As a homeowner, investing in solar energy can be one of the most crucial decisions you will ever make. Other than lowering your carbon footprint, solar panels will provide your family with a renewable source of energy for more than two decades. This means that you will never have to worry about the ever-rising electricity bills or power blackout. Plus, the federal tax deductions you will get from the government will help you recover your initial investment including solar panel maintenance.
But, if you’re considering going green or have already installed these panels in your house or compound, you may be wondering if they need some maintenance for them to function efficiently. And if they have to be cleaned, you may also be wondering whether you will have to call a solar panel installation specialist to help maintain it, or can you do it yourself? Well, you are not alone; most homeowners don’t know how to take care of their panels. And they always end up hiring a professional to help with maintenance, which is a good thing, but did you know that you can do some of the maintenance tasks yourself?
Does My Solar Panel Need to Be Maintained?
Unlike most other sources of energy, solar panels require little to no maintenance for them to function properly. The main thing you will have to do is clean it periodically and ensure no debris, leaves, dirt, or snow obstructing the sun’s rays. In fact, your Energy Blog says that cleaning the solar panel will improve the efficiency of your system.
Is There a Maintenance Difference Between the Roof and Ground Panels?
No, snow, leaves, dirt, and debris affect both ground-mounted and roof-mounted solar panels. Therefore, they both have to be cleaned regularly, and the only difference is that the ground-mounted panels are easy to access and clean. You can easily sweep off the dirt, snow, or debris build-up.
How Do I Clean and Maintain My Solar Panels?
Folks with tilted panels on their roofs don’t have to clean their panels during the rainy season. And that is because the rain clears all the accumulated dirt. But during the dry season, you will have to clean it manually at least twice per year. Fortunately, this is a straightforward task that anyone can do, but make sure you clean them late in the evening or early morning when they are not hot. For this DIY project, you will need the following tools:
- A hose with a sprayer
- A soft brush with an extendable/long handle
- Squeegee or window wiper
- A container of fresh soapy water
- Solar panel monitoring system
Luckily, a solar panel kit has everything you will need to clean the panels. So, when buying your solar system, make sure the cleaning kit is also included. Most kits don’t have brushes with extendable handles, so if you install them on the roof, make sure you get one.
Step-by-Step Guide for Maintaining Solar Panels
Step 1: Determine if the Panels Have to Be Washed
The first thing on your maintenance checklist should be finding out if the panels are dirty. Solar panels don’t have movable parts; therefore, they are sturdy and require much attention. And the decision to clean the solar panels will be determined by several factors, including the panels, weather conditions, and the location of the solar panel.
Therefore, you will have to check on them regularly to confirm if they have accumulated debris. After all, the accumulated dirt will reduce their efficiency. If you track energy output using a monitoring system, you will notice the reduction in production and know when they need your attention.
Step 2: Prepare Your Supplies
Once you have determined that they need to be cleaned, you can start gathering your supplies and prepare yourself for the task ahead. You will require a unique soap that won’t leave residue on the panels after cleaning for this project. Fortunately, numerous soaps are designed for washing these panels, but a standard soap like castile soap can also do the job.
Before you get on the roof and start cleaning, you must consult the manufacturer and determine if they have any special instructions for washing the panels.
Step 3: Get the Debris and Dirt off the Panels
Before you insert the scrub brush in the water, you might want to remove the huge debris like leaves and twigs using a dry brush. Then, after removing the debris, you can use soapy water and a scrub brush to clean the panels gently.
Use the brush with an extendable or long handle to reach the higher parts of the panels and a handheld brush for the easy-to-access parts. Make sure you don’t use force when scrubbing since rough scrubbing can leave some micro-scratches on the solar panels.
Remember, you don’t have to step on the panels while cleaning them because you can leave small cracks on their surfaces.
Step 4: Rinse the Panels
Rinse the panels well using the hose. Once they are clean, you can dry the panels using a microfiber cloth or window wiper. Make sure there are no residues left after you have finished cleaning the solar panels. Residues can reduce energy production by preventing the sun rays from reaching certain parts of the panels.
Step 5: Confirm if the Energy Output Is Back to Normal
After cleaning the solar panels, you should expect the amount of energy produced to increase. So make sure you monitor the system’s energy output. And if there is no improvement, then there may be something wrong with the system, or you may have left some residues on the surface of the panels after cleaning them.
Keeping an eye on the energy production rate can tell you when your panels will be due for maintenance.
Final Thoughts On Solar Panel Maintenance
Despite being a reliable source of energy, solar panels have to be maintained to function efficiently. After all, the dirt can lower its output level; therefore, you should always monitor your panel’s production rate. In addition, the solar panels have to be washed more than twice per year. So make sure you’re safe while cleaning the roof-mounted panels and use the brush with long handles to clean the hard-to-reach areas.
Images below may contain affiliate links that, if purchased, we may receive a commission. See our Affiliate Disclosure for more information.