Solar panels are a great way to save money on your energy bill, but they need to be properly maintained in order to work their best.
It’s not as hard as you think to keep your rooftop solar panels clean – all it takes is a little bit of time and effort every 6 months or so. And if you don’t want to do it yourself, there are plenty of professional cleaning companies who would be more than happy to help.
Keep your solar panels working at their peak efficiency by following these simple maintenance tips.
You’ll see the savings on your energy bill in no time!
Solar Panel Maintenance Checklist:
Solar panel maintenance is simply checking connections, making sure they are not obstructed, and keeping them clean.
The great thing is since there are no moving parts, there’s not a lot that can go wrong. But it’s still important to keep an eye on things and make sure everything is in working order.
Here’s a simple solar panel maintenance checklist to help you get started:
1. Check the panels for dirt, dust, or bird droppings regularly. If you live in a dusty area, you may need to clean them more often.
2. Check to see if they are clear of overgrown trees and not in the shade. If they are, you or a tree surgeon will need to remove the obstruction.
3. Check the panels for cracks or damage. If you find any, you will need to have them repaired or replaced.
4. Check the connections between the panels and make sure they are secure. If they are not, you will need to have them fixed by a qualified electrician.
5. Have the panels cleaned by a professional every 6 months or so. This will ensure that they are working at their best and help to prolong their life.
By following these simple tips, you can keep your solar panels in top condition and make the most of the money you’ve invested in them.
Related: Can You Install Solar Panels On a Flat Roof? (MAYBE?)
DIY or Hire a Cleaning Company to Clean your Solar Panels?
OK, I have added this section first, because this makes the following steps of solar panel maintenance much more straightforward.
Now, unless you leave in a one-story property/bungalow where gaining access to the roof is much easier, I certainly wouldn’t advise you to attempt to clean your solar panels yourself.
So if it is one story you can clean them. If it’s not, I recommend hiring a professional cleaning company to do the job for you.
They will have all the equipment necessary to do a good job and also they are insured in case anything goes wrong.
Related: How Many Solar Panels Are Needed To Run An Air Conditioner Or Heat Pump?
DIY solar panel cleaning
If you live in a one-story property you should be able to clean the solar panels yourself.
You will need:
- 13 Foot Water Fed Extendable Conservatory Window Cleaning Pole Kit.
- Deionized water
Note: A lot of people think you need a chemical, but you don’t! Simply cleaning your panels with water is all you need.
If you haven’t done so already, purchase a 13 Foot Water Fed Extendable Conservatory Window Cleaning Pole Kit.
Wait to clean your panels the day after it has rained. This will ensure that any debris on the panels has been softened and will be easier to remove.
Fill your bucket with deionized water and wet the brush on your pole.
Starting from the top of the panel, work your way down in a circular motion. Be sure to brush lightly so as not to damage the panel.
Rinse the panel with deionized water and your brush and repeat steps 3-5 until the panel is clean.
That’s it! You’re done!
Things you should avoid:
- Using strong chemicals or abrasive materials to clean your panels as this can damage them.
- Climbing on your roof to clean the panels is dangerous and you could fall.
- Using a different solar panel company to maintain your panels when they weren’t the ones that installed them.
Hiring a professional cleaning company to clean your solar panels
If you live in a multi-story property, or can’t get access to your roof, you will need to hire either a window cleaner who uses the pure water system or a professional cleaning company.
They will have the right equipment to safely and effectively clean your solar panels.
Most professional cleaning companies will charge by the panel, but be sure to get a quote before they start work.
And that’s everything you need to know about solar panel maintenance! By following these simple steps, you can keep your panels clean and working at their best.
Related: Windows with Solar Panels Built In (YES REALLY!)
Solar Panel Maintenance Schedule
It’s important to keep to a 6-month schedule for cleaning and a 12-month schedule for general maintenance checks.
This will ensure that your panels are always in top condition and working at their best.
Solar Panel Servicing Cost
Solar panel checks
To be honest, the company you purchased your solar panels from should offer you a free service every year.
I recommend you contact them and schedule a service every year. Where possible, try to go back to the same company that fitted them, as some companies may refuse to work on panels they didn’t install.
Solar panel cleaning cost
As I mentioned earlier, you can clean your solar panels yourself if you live in a one-story property.
If you don’t, or can’t get access to your roof, you will need to hire either a window cleaner who uses the pure water system or a professional cleaning company.
The cost per panel ranges from $4 to $15, but be sure to get a quote before they start work.
Related: How Much Do Solar Panel Systems Cost?
Solar Panel Maintenance Issues
Through the life of ownership, you should really get that many problems with your solar panels.
However, if you do have any problems, the first thing you should do is call the company you purchased your panels from.
They will be able to help you troubleshoot the problem and, if necessary, send out a technician to take a look.
Here are some of the problems you may experience and how to solve them:
I’m going to be completely honest here. On most websites, they will advise you to put some sort of mesh or protective barrier around your solar panels to stop birds from pooping on them.
But the truth is unless you live in an area with a lot of birds, this really isn’t necessary.
The odd bird poop here and there isn’t going to do any damage to your panels and it’s easily cleaned off with just a bit of water.
Also, no one does this. It’s a total pain to clean anything with a wire mesh around it, so just save yourself the trouble and don’t bother.
There isn’t much you can do with bird poop other than clean your solar panels every 6 months.
If you don’t know what a hot spot is (I didn’t until I did a bit of research), these are the parts of the panel that get heated up, they’re called hotspots.
They are frequently caused by poorly-soldered connections, or as a result of a structural fault.
On the rare occasion, this can happen if the panels are soiled or shaded. If this is the case, you can try cleaning or trimming back any vegetation that is shading the panels.
If you have a lot of hot spots on your panels, it’s best to call in a technician to take a look as this could be a sign of a more serious problem.
The inverter is the part of the system that changes the direct current (DC) from the solar panels into an alternating current (AC) that can be used in your home.
If you have a problem with your inverter, it’s likely that your entire system will stop working. This isn’t something you can fix yourself, so you will need to call in a technician.
Snow and ice
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice, you may find that your solar panels are covered for long periods of time.
This isn’t a big problem as the snow will eventually melt, but it can cause your system to work less efficiently.
If you’re really worried about it, you can invest in a solar panel cover. This is a thin, transparent sheet that goes over your panels and stops the snow and ice from building up.
Micro-cracks are tiny cracks/tears in the pv crystalline glass of your solar cell. They don’t usually cause any problems and are often barely visible, but they can reduce the efficiency of your panels by up to 30%.
Believe it or not, this mostly happens during manufacture or during shipment.
The best way to avoid micro-cracks is to buy your panels from a reputable company. If you do get micro-cracks, there’s not much you can do other than replace the panel.
The PID effect (which stands for – Potential Induced Degradation) is when your solar panels start to degrade and lose power because of an interaction between the materials used in the panel.
This usually happens with cheaper panels that use lower quality materials. It can also happen if your panels are exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do once your panels have been affected by the PID effect.
You will need to replace them with new panels.
This is a common problem, especially if you live in a rural area with a lot of trees.
If your solar panels are shaded by trees, it can reduce the amount of electricity they generate by up to 50%.
The best way to solve this problem is to trim back any branches that are shading the panels. You should also consider planting deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in winter) as they will provide shade in summer when the sun is at its strongest, but won’t shade the panels in winter when the sun is lower in the sky.
You may also want to consider moving your solar panels to a different location if tree shading is a constant problem.
Out of everything that can and will go wrong with your solar system, wiring issues are the most common.
This is because there are a lot of wires involved, and they can all break or become disconnected over time.
The best way to avoid wiring issues is to have your system installed by a professional. If you do have problems with your wiring, you should call in a technician to take a look.
- Solar panel maintenance isn’t as complicated or time-consuming as you might think.
- The most important thing you can do is to keep your panels clean and free of debris.
- If you have any problems with your solar panel system, the best thing to do is to call in a technician.
- Make sure you schedule regular maintenance check-ups to ensure that your system is always in top condition.
Is solar panel maintenance expensive?
No, the solar panel company that installed your system should offer maintenance packages at a reasonable price. Also, you only need to clean them every 6 months.
How often do I need to clean my solar panels?
It depends on your location and the type of panels you have, but most experts recommend cleaning your panels at least once a year.
What happens if I don’t maintain my solar panel system?
If you don’t maintain your system, it will eventually stop working and you’ll have to replace it.
How do I know if my solar panel system is working properly?
The best way to tell is to have a professional come and take a look at it. They’ll be able to diagnose any problems and give you advice on how to fix them.