Maintenance Practices for Solar Panels

July 26, 2019

Solar panels convert the sun’s radiation into electricity. When it comes to the maintenance of solar panels, the big question is, do solar panels require maintenance? Solar panels should be clean to trap the maximum sun energy.  And as the old adage says “prevention is better than cure”, preventive maintenance will conserve your solar panels and ensure that they perform effectively until the end of their lifespan.

Breakdowns cause downtime and can prove costly in the long run due to lack of preventive maintenance. Fortunately, solar panel maintenance is not complicated. More so, solar panel maintenance costs are quite negligible unless you are a commercial organization with many solar panels. Unlike generators, wind turbines or other machinery, solar panels do not have moving parts that require lubrication or getting rid of rust.

Cleaning of Solar Panels

Dirt affects the efficiency of solar panels.  Grime, bird droppings, debris, and dirt on solar panels block the sun and reduce their performance.

How Much Maintenance is Required for Solar Panels?

You should clean solar panels depending on the area where you live. Some areas are dustier than others and solar panels in such areas require frequent cleaning. You can plan to clean your solar panels at least once a month if you stay in a dusty area with many birds. If you reside in a less dusty area with few birds patching on the solar panels, then you can schedule solar panels cleaning once every six months.

Solar Panel Maintenance Tips

Since it takes quite some effort to clean solar panels, you can as well clean them thoroughly every time they require cleaning. To clean your solar panels effectively, buy a solar panel cleaning kit which has a wiper, a brush with a handle and a biodegradable soap. Apply little water to make the solar panels moist then use the soft brush to remove any dirt like bird droppings.

If you do not have a solar cleaning kit, then you can use a spongy and soft squeegee and a mild cleaning detergent. You can use the glass cleaning brush. After cleaning rinse off the solar panels with a garden hose. Noteworthy, rain water cleans solar panels and you only need to factor in other days other than rainy days. When cleaning solar panels on the roof, you should mind your safety and use a ladder. Ensure that you have a firm grip to avoid slips.

Avoid using an abrasive cleaning material or regular soap to prevent scratching the glass. Solar panels are costly to repair, therefore, you should be careful when handling them. If you don’t feel competent enough to clean them, it is advisable to hire cleaning experts.

solar panel maintenance Experts

Contact your solar panel installer to clean them on your behalf or they can recommend a reliable company that do maintenance on solar panels. Alternatively, you can opt to install an automatic solar panel cleaning system especially if you live in an area that requires frequent solar panel cleaning. Always ensure that dirt doesn’t build up on your solar panels because it reduces their efficiency.

There are other factors that that determine the efficiency of your solar panels: their age and other complementary gadgets like inverters and wiring system.

The LifeSpan of Solar Panels

Your solar panels may be clean but their efficiency may be low due to their age. Solar panels are durable and have a long lifespan. However, their efficiency drops each year depending on the quality of the solar panel and the climate of your location. Standard degradation is between 0.4% and 1%. Extreme weather like excessive cold, heavy winds, snow or desert climates cause more degradation. Moderate climates, on the other hand, cause low degradation on solar panels- around 0.2% per year. Therefore, if you live in areas with moderate climates, your panels can retain up to 95% of their production capability after 20 years.

Maintenance of Solar Panel Systems

Your solar panels work with other devices to deliver carbon-free and sustainable energy. There other devices should also be in good condition for the solar system to generate electricity. Actually, not all the components have a long lifespan like solar panels and may require replacement after a few years. These complementary gadgets include the solar battery, charge controller, inverter, net meter device, circuit breaker panel to name but some. If you have solar batteries, their maintenance is sensitive and as such be sure to follow your manufacturer’s care instructions.


Solar panel maintenance requirements are simple. As much as possible, plan to keep a record of your solar energy usage and production. The records will help you know the efficiency rate of the solar system on a day to day basis depending on the season. Then, it will be easy to know when there is a problem with the solar system. Make special notes when it is very sunny or cloudy. A solar monitoring system can help you know the performance of your solar panels and you can easily monitor when their efficiency drops. The system will also help you know how much you are saving.

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