Solar Panel Maintenance Guide

In recent years solar panels have exploded in popularity and have become a trusted way for homes and businesses to become energy efficient or even energy independent. Solar panels harness the sun’s power to generate electricity, lowering and, in most cases eliminating your utility bill and reducing your dependence on fossil fuels.  

This blog will discuss how to keep your solar panels in top shape.

Standard Solar Panel Maintenance

The good news is: Solar panels almost never need maintenance if installed and commissioned correctly. Solar panels do not have any moving parts. That is a critical element when compared to wind turbines, steam turbines, or almost any other form of energy production. Not to mention that solar energy is also very clean. Solar power has also been proven to be extremely reliable.

Some online sources recommend that you clean solar panels regularly, but this information is not completely true. We recommend that you let mother nature take care of the cleaning maintenance. In other words, a good rain will clean them very well. However, in very few cases, when for example, the panels are installed on a flat roof or when you have an unusual environment. It may be good to check how much dust or other buildup has been collected.

rain on solar panels

Cleaning Solar Panels in Winter

During the winter months, snow and ice will likely cover the surface of your solar panels, temporarily reducing the power production. Since solar panels are black and absorb the sun’s energy quickly, the snow on your panels will melt away in a day or two. In the rare occasion of an ice storm, the ice will stay on longer and reduce your production. Remember, your winter production is low anyway, so it’s a very small loss.

When Do My Solar Panels Need Maintenance?

Most solar owners love to see their system producing power and check their phone app regularly. Yes! It is addictive to see you are making money. By checking regularly, you are building a knowledge base of your system performance and daily production. In the rare case that you do notice a drop in the productivity of your solar panels, it is a good sign that you should have them inspected. Under normal circumstances, we recommend hiring a tech to come out ten years after installation to do an inspection and then every five years. This will keep your solar system at peak performance for the next 25 years or more.

Physical Damage

Like any homeowner, you will check your home after a strong storm. Suppose you see external damage to your panels, like a tree limb falling on your solar system. Obviously, this needs attention from a tech. Solar panels are very durable, but there is always a limit somewhere. We have seen roofs get damaged while the solar panels are completely unaffected. Luckily if this occurs, it is typically covered by standard homeowner’s insurance.

Solar Panel Age

Solar panels do have a guaranteed lifespan of 25 years but will typically keep producing power much longer. The electric output will slowly decrease but is warranted not to go under a certain percentage for 25 years. For example, the panels we use currently are warranted not to go under 85% of their initial production at the end of 25 years. 

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Solar Panel Warranties

Our customers at Belmont Solar can rest assured that a great warranty covers them if something goes wrong. The manufacturers of our solar panels offer a 25-year warranty on their products! Very few products on the market can boast that long of a warranty. Our top-to-bottom coverage includes:

“Complete” – 25-year Rooftop Warranty

“Complete” – “Triple-ten”, 10-year top-to-bottom system warranty 

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Solar Panel Maintenance FAQs

Are Solar Panels Easy to Maintain?

Solar panels are maintenance-free. There are no moving parts. In almost all cases, a solar installation is turn-key, and no further maintenance is needed. 

After that initial purchase, we recommend that the solar system be inspected after ten years. Then after the first inspection, we recommend having a technician come out every 5 years thereafter.

Will Rain Clean My Solar Panels

Mother nature will take care of your system, and a good rain clears the debris collected over time between rains. That means that in normal circumstances, there is almost never a reason to clean your solar array unless it’s at least ten years old and has a very noticeable material buildup that does not get washed off by the rain.

Can I Hose Off Solar Panels?

There are occasions where you could improve the performance, such as if pollen has covered your panels. However, it may not be worth the risk if you need to get up the roof. If buildup has become significant on an older system, hiring a professional with the correct equipment and experience may be worth it to clean the system properly. If that gets done once every 15 years or so on a system with significant pollen or moss buildup, the increased performance will likely more than pay for the service.

How Does Winter Affect My Solar Panels?

Over winter, you will notice a decline in the productivity of your solar panels. This decrease is mostly due to shorter daylight. Other factors, such as snow and ice, will only affect the efficiency for a few days. Cleaning snow off your solar panels is usually quite dangerous, and we do not recommend doing that.

Conclusion

Solar panels have no moving parts and do not require maintenance. Keeping the panels clean is mostly done by Mother Nature. By investing in high-quality solar panels and choosing a certified installer with a good workmanship warranty, you can enjoy the benefits of renewable energy for decades! Regular cleanings and inspections are usually NOT recommended as the cost does not warrant the benefits, and regular walking on the roof might reduce the lifespan of your roof. 

Our warranties are best in class, and we will ensure you have a great solar experience. When you’re with us, you’re with family.  Contact Belmont Solar today, and we will help you with the best-in-class materials and workmanship. Our team of experts can help you choose what is right for you. And when you win, everyone wins!

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