Solar panels are a fantastic way to reduce your monthly energy bill by gathering light from the sun and converting it to electricity. Even on cloudy days, they still function, maybe not as well–but your panels will still find light to absorb and convert to usable power.
Unless something unexpected causes damage to your panels, they are relatively maintenance-free. And if it rains frequently enough where you live, you can let mother nature do the solar panel cleaning for you. But it’s a good idea to keep their clear glass or plastic casings as clean as possible to provide the maximum amount of energy to your home.
So how can you handle solar panel maintenance like a pro? Keep reading for tips on cleaning and maintaining your solar panels, should the need ever arise.
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Solar Panel Maintenance Frequency and Replacement
Investing in solar panels is the best way to add renewable energy to your home for decades. More often than not, solar panels require little to zero maintenance because they have no moving parts and are well-sealed from the elements. Snow, mud, dirt, and other debris can accumulate on your panels, but you should be able to clean them off easily using the simple methods described below.
When To Call a Professional for Maintenance
When it comes to maintenance, you should not have to do anything to fix or repair your solar panels. If your panels develop an electrical fault, have damage or are defective in any way, you should call a professional to perform the work. If there is a breach in casing, you need to contact a repair technician as soon as possible. Under extreme circumstances, such as if your panel exterior has damage, a technician can provide you with assistance.
If lightning should land close enough to cause concern, or if massive hailstones strike the glass, wait until after the storm and then inspect the panels for visible damage. If you suspect your panels have damage from a weather event, contact a professional for a thorough inspection. In most cases, your panels will have protection by a warranty lasting at least 10 years or more.
Trying to perform repair work on your panels is likely to void your warranty. Therefore, it’s best to leave it to a trained, certified technician.
How Often Should I Clean My Solar Panels?
Solar panel maintenance isn’t something you need to add to your weekly cleaning schedule.
We recommend looking at your panels after a weather event. Visually inspect the entire surface of your panels. Look for water droplets, fog, dirt, dust, or any foreign matter on the inside of the glass casing.
Leasing Solar Panels
Adding solar panels to your home is a great way to save lots of money over the long haul, but the initial investment is significant. Fortunately, there are helpful financing options. These allow for homeowners who cannot afford to pay the entire cost of their panels upfront to still benefit from solar power.
Leasing your panels is a great way to gain easy access to the solar power marketplace and start saving money sooner. With the upfront costs effectively mitigated, you can establish reduced dependence on the traditional electrical grid, save money, and possibly enjoy additional protection from sweeping power outages.
Your panels will link into the traditional electrical grid to act as a supplement for traditionally sourced electrical power. Your dependence on the electrical grid will reduce, as will your monthly bill accordingly.
When the lease term expires, you have the option to buy your panels and related equipment. Depending on the terms of your lease, this could be like a home loan where you pay your debt down over time, working toward full ownership of the system. In most cases, if you don’t buy the solar power system, the lease will renew. Keep in mind you will not be able to personally use any available solar incentives if you lease your system.
Torn between leasing or buying your solar panels? Check out our expert guide for tips on weighing your options.
How Solar Panel Maintenance Works When You Lease Panels
When you lease your solar panels, you will not be responsible for the panel’s maintenance or repairs. Even so, it may still be a good idea to clean them off periodically. If you have questions about what actions may violate the terms of your lease or void your warranty, contact your solar provider before attempting to care for your panels.
How Does a Warranty Influence Panel Maintenance?
Solar panels typically have a manufacturer warranty and coverage against damage, defective panel parts, or other mishaps. They also ensure your panels are providing the most energy production possible. When you’re shopping around for solar panels, it’s crucial that you consider the warranties available for the specific system. How long is the warranty going to last? Installing solar panels on your home with an extensive warranty time frame provides you with more protection and peace of mind.
There are solar panel warranties that last up to 25 years. These are available at companies like ONIT Home and provide in-depth protection and coverage to ensure your system is performing at its utmost capability at all times.
Learn more about how a professionally installed solar power system from ONIT Home can provide you with over two decades of warranty, daily system monitoring, and free maintenance.
Three Easy Solar Panel Maintenance Methods
The following solar panel care tips should not void any warranty. If you have questions, contact your solar provider for more details.
Let the Rain Do the Cleaning
If it rains frequently enough where you live, like over in the Pacific Northwest, you may be able to go without cleaning your panels entirely. In most cases, the occasional rain shower will be more than enough to clean your panels of any dirt or debris.
Unlike the family vehicle, you should avoid using any form of detergent or soap when you clean your panels. This is just one more reason to let the rain do most of the work. Your solar panels are made from tempered glass and should also have a strong encasing that’s durable. These panels can stand up to just about anything except the most extreme forms of hail or major hurricane-force winds.
Spray It With the Garden Hose
If your panels somehow get mud, bird droppings, or anything else on them you would understandably want to remove, there’s an easy way to do this. Simply grab your garden hose, preferably one with an adjustable nozzle, and spray the glass down until you are satisfied. This may be the best way to give your panels an overall clean.
Before you begin, inspect the panels for any openings. If you spot an opening on your panel, then avoid hosing your solar panels. Spraying the panels down may ruin them. If you trust your panels are well and properly sealed, then there’s little to worry about. You can use the hardest possible setting your garden hose nozzle offers with next to zero chance of causing any damage at all.
Remove Snow or Debris
Snow may accumulate on your solar panels. If you live in a part of the country where snow is a regular occurrence, you know this all too well. Your panels will still absorb light through a few inches of snow. You should be able to get most snow accumulation off of your panels with a broom, a long squeegee, or even with a leaf blower if the snow isn’t too thick.
Of course, if the cold season is deep and persistent in your area, a layer of ice can form on your panels. This will not damage the panel, but it could decrease its efficiency until it melts, and that might be a long time in some areas. Sometimes snow will cause ice to build up at the bottom layer. You definitely want to get the snow off before this happens. If ice forms on your panels, do not attempt to scrape it off. You also shouldn’t use hot water to melt it. If you’re ever done that to a car window, you probably know why it’s a bad idea.
Other Solar Panel Maintenance Tips
- Clean Only When Necessary. Built-up dust and other debris can be unsightly. But your panels will need very little maintenance in most other cases. If you do not need to clean them, you can reduce the chances of damaging them by simply leaving them alone.
- Do Visual Checkups. It’s a good idea to perform a visual inspection once a week to ensure no significant damage goes unnoticed.
- Be Aware of Pests. While most solar panels are more or less impervious to the elements, bird nests, bugs, bees, and other creatures might see your panels as a handy shelter. Birds are easily the worst offenders. You should remove the nest or call a professional for help. After the removal, clean down the area.
- Check the Frames and Wiring. When you do your visual inspection, check the frame for any damage. If the weather seal becomes broken, it’s most likely to be caused by a bent frame. You can also do a visual check of the wiring. Some animals will chew on electrical wires. So a good visual once-over of these components is a good idea.
- Consider Security. Maybe you live in a neighborhood with kids who are prone to mischief. It might be a good idea to protect your panels with a motion detector or a security camera.
Finally, if the tempered glass around your solar panels becomes spotted, dingy, dusty, or if a bird does its business on the glass, it could hinder its efficiency slightly. Chances are, however, that the difference will be so slight that you won’t even notice it. If you wish to give them a professional-looking shine, using small amounts of gentle commercial window cleaning solution on isolated areas, a towel, and a squeegee should do the trick.
Need Help With Solar Panels? We’re ONIT!
Deciding to go solar is a huge investment. You’ll want to make sure the solar system you install at home checks off all your boxes and can power your home for a long time. At ONIT Home, we install top-quality solar power systems for families and businesses. Each solar system has a 25-year warranty for advanced protection and energy production.
ONIT Home is here to help you create a space you’re proud of. Our services extend beyond solar installation and include smart home security, whole home water filtration, insurance and more. When you install a solar system from us, you can get a whole whole water filtration system and a 24/7 professionally monitored smart security system built from leading security equipment manufacturers for free. Give us a call today to learn more about this special offer at 1-833-433-0331.