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.
- 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?
- How to maintain your solar panels
- How to know when solar panels need maintenance
- Solar panel warranties and maintenance
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.
- Shut off your solar panels.
- Wipe off the surface of your panel with a brush.
- Use a low-pressure hose or source of water to get rid of other debris
- Scrub remaining areas softly with another brush
- Monitor output to find if the cleaning has made a difference in efficiency.
How do I know when 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.
The cost of maintaining solar panels
As with any service that involves hiring professionals, there is some cost associated with cleaning and maintaining solar panels. The good news is that because cleaning and maintenance are not needed very frequently, annual costs for maintaining solar panels are quite low. They could be as low as a few hundred dollars per year or $10 per solar panel.
The effect of weather on solar panels
At some point in their useful lifetime, your solar panels will probably come into contact with some kind of unfavorable weather. Modern solar panels are designed to withstand lots of damage from the elements including rain, snow and high winds. If they do need to be repaired or replaced, however, it is important to purchase panels that come with a strong warranty
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.
Start your solar journey today with EnergySage
EnergySage is the nation’s online solar marketplace: when you sign up for a free account, we connect you with solar companies in your area, who compete for your business with custom solar quotes tailored to fit your needs. Over 10 million people come to EnergySage each year to learn about, shop for and invest in solar. Sign up today to see how much solar can save you.