Tips on How to Maintain Solar Panels

Tips on How to Maintain Solar Panels

Tips on How to Maintain Solar Panels: Depending on where you live, you may have seen the ubiquitous glossy black rectangles lining the rooftops in your neighborhood, winking in the bright sunlight. The last two decades have witnessed a dramatic increase in solar power, with solar panel production having become far more accessible and inexpensive as the bulky 1950s prototypes of yesteryear. 

Homeowners who opt for solar power receive tax benefits in most states, with electric companies everywhere offering discounts for switching to solar.  

Most residential solar panels are designed to last 25 to 30 years before they begin to break down, but even then, they run at around 90% efficiency after three decades. That’s a lot to be said for solar power. 

But with all the benefits that come with installing solar panels, there are some important facts to consider regarding maintenance of solar panels. Solar panels are indeed stationary and lack moving parts, making them relatively low maintenance. Despite their relative ease of care, solar panels need regular upkeep to run smoothly and efficiently. Failure to regularly maintain your panels will affect their performance in the long term and become a costly error.  

Maintenance includes not only regular cleaning, but also carefully monitoring the performance of your panels and making sure you – and the environment – are getting a return on your investment. For commercial and industrial solar panel cleaning – it’s even more crucial to perform regular maintenance and cleanings on your entire solar energy system.

Read on for eight helpful tips on how to best maintain solar panels! 

Tip 1: Avoid placing solar panels in shaded areas

The decision of whether to switch to solar power depends on your specific region and climate. It almost goes without saying that solar power is far more beneficial to those in sunnier climates than those who don’t. After all, solar power needs sunshine to generate electricity. 

Tip 2: Monitor your solar panels’ energy output

Knowing how much energy your panels regularly produce will help notice patterns, such as when they need to be cleaned. If your panels need cleaning, they won’t produce as much energy as usual. The following apps make it easy for your to keep an eye on your panels’ energy production:

  • Energy Monitoring and Analysis (EMA)
  • Enlighten
  • MySolarApp
  • Fronius
  • SMA Sunny Portal

Tip 3: Schedule regular cleaning

The frequency of how often you have to clean your panels depends largely on the kind of panel. Residential panels usually have to be cleaned every six months or more often, especially if you live in a dusty area where dirt quickly builds up on your panels. Make sure to research the recommended cleaning schedule for your panels. 

There are solar panel cleaning kits available online or in specialty stores, which include everything you need to clean your panels: a brush, a wiper, and soap. Instructions will explain how to clean your panels so you don’t cause damage. 

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Tip 4: Avoid abrasive cleaning chemicals

Gentle, biodegradable soap is best for cleaning your solar panels. Harsh chemicals may harm and degrade the panels, which will interfere with their energy production. In lieu of a sponge, use a soft rag so you don’t risk scratching up the panels. 

Tip 5: Rinse off dirt

Dirt can build up on your panels and decrease the efficiency of power production. A simple rinse with the hose can wash off the panels, though – depending on how dusty your environment is – you may need to rinse them off between thorough cleanings. 

Regularly rinsing your panels are 

Tip 6: Clean at the best time

Cleaning your panels right after it rains is the best time, since the moisture will have broken up the dirt and debris on the panels and be easier to clean off. 

Tip 7: Observe safety precautions

Solar panels are typically mounted on rooftops, which means you’ll have to climb up on the rooftops to clean your panels. The sobering statistics are listed below: 

  • Annually, 150,000 – 170,000 people are hospitalized or require emergency medical attention after falling from rooftops (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization)
  • Most deaths caused from falling from roofs are from a height of 10 feet or less, according to the International Association of Home Inspectors.
  • This means it doesn’t matter if you live in a single-story house or larger – you could become seriously injured, or worse, at a fall from 10 feet as a fall from 25 feet. 

Safety harnesses are inexpensive and widely available. Given the frequency of cleaning your solar panels paired with the dangerous conditions on the roof (water from the hose making the roof slippery; carrying the bucket of soap and supplies limiting the use of your hands), investing in safety equipment could be the smartest decision you’ll make since installing your panels. 

Tip 8: Consider professional cleaners

For those who balk at the DIY approach for solar panel maintenance, there’s good news. Several companies specialize in cleaning solar panels, and there’s likely a company in your area who can do the work for you within your budget. 

These cleaning companies come equipped with their own supplies and safety equipment, meaning less worry for you. With thorough cleaning of your panels needed just twice a year, it may be worth it – depending on your budget. 

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Conclusion: Tips on How to Maintain Solar Panels

Experts conclude that solar is one of the cleanest sources of renewable energy. It doesn’t produce any greenhouse gasses or toxic byproducts into the atmosphere. It is also one of the most popular sources of renewable energy, as the panels are portable, small, and easy to install. While they are low maintenance and don’t have the risk of rusting and breaking down like appliances with moving parts, they require regular upkeep to efficiently and consistently produce energy. 

Understanding the type of solar panels you have and the required maintenance is vital for any homeowner who is either thinking about installing them or has already made the switch. Monitoring your panels’ energy production is easier than ever, especially with the help of special apps listed above under Tip 2. 

Regular maintenance of your solar panels will keep them in peak condition so that you, and the environment, reap the rewards.