How Much Maintenance Do Solar Panels Need?

How Much Maintenance Do Solar Panels Need?

You just invested thousands of dollars into a new solar panel system. If properly cared for, a solar system should last for at least 25 years, if not longer. However, if the solar system is not adequately maintained, it won’t last for nearly as long as it should.

Everybody always talks about how much energy they can generate for your home when buying a solar panel system. However, many people don’t talk about how often solar panels need to be maintained. Of course, solar panel maintenance is essential.

Solar panels don’t require much maintenance because they don’t have any moving or exposed parts. A lack of moving parts decreases the care that a solar panel needs.

Yet, there is still a bit of maintenance required. This article will discuss how often solar panel maintenance needs to be performed. We’ll also cover why and how you need to maintain your solar panels, so they last for as long as possible.

What is Solar Panel Maintenance?

Once again, a lack of moving parts makes things easier. When people talk about solar panel maintenance, they’re really talking about cleaning. Most solar panel maintenance involves cleaning and removal of debris.

If your solar panels have too much debris and dirt, they won’t function properly. In addition, the more solid material is blocking the panels, the less sunlight they can absorb. Therefore, cleaning them fairly regularly is necessary to maintain their maximum output.

Another aspect of solar panel maintenance is ensuring all parts are properly secured. All joints and bolts should be secured appropriately because loose components may affect your solar panels’ overall functionality and performance. In addition, loose pieces may break or snap off due to extreme weather. Therefore, checking these components should be part of your regular maintenance.

Any solar accessories need to be monitored as well. This includes power meters, regulators, panels, inverters, and batteries. Although these don’t require much maintenance in general, they should be monitored and examined periodically.

How Often to Maintain Solar Panels?

Most solar power maintenance will be cleaning and removal of debris. So, how often does this need to be done? Generally speaking, you should clean your solar panels about three to four times per year.

This will ensure no solid debris prevents the panels from absorbing light. This will also help keep them in excellent condition. As far as monitoring accessories and securing all parts, doing so whenever you perform cleaning is recommended.

Factors That Affect Solar Power Maintenance Frequency

How often you should maintain your solar panels will depend on various factors. Remember, we are talking primarily about cleaning them.

Tilt of the Solar Panels

One factor that will significantly influence solar panels maintenance is how they are tilted; the pitch of your roof makes a difference. For instance, debris will have difficulty falling off if your roof has a very gradual slope.

However, if your roof is really steep, dirt and debris should fall right off. This also concerns rainfall. Water will roll off with a really steep roof and take the debris with it.

If a roof has a gradual slope, rain is not as likely to take debris and dirt with it as it falls off. So, generally speaking, the steeper your roof is, the less maintenance solar panels need.

Position of the Solar Panels

If your solar panels are placed under trees, leaves and other debris will constantly fall on them, significantly increasing the frequency of required maintenance.

Solar panels should be installed so there are no branches above them. You don’t want heavy pine cones, tree sap, and even branches falling on your solar panels. A falling branch could shatter a solar panel. In addition, you also don’t want trees blocking the sunlight from your solar panels and reducing their output.

Weather

Another factor is the weather. If you live in an area where it rains a lot, you will need to maintain your solar panels a lot less. Simply put, a good rainstorm is a fast and straightforward way to clean those solar panels. In addition, a good bit of rain will help wash away leaves, dirt, and other debris. If you live in an area where it frequently rains, you might only have to clean them once or twice a year.

However, if you live in a dry and dusty area, you might have to clean your solar panels five or six times per year.

Height of the Solar Panels

Something else that can affect maintenance requirements is height. If the solar panels are located on a tall roof, they will likely get more wind. The more wind those solar panels get, the more debris will be blown off. However, if you have ground-mounted solar panels beside your home, they might not get a lot of wind.

This will increase the amount of maintenance and cleaning that they require. This also depends on the area where you live. Some parts of the world are much windier than others.

Your Location – Urban or Rural

Where you live will also affect solar panel maintenance frequency. For example, if you live in the countryside, clean air will keep those solar panels clean for longer. On the other hand, your solar panels will require more maintenance if you live in a city or an industrial area.

Being exposed to dust from fast-moving cars will increase the frequency of maintenance required. Moreover, the pollution and gases created by vehicles, factories, etc., will increase the amount of maintenance solar panels need.

Air pollution has a pretty significant effect on solar panels because it literally sticks your solar panels and will need to be cleaned off regularly. Solar panels in cities generally need to be cleaned more often than in rural areas.

How to Clean & Maintain Solar Panels

Let’s go through a quick guide on exactly how to clean and maintain your solar panels.

Cleaning Solar Panels – Step by Step

  1. Always switch the solar panel system off before you clean it.
  2. Manually remove as much debris as you can. You can use your hands to reach the debris or a soft broom to extend your reach.
  3. Spray the solar panels with lukewarm water – not too hot or cold. Also, never use any soap or detergent on the solar panels. The water should also be soft; you don’t want to use hard water with many mineral deposits to clean solar panels.
  4. If necessary, with the solar panels wet, you can use a sponge to clean them. However, ensure the sponge is nonabrasive, or else you will scratch the solar panels.

As you can see, cleaning solar panels is relatively easy. However, if you don’t want to or cannot clean them, you can always hire professionals to do it for you.

Other Solar Panel Maintenance Tips

  • Always make sure that joints, nuts, and bolts are properly secured. If anything is loose, you need to tighten it right away.
  • If you notice any changes in output, you should check if there are any broken components. If anything is broken, it needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • Ensure that all wires are correctly connected. Improperly connected wires can cause fires electrocution and can significantly reduce output.
  • If you have a solar inverter, pay attention to the indicator lights. These will tell you if maintenance is required and whether everything is functioning correctly.
  • If you have lead-acid batteries, these need to be topped up with water regularly.
  • All accessories need to be monitored every few months to ensure they are in prime condition and functioning correctly.

Conclusion

Maintaining solar panels is not difficult and doesn’t need to be done frequently. Generally speaking, three or four times per year should be OK. If your solar panels are correctly positioned and if they get plenty of rain, then you might have to clean them only once a year.

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Hi there! I'm Ally, I can help you find out if solar makes sense for your home in 30 seconds!

See if your home qualifies and how much you could save with current programs available...