Keep a notebook in your power room with these settings written down for your seasonal reference.

Battery Maintenance Flooded Lead AcidAbundant summer solar production can mask potential battery issues noticed during the previous winter. Now is a good time to start planning ahead for corrective maintenance or battery bank replacement for older battery sets. With hotter summer temperatures, keep extra distilled water on hand to replenish flooded lead acid cells. Also, keeping the battery room at lower temps if possible, with open windows, shading, etc. will provide a healthier environment for battery longevity.

Now is a great time to perform any overdue maintenance on valves, air filter, spark plugs, or other parts of your generator. If the generator uses a starter battery, consider a small 30 watt panel with a Sunguard charge controller for trickle charging the starter battery; or use the built-in feature of the generator or Auto Generator Start module, if available, to exercise the generator for 15 minutes or so once a month. Consider adding fuel stabilizer to the gasoline for gasoline generators.

Regular maintenance of solar electric systems includes checking your wiring and connections for correct torque. Many of the metals in connectors and contacts pass a lot of current over time. A connection that was previously tight and snug may become loose. Disassembling the connection points can reveal hidden corrosion that would not be visible otherwise. Powering down the system and going through these simple wiring checks at least once per year can proactively avoid problems that would otherwise grow to be a hazard if left unchecked. Always make sure that you are using best practices and follow manufacturers guidelines when powering systems off or on.

In conclusion, it's better to take care of your system now, than to experience failures at the most miserable time imaginable. Routine maintenance and a thorough knowledge of how your system responds to your daily usage in each season will serve you well for the lifespan of your system.

With over 40 years of experience, Backwoods Solar has the knowledge to help you choose the correct system components for your solar electric system needs. Give Backwoods Solar a call today at 208-263-4290 to speak with one of our system designers.
We offer FREE technical support for the life of the system
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26% Federal Tax Credit Ends 12/31/2020.
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Did you know..?

In 2019 the state of Washington passed bill E2SSB 5116 that provides 100% sales tax exemption on purchases of machinery and equipment used directly in a solar energy system generating 1kW - 100kW. Equipment purchased on or after July 1, 2019 and installed by December 31, 2029 qualifies. Backwoods Solar encourages residents of Washington to take advantage of this money saving exemption by downloading a
 Buyers’ Retail Sales Tax Exemption CertificateThis certificate is completed and kept on file with the seller or certified installer of eligible equipment. Details of this program can be found here.
Update On Changes to Backwoods Solar
Business Operation and Procedures

In response to current local, national and international events, and for the health and safety of our customers and staff, Backwoods Solar continues to suspend all walk-in system design consultations and informational visits. We will be happy to consult with you via phone and email, and our web site provides an abundance of useful information and tools that can answer many of the questions you may have.

Local pick-up of orders placed will be accepted with the following caveats:
  • All local pick-up orders must be prepaid with credit card or check-by-phone. We are not accepting cash or checks at time of pick-up.
  • All local pick-up orders must be preceded by phone or email notification to arrange time and date of pick-up.
  • All local pick-up orders will be handled at our loading bay in the front of the Pack River Store which is adjacent to Backwoods Solar. We will meet you at the bay and handle the delivery of product at that time. There will be no need to drive around back to our business offices.
As always, Backwoods Solar will continue our top-quality sales and support via phone and email.

Backwoods Solar understands that these policies and procedures may be an inconvenience and we regret if that is the case. Please call us at 208-263-4290 or email if you have any questions or concerns. We appreciate your consideration and understanding during these unique times.

Backwoods Solar wishes the best of health and safety to our solar energy family and friends and we look forward to resuming normal business operations as soon as possible. Thank you.

Request a 2020 Planning Guide & Catalog

Our 160-page Planning Guide & Catalog is free and has the information you need to make smart choices in the design of your renewable energy solution. The first 30 pages consist of a planning guide that acts as a road map to help you navigate your path to energy independence. Learn about the design elements of off-grid, grid-tie and critical-load systems, among other topics of interest. Determine appropriate system size with included worksheets and system examples while reviewing over 120 pages of recommended product information in one compact volume.

Click here to request a free catalog today.You may also download a PDF version here.
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