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Guide to Solar Panel Maintenance (2023). Solar cleaning cost

Guide to Solar Panel Maintenance (2023). Solar cleaning cost

    Guide to Solar Panel Maintenance (2023)

    Although modern solar panels are durable, regularly maintaining your panels can help to ensure maximum efficiency. Read on to learn more.

    Solar panels are very durable, and the best solar installation companies offer 25 to 30-year warranties to ensure performance over the lifespan of your panels. However, it’s still important to know about proper solar panel maintenance. The main requirement is regular cleaning — when dust and other particles accumulate on the surface of your panels, it can block sunlight, and electricity production can decrease.

    In this article, we at the Guides Home Team will review what you need to know about maintaining your solar panels, including general tips and information, average maintenance costs and solutions to common operating issues.

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    Tips for Maintaining Solar Panels

    Residential solar panels need little maintenance other than regular cleaning, but you must use suitable tools and methods to prevent damage. Generally, photovoltaic (PV) modules have simpler maintenance needs than other power generation systems since they have no moving parts subject to mechanical wear. Here are some recommendations on how to clean solar panels properly:

    Clean Your Solar Panels at Least Two Times per Year

    Many solar manufacturers and installation companies, like SunPower and NRG Clean Power. recommend cleaning your PV modules at least twice per year. Depending on site conditions and the weather, you may need to clean your system more frequently. For example, dust will accumulate faster on solar panels if there is a large construction project near your home. Rain can clean your solar panels for free, washing away built-up material such as dirt and bird droppings. However, you should always conduct a visual inspection after extreme weather, to make sure your solar panels are still in good working condition.

    Avoid Abrasive Cleaning Tools and Chemical Agents

    You should never clean solar panels with roof rakes, hard brushes or other tools that may scratch their surface. Also, avoid chemical cleaning agents since they can also cause damage. Soft brushes and squeegees are suitable for solar panel cleaning, or you can use a leaf blower or garden hose.

    Never Wash Solar Panels When They Are Hot

    You can wash solar panels with a garden hose, but you should never do this on a hot summer day. PV modules reach high temperatures under the sun, and the sudden cooling effect caused by washing can cause cracks on their surface. Keep in mind that your solar panels may still be warm after sunset, especially if the weather has been particularly hot.

    Watch Out For Drops in Efficiency

    Dust build-up reduces the energy output of solar panels over time. Many of the solar inverters used in PV systems have mobile apps, which means you can keep track of daily productivity. You can expect low electricity output on cloudy days. but if you notice low productivity in sunny weather conditions, your panels may be covered by leaves or other objects. If your solar inverter does not have built-in energy monitoring, you may not notice lower-than-average productivity. Low solar energy outputs will increase your energy consumption from the grid, and you will know there is an issue when the next electricity bill arrives. We recommend getting a power monitoring system if not included with your solar panel installation. Electricity output will also drop if your solar panels or other system components suffer a malfunction. However, this should not be a problem if you have solid product warranties from the equipment manufacturer and a workmanship warranty with your solar company. These warranties should cover performance issues at no cost. Even with proper maintenance, solar panels will gradually lose performance over time. However, degradation happens at a very slow rate if you purchase high-quality solar panels, averaging just a 0.5% efficiency loss per year. This means you will still get over 90% of your panels’ initial energy output even after 20 years of use.

    The Cost of Maintaining Solar Panels

    According to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). the annual operation and maintenance cost of home solar systems is around 31 per kilowatt (kW) of installed capacity. This means a 6 kW system has an estimated operating and maintenance cost below 200 per year. The cost of professional solar cleaning services can vary depending on your location and the size and complexity of your system. DIY cleaning is feasible if you have a ground-mounted system or an easy-to-access flat roof. But due to the risks involved, professional cleaning services are recommended for solar energy systems on sloped roofs.

    Making Use of Solar Panel Warranties

    • Generally, the manufacturer will only offer the warranty if solar panels are used according to their instructions and installed by qualified professionals.
    • If your PV system fails and there is evidence of an incorrect installation, the manufacturer may void the warranty.

    You can also get a warranty for other system components such as solar inverters, PV module racking and home battery systems. However, many of these components have a shorter lifespan than solar panels, along with shorter warranties. For example, solar batteries and inverters generally need a replacement after 10 to 12 years. You should plan replacements in advance to avoid interruptions in solar electricity production.

    How to clean your solar panels

    While a solar energy system is generally a “set it and forget it” system that allows you to passively produce renewable energy for your home, you may need to freshen up your panels occasionally. While it’s not absolutely necessary to clean solar panels, you may be losing out on value and efficiency by not doing so. In this article, we’ll provide answers to some common questions solar panel system owners have about solar panel maintenance and how to perform it safely.

    Do I have to clean my solar panels?

    Your solar panels need to be exposed to sunlight in order to produce power. However, unless you live somewhere with high amounts of smog, dust, dirt, grime or sand blowing around, solar panel cleaning is generally not necessary. In most cases, occasional rain will be enough to naturally and safely keep your solar panels clean and free of debris that could lower production. But a good clean every once in a while can help to maximize your panel’s photovoltaic (PV) production. So if you need or want to clean your solar panels, we’re here to help you determine the best way to do it!

    Can I clean my solar panels myself?

    Just like washing your car, you can definitely DIY solar panel upkeep, but there are also professional solar panel cleaners to make it easier. In fact, for a small fee, your solar installer may even do it for you! If you have a rooftop system, it might be a good idea to enlist a cleaning service, if only for safety precautions. A professional solar panel cleaning company may not do a significantly different or better job than you can do yourself, but they are better equipped to safely clean and maintain rooftop units. For ground mount units, it may not be worth the service fee when you can safely and effectively clean your own panels with a water hose, some dish soap, and a soft rag.

    Types of of professional cleaning

    There are many different types of professional cleaning companies that can help you. Robotics companies use semi-autonomous machines to clean without as much direct personal work involved. Some maintenance companies also use soapless brushes and sponges to clean panels to avoid potentially harmful residues. Other high-tech cleaning options are in development including waterless vibration and nanoparticle coatings.

    Does your solar lease cover panel maintenance?

    If your panels are leased, solar lease agreements will often include a maintenance clause of some sort. Some companies will perform regular maintenance on their panels, including washing services, while others will just repair damages the customer reports. It’s important to remember that solar panels generally require little maintenance, and simply spraying your panels down with a hose occasionally can do the trick.

    How to clean solar panels

    Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean your solar panels:

    • Shut off your solar panel system – this will help ensure your safety and that equipment is not damaged.
    • Use a soft brush to clean the surface of your dirty solar panels to remove any debris like dirt and dust.
    • When cleaning your panels with water, be sure to use a standard garden hose and soapy water. There’s no special cleaning solution you need to purchase to clean your panels, just regular dish soap will work perfectly. You should avoid using a high-pressure hose that you might use to do things like power washing your house, as they have the ability to create cracks or otherwise damage your system.
    • After you have finished the cleaning process, monitor energy output to see the difference in efficiency that cleaning has made!

    What should you use to clean your solar panels?

    When cleaning your solar panels, the most important consideration to keep in mind is that scratching or damaging the glass in any way will reduce a panel’s energy production. It’s best to approach panel cleaning the same way you might clean your car. Dish soap and clean water applied with a soft sponge or cloth is the safest and easiest cleaning method. It may also be helpful to use a squeegee to remove dirty water. Remember – avoid damaging or scratching the glass at all costs!

    On rare occasions, oily stains can appear on your panels. You might find these if you live near a common truck route or an airport, and they can be tackled with a little isopropyl alcohol and a rag. It’s essential that you avoid using strong cleaning detergents, as these can streak and damage the glass and impact panel efficiency.

    How often should you clean solar panels?

    The frequency of solar panel cleaning depends primarily on where you live:

    • In desert climates including the U.S. southwest, more regular cleaning is needed due to the large amount of dust and sand that could affect a solar energy system’s output.
    • Solar panels in polluted areas near highways, factories and airports should also be cleaned more frequently to avoid residue buildup from pollutants that could result from heavy machinery nearby.
    • In heavily wooded areas, solar panels should be frequently cleaned to prevent obstructions as a result of overgrown vegetation and bird droppings.

    Should you remove snow from your solar panels?

    In the winter, snow on solar panels generally doesn’t need to be removed – it will typically slide off on its own. Most panel installations are tilted at an angle, and snow will naturally slide off as it melts. If snow persists on your panels, you can also invest in tools like a solar panel snow rake, which makes it easy for homeowners to safely remove snow covering on solar panels. It’s important that you don’t use a standard broom, shovel, or another non-specialized tool to remove snow from panels, as they can scratch the panel glass and lower your solar power production.

    Frequently asked questions about solar panel cleaning

    Dish soap and a soft sponge or rag are the best thing to clean solar panels with.

    Yes, you can clean solar panels yourself by filling a bucket with water and using dish soap and a low pressure hose.

    Keeping your solar panels clean will not automatically void your warranty, but be sure to avoid using harsh chemicals and pressure washers or other water fed poles that could potentially crack or otherwise damage your panels. Improper cleaning practices do have the potential to void your warranty, so be sure to read the details before you jump into cleaning yourself.

    Windex is a cheap and widely available cleaner that is excellent for cleaning glass surfaces such as those on a solar panel to make sure they are running at maximum efficiency.

    While they may be good for cleaning other parts of your home, a pressure washer should never be used on solar panels to avoid damaging them and creating cracks.

    A professional cleaner may charge between 150 and 300 to clean solar panels. This varies widely on the type of panel, the degree of cleanliness and how many panels you have. Costs range from 15-30 per panel.

    While debris being cleaned off naturally by rain will help, making a concerted effort to clean your panels will lead to increased solar panel performance.

    It is recommended that you clean your solar panels every six months to a year in order to maximize the efficiency of your solar panels.

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    Solar cleaning cost

    Solar panel cleaning is an essential process to improve the efficiency of the panels. Solar panels convert the sunlight into usable electricity. The photovoltaic cells (PV cells) present in the panels help convert solar energy into electrical energy. These cells are kept in a grid-like pattern on the surface of the panels. The panels are usually made of crystalline silicon cells.

    The solar energy source is free and renewable. It is one of the most popular renewable resources used in buildings and households for various purposes like lighting, cooking, heating, washing, and operating multiple electrical appliances. In addition, solar helps reduce carbon emissions to the atmosphere. So, it is environmentally friendly.

    Solar panel cleaning (Source: Tzahi V from Getty Images Signature on Canva )

    Solar panels require low maintenance. Simply, cleaning with water will get the job done most of the time. However, dust and dirt cause the solar panels to work inefficiently. The cleaning process includes removing dirt from the panels’ surface to absorb the sunlight properly. In addition, other particles like leaves and bird droppings can also block the solar panels from being exposed to direct sunlight.

    The proper way of cleaning solar panels is with water and a sponge. Some also suggest using soap water. But it can leave residues and encourage dirt to stick to them. Often, rain cleans off the dust and dirt. But bird droppings and residues might remain on the surface. So, it is best to use water and soft sponges to avoid scratching the surface.

    In this article, we will learn more about cleaning solar panels and their benefits.

    When to Clean Solar Panels?

    Solar panels are installed in an open environment. Therefore, the solar panels become dirty depending upon the time and space. But the cleaning depends on several factors like your area, weather conditions, exposed time, and solar design. So, it might not necessary to clean them at all during the spring and summer seasons. But, during winters—especially when the sunlight is less available throughout the day—you might need frequent cleaning. Since it rains less in the winter, it is probably reasonable to clean the panels at least once a month.

    A dirty and clean solar panel (Source: Tzahi V Canva

    You should check the solar panels from time to time. If there is excessive dust, it is time for cleaning. The appropriate time to clean them is early in the morning or in the evening (late afternoon). You can also do it on an overcast day. In the afternoon, the sun falls directly into the panels. So, it can evaporate the water quickly, and the dirt might remain on the surface.

    Early morning is a good time because it will form dew on the surface overnight. Further, you will need less water and effort for cleaning. over, in the afternoon, the panels work more efficiently, and you would not want to interfere with it during its most productive time of the day. It might also not be a pleasant experience for you to clean in the hot weather when the sun falls directly during the afternoon.

    How to Clean Your Solar Panels?

    As we said, the easiest way to clean solar panels is with water and a soft sponge. Some suggest using a mild detergent too. However, do not use water pressure as it can cause damage to the panels’ surface. Instead, use the sponge to remove dirt like bird droppings and wash it off with water and detergent.

    Technician cleaning solar panels (Source: Arkadiusz Wargula Canva)

    Do not use strong detergents or chemicals. They might also cause damage. Furthermore, always consider safety measures when cleaning. For example, use a long-handled tool to reach the panels while staying on the ground.

    Usually, the cleaning requires nothing more than a garden hose. But again, use it at a low water pressure. The hose works in the same way as the rain to clean the surface. If the panels are unreachable from the ground, use a ladder to climb up. You can also use ropes and harnesses if necessary. But, always consider safety measures.

    Another way to clean solar panels is to hire a professional cleaning service. Many companies provide this service in exchange for a certain fee. For instance, some companies might charge you annually, while others might charge you for a one-time service.

    But, before considering professional cleaning services, you must look into the return on investment of hiring them. If you are spending hundreds of dollars just to get 5 to 10 percent efficiency from the panels, it might not be worth it.

    How Often to Clean Your Solar Panels?

    Solar panels require low maintenance. You do not have to clean them as often as you might think. Sometimes, particles like bird droppings and leaves can block the panels from receiving sunlight. In such cases, you have to clean them as soon as possible.

    An owner cleaning the solar panels (Source: Orietta Gaspari Canva)

    However, solar panels get cleaned on their own. Even though the surface collects dust and dirt throughout the day, they will not be enough to disrupt the working of the panels. A study conducted by the University of California San Diego showed that solar panels left out without cleaning for 145 days lost only about 7.4 percent of efficiency. So, you do not need to clean the panels very often.

    In general, you should clean the panels once every spring, summer, and autumn season. However, you should clean it once every month during the winter season because the sunlight is minimum during this time.

    But, if unusual events like blockage due to leaves, snow, and bird droppings occur, you must clean them immediately. But, again, several factors like the weather conditions, area, and pollution might impact how often to clean your solar panels.

    Some experts also suggest cleaning the panels only once or twice a year. Further, it is also good to observe the panels’ energy efficiency changes before and after you have cleaned them. In addition, you must watch how the cleaning time intervals impact the output.

    Cost to Clean Your Solar Panels

    As said before, you can hire a cleaning service to clean your solar panels. Many companies will provide you with this service. But, before you make the professional cleaning decision, you must look for the cheap option first, which is to clean the panels by yourself. It is not that difficult. You only need water, detergent, and a sponge.

    The cleaning companies come with fancy cleaning equipment, tricking you into believing that they will clean it better for you. Therefore, spending money on them might not be worth it if you can do it yourself. However, if you have many solar panels for cleaning, you should consider hiring the companies.

    So, if you do not have the time and equipment to clean them by yourself, let these companies handle the cleaning for you. But, again, you must understand that you do not need to clean the panels very often. Having the cleaning companies visit once or twice a year will be enough.

    Depending on your area and your solar panels’ size, the cost of cleaning them might differ. Usually, it can cost anywhere from 100 to 600 per visit to hire solar cleaning companies. So, it is your decision; do you want to spend hundreds of dollars cleaning your solar panels? On the other hand, if you can do it yourself with almost zero dollars in cost, why not consider taking the time and effort to do so?

    Best Method to Clean Your Solar Panel [Stepwise]

    The best solar panel cleaning method uses only water, a soft sponge, and mild soap (or detergent). Consider doing the cleaning by yourself as hiring professional cleaners might not be worth the money.

    Cleaning solar panels is quick and easy. If you plan to do it yourself, always consider the safety measures because you might have to climb on the roof. Below is a stepwise process of the basic cleaning process.

    • Step 1: Check your solar panel manufacturer if they have any specific recommendations for cleaning the panels.
    • Step 2: Consider cleaning in the morning or late afternoon. You can also do it on a cool day.
    • Step 3: Clean gently with a garden hose at first. Usually, if there is not much dust and dirt, that will do it. However, if the panels are still dirty and contain bird droppings and other particles, you need more cleaning.
    • Step 4: Take a bucket with clean water and mild soap. Use soap water to clean the surface of the panels gently. However, make sure that you don’t leave any residue. You do not have to clean the wiring underneath the panels.
    • Step 5: Rinse the panels with clean water with the hose and use a squeegee to dry off the panels. But you can also leave them to dry naturally.
    • Step 6: Repeat the process until all panels are clean.

    As we said, always consider safety measures if you have to climb up on the roof. Use a ladder, rope, and safety harness if you must climb up. Further, if the places are unreachable with your effort, hire a professional cleaning service. They will have all the equipment and experienced cleaners who can climb and do all the work for you.

    Is Solar Panel Cleaning Worth it?

    Most experts say that it is not worth it to clean your solar panels by hiring cleaning services. The return on such investment doesn’t justify it.

    The average change in the efficiency of solar panels when they are dirty is 5 percent. But, in most climates, the next rain will wash off the dirt and allow the panels to return to their maximum output. So, just because there is some dirt on your panels, you do not have to clean them immediately unless it has extensively affected the efficiency.

    guide, solar, panel, maintenance, 2023

    Furthermore, solar panels are installed in a tilted form. So, most of the time, the bottom of the panels will collect dirt or water runoff. But this will not decrease the output of the panels. Even if it does, it will be very little. So, it is not something you should be worried about.

    Cleaning solar panels can require a lot of effort. It is not easy to climb up on the roof and clean them yourself. It might not be worth it because that amount of effort will only provide a little outcome. However, solar panel cleaning is worth it only if the efficiency has been affected due to the dirt collected on the surface. Especially in the winter seasons, the panels can get dirty when it does not rain for months. During such times, it will be worth it to clean them and regain the panels’ performance. Furthermore, cleaning solar panels can increase the system performance and, as a result, reduce your electric bills.

    Tips for Maintenance and Cleanliness

    A solar panel-based energy system is not only about the panels. It also includes other components like a battery, inverter, and solar charge controller. So, it is not that if you clean your panels regularly, your system will work fine. The performance of harnessing solar power depends on the maintenance of all the components of the system.

    A solar panel system requires low maintenance, and solar panels can last for decades. But they will not last forever. Every electronic piece of equipment wears off over time. However, with regular maintenance of the panels and the overall system, you can increase the number of years it lasts and provides good performance.

    Cleaning solar panels is only a part of its maintenance. So do not just FOCUS on the cleanliness of the panels. Also, check the overall system and whether all the components are working together to provide maximum efficiency. In addition, you can also hire local electricians or solar technicians to check your system for its maintenance.


    A solar-based system for heating, lighting, cooking, washing and other purposes has become popular among most households. Solar is one of the most commonly used renewable energy sources today. Check frequently if the system is working correctly. See if your panels have a lot of dirt on the surface. If there is only a little dirt, you should not be worried. But if these panels are very dirty, then cleaning is necessary to increase the system’s energy efficiency.

    Solar panels get dirty over time. Dust, bird droppings, leaves, and other particles get caught up on the surface. A lot of dirt reduces the energy efficiency of the panels. Hence, cleaning them would be appropriate. In general, solar panels require low maintenance. Therefore, cleaning them is easy as you only need water, mild detergent soap, and a soft sponge.

    Another way to clean your solar panels is to hire professional cleaning services. They will charge specific fees for their service. However, most experts say that it is not worth it to hire cleaners for your solar panels. Plus, you do not need frequent cleaning. Once every season will do it. So, think before deciding to hire anyone to clean your solar panels.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Why should you clean your solar panels?

    The presence of dust, dirt, bird droppings, leaves, and other particles negatively affects solar panels’ efficiency. Therefore, you must clean the panels. According to the study conducted by Google, solar panel cleaning is the best way to increase their energy efficiency. Further, the experiment also concluded that rain alone is not enough to clean the solar panels.

    So, it is good to rely on rain for natural cleaning. But as time passes and your panels get older, you must clean them at least once or twice a year.

    What do I use to clean solar panels?

    The best way to clean the solar panels is by using water, mild soap, and a soft sponge. Also, you can use a garden hose to spread water on the panels’ surface. Further, you must be very careful not to scratch the panels in any way. Do not use high-pressure water on the surface as it will damage the panels. Instead, use mild soapy water and wash the panels with a soft sponge. Then, rinse it with clean water with the help of the hose.

    Will neglecting solar panel cleaning cost me money?

    Probably, yes. Solar panels lose their energy efficiency if you do not keep them clean. Even though they require low maintenance, they can still lose 15 to 25 percent efficiency if you do not clean them for very long.

    It means that your solar-based electric system will produce 15 to 25 percent less energy. The primary purpose of installing the system is to reduce the electricity bills. Also, the installation can cost you a lot of money. So, keeping the solar panel clean means that you are utilizing your investment to its full potential. You will be adding a couple more years to the payback time.


    Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding solar panel cleaning and robotic solutions to solar panel operation and maintenance (OM).

    If your question isn’t answered, please contact us:

    Why cleaning solar panels?

    Regular cleaning maintains your photovoltaic installation and can help it regain performance. The sunlight reflection diminishes with dirt and reduces the absorption of solar energy on photovoltaic cells.

    What is the solar panel cleaning cost?

    The average cleaning price varies greatly depending on the market. When calculating the price, you need to consider several factors that will influence the final cost:

    the level of dirtiness of the installation (the dirtier the installation, the higher the price). 2. the accessibility of the installation (the more difficult the installation is to access, the higher the cost). 3. access to water (if there is no access to water, a water tank is needed, which means a higher cost; it is not a problem in the case of waterless cleaning). 4. the size of the solar installation (the larger the installation, the lower the cost per panel). 5. the type of solar installation (floating installations are more complex to clean than normal rooftops, therefore, the cost will be higher).

    However, solar panels without cleaning can lose up to 2/3 of production potency. Cleaning solar panels actually helps to increase the value of power plants. As a result, cleaning solar panels is very lucrative for the cleaners.

    What is the difference between manual cleaning and cleaning with a solar robot?

    Comparing to robotic solar panel cleaning, manual cleaning can imply high labour cost and security issues. It is also a less efficient way in cleaning large-scale solar installations. We have summarised some major differences of cleaning manually vs cleaning with a robot:

    Speed: One solar cleaning robot can replace 10 workers cleaning with manual brushes.

    Security: Cleaners working at height are exposed to elevated security risk. While cleaning with robot, the operator can use remote control from ground level and access the cleaning process and supervise the cleaning robot from a LED screen monitor.

    Risk of damaging solar panels: Manual cleaners may have to walk on solar panels to access cleaning surface and this can cause potential damage to solar panels and safety risks to the cleaner.

    Inconsistent cleaning quality: Manual cleaning cannot achieve the same precision as robotic cleaning. Weather conditions may influence the performance of manual cleaners as well. Using a solar panel cleaning robot can guarantee a consistent cleaning quality.

    Number of cleaning brushes: solar panel cleaning robots can be equipped with two brushes, covering the same area twice and therefore reinforcing the cleaning quality.

    Can SolarCleano solar panel cleaning machines damage my panels?

    Solar panels manufacturers allow a pressure up to 5200Pa on their panels. Since the SolarCleano robots never press more than 4000Pa on the panels, there is no risk. Thanks to the rubber pads, the robots move smoothly on solar panels without leaving a trace.

    Do I need any connection other than water on the work site?

    No. The SolarCleano robots are autonomous thanks to their batteries. You need neither a generator nor an electricity outlet.

    Can the SolarCleano robot cleaner be used on all types of roofs?

    You can use the SolarCleano solar robot cleaning solar panels on all types of roofs up to an inclination of 25° (20° for Solrif panels). Beyond this inclination, we recommend securing the cleaning robot with a safety system. However, when the panel and conditions allow, some of our customers use their robots up to 30°.

    How many MW can I clean in one day?

    This primarily depends on the type of installation, and the type of SolarCleano robot and cleaning brushes used. As a general guideline:

    With the SolarCleano M1 you can clean 0.8MW a day. With the SolarCleano F1 you can clean 1.5MW a day. With the SolarCleano B1 you can clean 15MW a day.

    How long is the battery life?

    The standard autonomy for the SolarCleano F1 and M1 varies between 2 hours and a half and 4 hours depending on the battery used. The SolarCleano B1 can have an autonomy up to 8 hours.

    What is the range of the remote control?

    The remote control has a range of 250m.

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    The Ultimate Solar Panel Maintenance Guide To Keep Your Panels Working As Efficiently As Possible

    Samantha covers all topics home-related including home improvement and repair. She previously edited home repair and design content at The Spruce and HomeAdvisor. She also has hosted videos on DIY home tips and solutions and launched multiple home improvement review boards staffed with licensed pros.

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    Table of Contents

    Solar panels typically don’t require much maintenance other than periodic cleaning and keeping them free from obstacles that can cast shadows over the panels. Solar panels need an unobstructed path to the sun to operate optimally.

    Solar panels are designed to withstand extreme weather events like hail, snow, ice and wind to provide lasting performance. Solar panels typically have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years with regular maintenance, but should you start to see a dip in their output, it might signal it’s time to clean them.

    THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

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    How to Maintain Solar Panels

    Dirt, debris, dust and other items can dirty solar panels and if the accumulation grows too much, it can start to impact the amount of energy that the solar panels produce. Be sure to turn your solar power system off prior to cleaning. Cleaning solar panels by spraying them down with lukewarm water from a hose usually does the trick. Do not use cleaning agents or soap to clean solar panels because they can leave streaks and damage the panels.

    For solar panels with heavier deposits, spraying them down with a lukewarm water from a garden hose and wiping them down with a non-abrasive, microfiber cloth can get them clean. If you clean them while on a roof, remember to do so safely by using a safety harness to prevent falls. If cleaning from a ladder, use caution to prevent falls. Best yet, a telescopic pole with a microfiber cloth attached to it can help you safely clean solar panels from the ground.

    TIP: Do not clean your solar panels on a sunny day because it can leave smudges since the water can evaporate quickly.

    Cleaning Solar Panels in Winter

    Sometimes snow and ice can accumulate on solar panels but since they’re angled, it usually melts and slides off. Should snow or ice persist, spraying panels with lukewarm water can help remove it.

    Avoid using hot water to clean snow and ice from solar panels because the temperature discrepancy can cause the panels to crack. You can also brush the panels off with something non-abrasive to prevent scratches.

    How Often Should Your Solar Panels Be Maintained?

    Solar panels only need maintenance two to four times a year, but check your solar companies manual for panel specific maintenance care. Fall and spring serve as good times to perform maintenance work because panels can need cleaning following winter where dust and debris can accumulate. Fall is also a good time because of the falling leaves and other droppings. Beware of other issues like sap from trees and bird droppings.

    Checking your solar panels four times a year can help you track the performance of your panels better. You can notice issues sooner and address them faster. You should also inspect wires and connections to ensure they’re in working condition. Sometimes critters can gnaw on them without you noticing.

    You can also hire a professional to perform an annual inspection if you’d rather have a pro do the job.

    guide, solar, panel, maintenance, 2023

    How to Know When Your Solar Panels Need Maintenance

    It’s important to track the energy output of your solar panels closely. Typically a prolonged drop in production signals a maintenance need. Solar panels tend to decrease in performance as they age but early in their lifespan, any drop is more likely to come from dirty or obstructed panels.

    THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

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    Solar Panel Maintenance Cost

    Solar panel warranties can cover some of the maintenance costs with performance guarantees, but to have a pro service your panels, it can cost between 140 to 180 annually. An annual inspection can cost about 150 and cleanings can cost 150.

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    How Does Severe Weather Affect Solar Panels?

    The best solar panels stand up well in severe weather with most built to withstand wind speeds up to 140 mph. Solar panels can also sustain hail storms. In 2017, a hail storm in Denver saw just one of 3,000 panels damaged at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

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    What to Do With Unusable Solar Panels

    Most solar panel components can be recycled, like the frames and glass. Of course, it’s best to check with your local recycling center to see what they’ll accept. Occasionally, solar panels can have small amounts of toxic metals like lead and cadmium, which must be taken to hazardous waste facilities.

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    THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Are solar panels easy to maintain?

    Solar panels remain relatively easy to maintain because they sit at an angle, which makes it easy for debris, snow and ice to slide off. Spraying them with a garden hose makes it an easy task, but do not attempt to spray solar panels with a pressure washer because the force can damage the panels.

    Can you monitor the health of your solar panels?

    You can monitor the output of your solar panels. Some installers have monitoring software included with their installation packages, but it’s usually not real-time monitoring. Installers typically have a web portal with day-after data. You can purchase a solar monitor or find a solar panel monitoring app.

    Do solar panels really need to be cleaned?

    In some climates, rainfall will suffice to clean solar panels, but in drier climates, solar panels will need cleaning because too much dust and dirt can accumulate. That accumulation can shade the panels and reduce their output.

    Will rain clean solar panels?

    Rain will clear solar panels in many cases but it won’t completely clean solar panels. After a rain, soil can accumulate at the bottom edge of the solar frame, which can obstruct the cells from producing energy.

    Is it okay to hose off solar panels?

    Yes, you can use a garden hose to spray down your solar panels to clean them. Hosing them off might not completely clean your panels because dirt can still accumulate at the frame. Also, beware that any damage that occurs as a result of your cleaning the panels might void your warranty.

    How do you clean ground-mounted solar panels?

    You can clean ground-mounted solar panels in the same manner as rooftop solar panels. Be sure to avoid any soap or cleaning agents, pressure washers and abrasive clothes or rags to clean them. Also, shut down your solar power system before cleaning.

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