solar panel maintenance

Solar panel maintenance

Worried about solar panels and hail? Fret not! Solar panel systems are incredibly durable and require little to no maintenance over their productive lifetime, which can span 25 years or more. In the event that something does go wrong, your solar PV system components have very long warranties that would cover replacement and repair costs. If you lease your solar panel system, repairs and maintenance are the leasing company’s responsibility, not yours.


Key takeaways


  • Solar panels generally require little or even no maintenance.
  • The warranty provided by solar panel manufacturers covers most cleaning and maintenance services.
  • If your solar panels need cleaning, professional cleaners are a great option.
  • You can install a solar monitoring system in order to find out if your panels are declining in performance.
  • Visit the EnergySage Marketplace today to see how much you can save by going solar.

What’s in this article?

Do solar panels need to be maintained?

As we mentioned above, solar panel systems generally do not need much (if any) maintenance over their lifetime. Solar panels are made of tempered glass, so they’re built to withstand hail, strong winds, and other rough weather. With the exception of solar systems with tracking mounts, solar panel systems don’t have movable parts, which cuts down on the possibility of any problems. For the most part, keeping your panels clear of debris is all you’ll need to do as far as maintenance goes. Any issues with solar panel performance are usually related to electricity production, which is why most installers recommend monitoring your system’s production. By paying attention to changes in production, you can identify and address issues proactively.

Should you clean your solar panels?

Generally, solar panels don’t need to be cleaned – rooftop panels at an angle will naturally clean off with rainfall. If you live somewhere where there is a lot of smog, dust, or dirt, you may see a dip in your production (especially during times of low rain) over time that can be remedied by cleaning your panels. If your panels are mounted on your roof, however, your best option is to hire a professional cleaning service rather than try to clean them yourself. Your installer will be able to recommend someone local to help you.

Cleaning your panels can improve their performance, especially if they are roof-mounted. Some light cleaning is recommended 1-2 times a year to clean away debris and make sure the sun is making full contact with each panel. If you decide to clean your panels, your best option is to hire a professional cleaning service rather than try to clean them yourself. Your installer will be able to recommend someone local to help you.

How to clean your solar panels

If you find that you absolutely have to clean your solar panels, carefully follow the steps below.

  1. Shut off your solar panels.
  2. Wipe off the surface of your panel with a brush.
  3. Use a low-pressure hose or source of water to get rid of other debris
  4. Scrub remaining areas softly with another brush
  5. Monitor output to find if the cleaning has made a difference in efficiency.

How do I know if my solar panels need maintenance?

A solar system that is either damaged, dirty, or otherwise malfunctioning will leave a trail of breadcrumbs in its energy output stats. By monitoring your electricity bill, system software, or installing a solar monitoring system, in most cases you can narrow down the culprit for faster-than-usual degradation.

Solar panel warranties: protection if something goes wrong

Solar panel manufacturers provide a range of warranties that guarantee you will have support and coverage in the unlikely event of an issue caused by unusual circumstances, such as large hail or falling tree branches. Power output warranties guarantee that panel performance won’t fall below a specified level over the term of the warranty (usually 25 years). For instance, a manufacturer might provide a warranty to guarantee that peak power output won’t fall below 85 percent for 25 years.

Some manufacturers will also include an additional warranty that promises a higher output level over a shorter period of time. As an example, a secondary warranty might guarantee no less than 90 percent of initial power output for the first 10 years.

Panels typically come with a workmanship warranty that protects consumers against defective panel parts, generally for the first five years of operation. Solar inverters also come with warranties, usually for 10 years. In many cases, these warranties mean that you’ll pay little to no solar panel maintenance costs over the lifetime of your system. 

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About Jacob Marsh

Jacob is a researcher and content writer at EnergySage, where he's an expert on current issues–and new technology!–in the solar industry. With a background in environmental and geological science, Jacob brings an analytical perspective and passion for conservation to help solar shoppers make the right energy choices for their wallet and the environment. Outside of EnergySage, you can find him playing Ultimate Frisbee or learning a new, obscure board game.

2 thoughts on “Solar panel maintenance

  1. terry zeringue

    I have solar panels I get a error code, the company i bought from is no longer in business. i can’t get anyone to come out for repair. My solar panels are still in warranty. That’s what you get from buying local.

    Reply
  2. David Campbell

    If you’re looking for a way to reduce your carbon footprint, switching over to solar power may be a good option for you. Many people are unaware that solar panels don’t just provide you with free energy, they also help to protect the environment.

    Reply

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