Maintaining Your Solar Panels
It's much easier than you think.
by Caroline Nurse
5 min read - Published on 05/10/2022
Big decisions are called big for a reason—they're important! You know what's a big decision? Switching to solar. There are a lot of factors to consider, such as how will it affect your monthly budget, is it the right decision for your family, and what does the maintenance look like? Let's dive into the maintenance—or lack thereof—that solar panels require so you know what to expect down the road.
What Kind of Maintenance Is Required?
Solar Maintenance Process
- Twice a year, do a visual inspection of your panels.
- Inspect under the panels.
- No need to get on the roof yourself, inspection can be done from the ground.
- If there is debris build up such as dust or pollen, just grab the garden hose and spray the panels down.
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, you can get on your roof to do the inspection if you’re comfortable with heights and know how to navigate on your roof safely. Just make sure that you don’t step on the panels themselves. While fairly sturdy against weather and common forms of debris, they aren’t designed to support the weight of a full-grown adult.
How Do I Clean My Panels from Debris?
Since your panels are situated outside, you may find things like leaves, pine needles, and twigs sitting on the array. Plus, there will be an inevitable buildup of dust 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 a little to get the perfect stream to clean them off.
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.
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.
While visual inspections are typically all the maintenance a solar system needs, it doesn’t mean you’ll never need a professional to come look at your solar setup. If you spot damage to one or more panels, that takes things into the realm of solar panels professionals. 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 Lumio Installer can analyze the system and components and track down the problem faster than you most likely could.
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.
You can see the value of solar in how simple things are in terms of the maintenance requirements. Once or twice a year go out and give the array a visual once over. If the panels are dirty, hose them down. In other words, maintenance for solar is a snap.