A great way to lower your home’s carbon footprint and energy bill at the same time is to install solar panels. However, while solar panels aren’t cheap, they can last for 25-30 years, giving you plenty of time to recoup your investment. However, your solar panels require regular upkeep to function optimally and last as long as possible. Find out more information on our solar panel repair and maintenance comprehensive guide.
How To Repair Or Replace Solar Panels
If you need your panels repaired or replaced, it is best to hire a professional.
If they’re losing efficiency and are still covered by a performance or power output warranty, contact the company that installed them. They will dispatch someone to assess the situation and either repair or replace the panels.
Physical damage to your panels is frequently covered by a separate equipment warranty. You can consult with your solar installer to determine who is best suited to replace those panels. In any case, unless you’re familiar with home solar systems, don’t try to install or repair solar panels yourself.
Is It Necessary To Maintain Solar Panels?
Solar panels generally require very little maintenance to function, so you can usually leave them alone. All they need is a light cleaning on a regular basis to keep dirt, leaves, and other debris from obstructing the sun’s rays.
Only during periods of heavy snowfall will you need more extensive maintenance, as inches of snow can impair the performance of solar panels.
Is It Possible To Tell If My Solar Panels Need To Be Repaired?
Aside from regular inspections and cleaning, your solar panel system won’t require much maintenance in most cases. However, there are warning signs to watch out for that could indicate your panels require maintenance earlier than expected.
A decrease in energy output is the best indicator that your solar panels require maintenance. If you notice that your solar panels aren’t producing as much energy as they used to and that your electricity bill has increased, it’s time to schedule a service appointment.
How Do You Keep Your Solar Panels In Good Condition?
Fortunately, solar panel maintenance is a simple task if done regularly and correctly. Proper maintenance ensures that your solar panels will last for decades, more than repaying your investment and saving you money. Cleaning is the most important maintenance duty.
Dirt, dry leaves, muddy smudges, and other debris frequently accumulate on your PV cells, particularly after a storm or during extended periods of drought. When the total surface of your solar panels is not completely clean and debris-free, the absorbed sunlight is less than optimal, resulting in less electrical current.
You could approach solar panel cleaning in the same way you would approach car washing. Use dish soap, hot water, and a clean, dry sponge or cloth; a squeegee may come in handy for draining off the dirty water. Remember to avoid scratching the surfaces of the PV cells at all costs.
How Frequently Do Solar Panels Require Maintenance?
Aside from cleaning, there are two other types of solar panel maintenance tasks you should think about, and here’s how often you should do them.
The frequency of cleaning will ultimately be determined by the landscape and weather conditions. You can usually do a thorough cleaning twice a year or more as needed. If you live in a rainy area and your panels don’t collect much debris, once a year will suffice. Your inspections will determine the answer.
In this case, a professional (typically someone from the company that installed the solar panels for you) will come once a year to inspect the entire solar system to ensure that everything is functioning properly.
The first two tasks can be classified as preventive maintenance. If you notice anything unusual about your solar system, you can schedule corrective maintenance with the same experts who perform your annual solar panel inspection.
The Cost Of Solar Panel Maintenance
Most households has their solar panels serviced annually by a professional who does a thorough cleaning and inspection. Hiring a professional is the safest option due to the high concentration of solar panels on the roof. If you hire a professional, the costs of maintenance won’t add up to much.
Home Advisor estimates that the average annual cost to maintain a solar panel system is $450. This includes $150 for an annual inspection and $150 for two cleanings (for a total of $300). If your solar panel system is damaged or if you need to clean your panels more often due to dirt or debris collecting more quickly, you may incur slightly higher maintenance costs.
What Effect Does Extreme Weather Have On Your Solar Panels?
Solar panels are made to be long-lasting. PV systems can withstand all types of weather, from wind and rain to snow and more, thanks to high-quality solar panel installations.
The Department of Energy discovered that solar panels withstand hail damage quite well. They can even withstand hurricanes, as evidenced by the minimal damage to North Carolina solar systems during Hurricane Florence in 2018.
Of course, they are not completely indestructible; they can be damaged by hail, hurricanes, tornadoes, or lightning on rare occasions. However, as long as your warranty is valid, you should be able to have any damaged panels repaired or replaced.
Ironically, heat is the most common type of weather that affects panels. When the temperature rises above 77°F (or 25°C), panels lose 1% of their efficiency per degree.
Can You Keep Track Of The Health Of Your Solar Panels?
If the energy output of your panels begins to decline, you can monitor it using an app. Lower energy output could indicate that your panels are being obstructed by something, such as debris, and are unable to generate their normal amount of electricity.
By installing a solar panel monitoring system, you can keep tabs on your system’s daily and long-term energy output. This will show you how your panels fare under varying environmental conditions and how well they retain their initial efficiency over time. If a panel fails or becomes dysfunctional, the monitoring system will let you know so you can fix it or replace it.
Solar panels are more expensive than many of your household appliances. However, they require less maintenance and have significantly longer lifespans. Cleaning and an annual inspection are the only regular maintenance requirements for your solar panels. Otherwise, as long as your panels are in good working order, they will not require any additional maintenance throughout the year.