Solar Panel Maintenance Guide: Does Cleaning Your Solar Panels Make a Difference?

Solar Panel Maintenance Guide

Solar panels are becoming a common sight not just in industrial areas but in residential homes as well.

However, to reap the rewards of solar energy, you will require proper solar panel maintenance since poorly maintained panels might cost you quite a bit.

In our step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to keep your solar panels in good condition. 

Solar Panel Maintenance

When it comes to the maintenance of solar panels, a quick answer is that they do require a bit of maintenance and upkeep so that you can fully benefit from them. This means cleaning the panels periodically and making sure all of their components are working properly.

Ground Panels vs Roof Panels

You might wonder whether there is a difference in maintenance when it comes to ground panels vs roof panels. The main difference between the two is that the former are easier to access, while the latter requires climbing onto the roof to maintain and repair. Also, ground panels can be rolled under a shed during winters, while roof-mounted panels are constantly exposed to the elements – snow, rain, etc. 

Either way, solar panel care should not be a huge problem since they are relatively easy to maintain.

Longevity

One of the questions folks might ask when deciding on getting solar panels is, “How long will my solar panels last?” The latest models have an expected lifespan of around 40 years and warranties that keep them protected for at least 20 years. Most warranties guarantee above 80% performance before the warranty ends. Some panels even remain efficient well past that time. 

The accumulation of pollen, leaves, bird droppings, and dirt may also contribute to the longevity of your solar panels. Dirty solar panels may lose up to 50% of their efficiency, so it is important to keep them clean to get the most out of them.

How does extreme weather impact your solar panels?

Some areas get a tremendous amount of sun all year round, while it rains or snows in others. In desert climates, the deterioration rate is far greater, being almost 1% per year, when compared to moderate climates.

Similarly, panels in areas with a lot of heavy snow and wind show higher degradation rates. In moderate climates, solar panels tend to retain 96% of their production after 20 years. That being said, solar panels are designed to endure harsh weather conditions, so generally, if you keep them in good condition, they will remain efficient for many years.

Tips for Solar Panel Maintenance

Solar panels work best when they are maintained. Solar panel maintenance is essential to the longevity and efficiency of your solar panels. Right below, you will find some useful tips for solar panel care.

How do you maintain solar panels?

Contrary to popular belief, solar panels are pretty easy to maintain. In fact, they require little to no maintenance as they are built to last. Generally speaking, if kept clean and in good condition overall, their maintenance should not give you a headache. There are several things to keep in mind, though:

  • Check the panel output regularly, either via an inverter or on your monitoring system, so you can quickly find out if it is less than the expected amount.
  • Make sure the inverter is up to date and working properly.
  • Clean the vents and make sure all switches, cables, and wiring are in order.
  • Ensure nothing is obstructing the view of the sky, which is necessary for generating sufficient power.
  • Check there aren’t any damages, such as cracks on the surface of your solar panel, which can be dangerous if water seeps into them.

How often do I need to service my solar panels?

In case you find any faults upon the regular inspection of your panels (e.g. cracks, loose parts, etc.) or you simply want to save yourself some time and ensure that the job is executed properly, opt for hiring solar system service and maintenance. A professional technician will make sure the panels themselves and all of the solar panel system components, mainly the solar isolator switch, are working properly. You should do this annually or biannually.

Tips for Solar Panel Cleaning

If you are wondering how to clean solar panels on a roof in Australia, you have come to the right place. Here are some basic cleaning tips:

Should I remove debris?

Yes. Gently sweep the leaves and debris from the surface of the panel. Use a soft-bristle, non-abrasive broom to do this.

What do I need for cleaning?

  • A leaf blower to blow away the leaves and dust.
  • Low-pressure hosepipe, so you can spray the panels using a gentle stream. 
  • Warm water, biodegradable soap, and a sponge for stubborn areas that need a more thorough wipe, making sure you avoid scratching.

Another option when it comes to cleaning solar panels is to use a solar panel cleaning kit. These are specially designed and simple to use kits for cleaning your solar panels at home without having to call the solar panel cleaning services. 

How often should I clean my solar panels?

Clean your panels in the morning or evening as they may get hot throughout the day. As for the major cleaning, it is recommended to thoroughly clean your solar panel system at least two to four times a year, mainly during the summer and just before the winter season.

When to call upon the service?

You should only ever clean the surface of the panels and never touch the wiring underneath. If you need cleaning under the panels, you should hire a solar panel cleaning service, as they are trained and qualified for the job.

Conclusion

To sum up, are solar panels hard to maintain? Absolutely not. Modern-day solar systems that use the latest technologies are incredibly efficient and easy to maintain. 

However, just buying solar panels is not enough; you need proper solar panel maintenance to ensure your solar panel system can go the distance. With minimal effort on your part, you will be able to enjoy your solar panels for the entire length of their estimated lifespan.

FAQs

1. Do solar systems need maintenance?

Solar systems require periodic maintenance so that they can work at high levels of efficiency. While you can perform simple maintenance, such as removing fallen leaves and cleaning the dust away, for more complicated tasks, such as inspecting the solar panel system components, it is advised to contact professional solar system service and maintenance.

2. How often do solar panels need maintenance?

As we mentioned in the guide, hiring a professional solar system service and maintenance is recommended at least twice a year to ensure your solar panels are always running at optimum performance.

3. How do you maintain solar panels?

Provided that your solar panels are properly installed and running, all you have to do is make sure no dust, leaves, bird droppings, or other debris fall on the solar panels, and if they do, clean them at once. 

4. Does cleaning your solar panels make a difference?

Absolutely, keeping your solar panels clean is critical to their performance, as dirt may compromise their efficiency by 50%.

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