Maintaining Your
Solar Panels

It’s much easier than you think.

Last edited Nov. 14th, 2023

Big decisions are called big for a reason—they're important! You know what's a big decision? Switching to solar. Let’s make sure you’re confident in your investment by understanding what you can do to protect and maximize your solar for years to come.

In this article, we’ll tackle everything you need to know about maintaining your panels so they can work as efficiently as possible for as long as possible. Here’s what we’ll cover:

1. Tips for cleaning your solar panels
2. Accessories you can add to your system for additional protection 
3. How to perform an annual system checkup and maintenance
4. Ways to maximize your system’s production

By the time we’re done, you’ll learn the minimal effort required to care for your panels and what to look for if you notice your production start to decrease. These tips are especially helpful during the winter months when days are shorter and weather can be unpredictable, meaning your panels will need as much direct sunlight as possible.

Tips for cleaning your
solar panels

Since your panels are situated outside, you may find things like leaves, pine needles, and twigs sitting on the array. Additionally, there will be an inevitable buildup of dust and pollen on your system over time. When you see dust or debris starting to accumulate, using a garden house from the ground will take care of the majority of the cleaning needs. You’ll need a garden hose nozzle that lets you fine-tune the spray to get the perfect stream to clean your solar panels off. It is important to not use any harsh soaps or chemicals during this process.

If the water isn’t quite enough, you can take things up a notch. A telescoping pole with a soft bristle brush attachment will let you gently clean the surface of the panels. Follow that up with a second round of spraying and it will meet most needs. If your panels still don’t seem clean or that sounds like more work than you want to put in, you can get solar panels professionally cleaned. 

Accessories you can
add to your system for
additional protection

Because your solar system is outside, all solar panel owners run the risk of damage due to natural disasters, the elements, or animals and insects. While your homeowners insurance should cover any damage from natural disasters and weather, what can you do to protect your panels from animals? Let’s dive into some accessories that can help protect and maintain your solar panels.

Products such as critter guards and bird wire can be installed around the perimeter of your panels, between them and your roof, to keep out critters and birds from getting beneath them and damaging the panel or electrical work. Think of it like a mini fence, keeping out unwanted visitors from hiding, living, or visiting beneath your panels.

While these products are available for you to purchase online, we recommend getting a professional to install them. A professional will have the safety equipment to be on your roof and the experience of installing these accessories to keep animals out.

Critter guards and bird wire can help keep squirrels, chipmunks, birds, spiders, and other animals or insects out from underneath your panels, reducing the risk of chewed-through wires or other electrical damage. They can also keep out unwanted residents from building a nest or home under your panels, which may help reduce the risk of cracked panels from the extra pressure.

Installing some sort of protection such as critter guards is another great way to maintain your solar panels and maximize their efficiency and life span.

How to perform an
annual system checkup
and maintenance

Though this may seem daunting to think about, an annual system check up can be as simple as a visual inspection from the ground. The purpose of this inspection is to make sure there are no obvious concerns with your panels, whether that be debris or other obstructions to sunlight. In fact, you may do this more often than once a year when you pull out of the driveway or enjoy time in your yard. Just make sure to check for any debris or new shading on your panels.

Will I need to get on my roof to inspect my panels?

A visual inspection from the ground is sufficient in most cases. With that said, if you want a roof inspection completed to make sure there are no issues that need to be identified from the roof, we recommend hiring a professional who can do it safely. A professional will also be able to maneuver around the panels safely so they don’t cause any damage to them.

Will a professional need to come take a look at my panels?

Under most circumstances, you won’t need a professional to look at your panels. As long as the system is still performing more or less as it has been for the last six months to a year, your inspection is just precautionary. However, having a professional clean and inspect your panels can help ensure a long life and maximum efficiency for your system.

Damage to one or more panels should be addressed by a solar panel expert. Repairing or replacing those panels isn’t a DIY project for the ambitious homeowner. You’ll want to contact Lumio or a licensed electrician to turn off the system, remove the damaged panels safely, and install the new or repaired panels.

Monitoring your energy production from your app can also alert you of potential damage that you may not be able to see from a visual inspection. A sudden reduction in power production efficiency means that there is a failure somewhere in the system. It might be at the level of the panels. It might be in the wiring. It may be that your inverter is malfunctioning. A professionally trained Lumio installer can analyze the system and components and track down the problem quickly and safely.

Ways to maximize your system’s production

When you switch to solar, you want to be confident that your panels will provide you with power for years to come. While every solar panel’s efficiency does decrease over time, monitoring and maintaining your system will help it last for a long time. Here are some ideas for solar panel maintenance that can help maximize production.


One of the most important things you can do to maintain your solar panels at the highest efficiency is checking for trees, buildings, or debris that might be shading your panels. In order to get the most energy production out of your system, you want to make sure that each panel is getting as much sunlight as possible. 

Clearing your panels of leaves and twigs, checking for any new growth in nearby trees, and hosing your panels down to remove pollen and dirt will help keep your system’s energy production levels up.

Monitor your system

Using the app provided to you by your inverter manufacturer, you should quickly and easily be able to regularly monitor your solar panels. Any sudden changes in production that are unrelated to the time of day or season could mean that something needs to be looked at.

If you notice this, first start by doing a visual inspection of your panels and spraying them down to clean them. If the reduced production continues, you may want to check with your solar company (if you own the system) or financier (if you lease the system) to see what warranties are available and what the process looks like to get the problem diagnosed and repaired. 

Maintaining your system, while pretty minimal, is still important to long-lasting panels and the benefits associated. Using Lumio’s cleaning service can help get additional eyes on your system and take the stress off of you. Learn more about it here!

If something is broken,
who do I call to get it fixed?

On the whole, serious problems aren't the norm with solar panels because there are no moving parts to wear out. However, while not common, problems may occur. If this happens, you should consider calling your solar provider to determine what the problem is and what warranties are available to cover the repairs. Your solar provider will have a better understanding of your system than anyone else and will be able to get to the bottom of it quicker than others. 

Solar panel maintenance is quick and easy, and you can always hire it out so you don’t have to think twice about it. Lumio can help you install, monitor, and maintain your panels so you can get the most out of your big investment.

Ready to see if Lumio is right for you? Our teams are standing by to help. Switch to solar today!