Solar panels usually need little maintenance apart from some cleaning now and then, and making sure nothing blocks the sun from reaching them.
They are built to handle tough weather like hail, snow, ice, and wind, to keep working well over time. With regular maintenance, solar panels can last 25 to 30 years. But if you notice they’re not working as well, it might be time to clean them.
How to Maintain Solar Panels?
Dirt, dust, and other stuff can make solar panels dirty, and if they pile up, it can affect how much energy they make. Always turn off your solar system before cleaning.
To clean solar panels, a spray of lukewarm water from a hose usually works. Avoid using soaps or cleaners as they can harm the panels.
For panels with more grime, spray lukewarm water from a garden hose and wipe them with a soft, microfiber cloth.
If cleaning on a roof, wear a safety harness to avoid falls. If using a ladder, be careful.
Even better, a long pole with a microfiber cloth can help you clean them from the ground safely.
Use the correct tool to clean your solar panel. And don’t clean your panels on a sunny day as it can cause smudges since the water dries fast.
It is advised to clean solar panels in winter. Snow and ice can gather on solar panels, but they often melt and slide off since the panels are slanted. If snow or ice sticks around, lukewarm water can help clear it.
Avoid hot water as it can crack the panels due to the temperature difference. You can also gently brush off snow and ice with a soft tool to avoid scratches.
How Often Should Your Solar Panels Be Maintained?
Solar panels usually need maintenance two to four times a year, but look at the manual your solar company provided for specific cleaning and maintenance instructions for your panels.
Spring and fall are good times for this, as winter can leave dust and debris, while fall brings falling leaves and other stuff. Also, watch out for things like tree sap and bird droppings.
Checking your panels four times a year helps you keep an eye on how they’re doing. You can spot problems early and fix them quickly.
It’s good to also check the wires and connections to make sure they’re okay, as sometimes animals might chew on them without you seeing them.
How to Know When Your Solar Panels Need Maintenance?
It’s key to keep a close eye on how much energy your solar panels are making.
Usually, if they start making less energy for a long time, it means they need some maintenance.
As solar panels get older, they don’t work as well, but if they’re still fairly new, a drop in energy might just mean they’re dirty or something’s blocking the sun from reaching them.
Average Solar Panel Maintenance Cost
Solar panel warranties might help with some maintenance costs through performance guarantees, but professional servicing can cost between $140 to $180 each year.
An annual check-up can cost around $150, and cleanings also around $150.
It’s wise to think about these maintenance costs when figuring out the total cost of having solar panels.
Can You Recycle Solar Panels If They Are Unusable?
Yes, many parts of solar panels can be recycled, like the frames and glass. It’s a good idea to check with your nearby recycling center to see what they’ll take.
Sometimes, solar panels may have a little bit of harmful metals like lead and cadmium, and these need to go to special hazardous waste facilities.