Guide to Solar Panel Maintenance

Installing solar panels is an excellent way to reduce energy costs and environmental impact. Solar panels can last 25 to 30 years, and this investment can eventually pay for itself with all the money you’ll save on your utility costs.

However, it’s essential to properly maintain your solar panels to ensure you can get the most out of your investment. Below is a solar panel maintenance guide to help you learn about the maintenance of solar panels and how to keep them in the best condition for years.

Do Solar Panels Need Maintenance?

Solar panels do not need regular maintenance. However, you may need to occasionally clean your solar panels to ensure debris and dirt do not obstruct the sun’s light. Some conditions that may require you to clean your solar panels include:

  • Debris: If your solar panels are obstructed by leaves or branches after a storm, it can reduce your solar PV system’s efficiency. Debris can also create hotspots on your system, which can cause specific areas to overheat.
  • Stains or dust: Solar panels typically develop a film of stains or dust over time, which can also impact your system’s efficiency.
  • Snow and ice: Snow and ice buildup can result in under-cooling, which creates tiny cracks in the solar panels. Inches of snow or ice buildup can also impact your overall efficiency.

You may only need more extensive maintenance if a component in your solar PV system malfunctions. It is best to leave these maintenance and repair tasks to your professional solar installer, as they have the knowledge and skill to protect your solar panels during repairs.

How Often Do You Need to Perform Solar Panel Maintenance?

While solar panel maintenance is often minimal, you should still keep a general maintenance schedule in mind to ensure your panels operate at peak efficiency. The frequency of your maintenance will depend on the kind of maintenance, which can include:

  • Annual inspections: A professional should inspect your solar panels once a year to ensure all components work correctly and your system operates at peak efficiency.
  • Cleaning: Generally, you will need to clean your solar panels twice yearly. However, your climate will determine how often you need to clean your solar system. For example, if you are in a location with a lot of rainfall, you may only need to clean your solar panels once a year. Alternatively, if your solar system does not get a lot of rain and collects debris or dust frequently, you will want to account for more cleanings.
  • Additional maintenance: If your solar system exhibits problems outside of cleanings and your annual inspection, such as performance concerns, schedule a maintenance appointment with your solar installer to determine and repair the issue.

How to Maintain Your Solar Panels

The type of maintenance you need to perform will determine your maintenance process. You can often perform cleanings yourself unless your solar panels are mounted in places that may not be safe, such as sharp angles on your roof. In these cases, your solar installer can help you clean your panels. All inspections and repairs should be made by a professional, too.

Solar Panel Cleaning

Clean solar panels perform better than those covered in dust and debris. Cleaning your solar panels will depend on what type of situation you are dealing with.

If you are cleaning dust and debris from your panels, start with a water hose or leaf blower to clear any branches or leaves. Ensure you are not using a pressure washer or a high-pressure nozzle so you do not damage your panels. If your panels still seem dusty after rinsing them with water, you can use glass cleaner, water and a microfiber cloth to remove any remaining dust. Never use abrasive materials that can cause micro-cracks or scratches on your solar panels.

Snow should fall off easily if your solar panels are mounted at a steep angle. However, some solar panels are not oriented to let snow fall off. If snow accumulates on your solar panels, brushing it off is essential. Depending on the extent of snow you get in your area, you may have to do this daily during the winter.

Pour lukewarm water on your solar panels to help melt any snow or ice. Avoid hot water — extreme temperature changes can cause your panels to crack. Then, wipe away the remaining residue so it does not refreeze. Even a thin frost can reduce the efficiency of your solar panels.

Solar Panel Repairs

The leading indicator that your solar panels need repair and professional maintenance is if your energy input is reduced. If your solar panels are not producing as much energy as usual and your utility bills have increased, you will want to contact your solar installer to schedule a maintenance appointment.

How Much Does Solar Panel Maintenance Cost?

Most solar panel maintenance is free, as you can often easily remove dirt and debris yourself. If you want to hire a service to clean your solar panels for you, the cost can be a few hundred dollars, depending on your location. Repair and annual inspection costs vary widely.

However, many solar installers offer material and workmanship warranties to cover some of the repair costs you may encounter. These warranties guarantee that your solar panels will not fall below specific efficiency levels. They can also cover the costs of unexpected damage from storms and other situations outside your control.

It is essential to look at the specifics of your warranties, as many stipulate that your panels are covered as long as you maintain them. For example, if you do not clean your panels regularly, your warranty may not cover any repairs related to buildup.

Contact 8MSolar for Solar Panel Repairs

If your solar panels are not performing at their peak efficiency, 8MSolar can help you determine why and repair your system professionally. We are leaders in the North Carolina solar industry and have the knowledge and skill to diagnose problems with your system and help you improve its performance.

We also offer a 25- to 30-year warranty on your solar panels and a Lifetime Workmanship & Roof Penetrations warranty to ensure your solar investment is protected throughout its lifetime. Contact us today to learn more about our solar panel services and how we can help you keep your system running at peak efficiency.

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