If you are mulling over the idea of adding solar panels for your home, you probably have some questions about some of your responsibilities related to the way this technology will be incorporated into your home. Most notably, most people want to know what kind of maintenance is required to keep rooftop solar panels in working order. Fortunately, you will be happy to know that there isn’t much maintenance for you to worry about.
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How Much Maintenance Do Solar Panels Require?
While solar panels are not 100% maintenance-free, they are very easy to manage. To help give you a better idea of what you can expect with solar panel maintenance, we will provide you with some valuable information in regards to cleaning the panels, the effects of snow and some other common problems that you may need to address.
Cleaning Solar Panels
Solar panels tend to collect dirt, dust, leaves and other debris due to their positioning on the outside of your home. These things are capable of decreasing the energy production of your system. For this reason, it is important to clean your panels from time to time. By conducting brief periodic visual inspections of your panels, you will be able to determine if and when your panels need to be cleaned.
Here are a few simple steps that you can take to clean your solar panels:
1. Spray your panels down with a hose. Simply spraying down your panels with a garden house will help remove dust and dirt that natural rain is unable to eliminate.
2. Grab a bucket of warm, soapy water (dishwashing detergent is the safest cleanser). Next, soak a soft brush in the bucket and scrub down any areas that still look dirty. Be sure to avoid coarse brushes as you do not want to scratch the panels.
3. Use a spray bottle for those tight spots. If you still see specific areas that were not cleaned with the hose or your brush, use a spray bottle to hone in on these difficult spots. If possible, follow up with the use of a soft brush to wipe the area clean.
Safety tip: If you are accessing your solar panels on the roof of your home, please be sure to use caution. At a minimum, be sure to wear safe footwear and make use of safety harness-lanyard equipment.
Be Careful of Snow
A light dusting of snow is unlikely to cause any problems with your solar panels. However, a heavy snowstorm could prevent your panels from generating a sufficient amount of power for your home.
Most solar panels are installed on an angle, which allows the snow to slide off naturally in most cases. But if you regularly encounter heavy amounts of snow in your area, you may want to consider purchasing a solar panel snow rake to help you clear off your panels. This will help you safely wipe snow off the panels without causing any damage.
Watch Out for Common Solar Panel Problems
Let’s take a quick look at some other common solar panel issues that you could run into:
- Roof complications. Installing the panels could cause roofing issues if you have loose shingles or tiles. You may need to hire a roofing professional to fix any problems that arise, especially if you have an older roof.
- Bird nests. Birds often consider solar panels to be ideal nesting locations. You may need to install wire mesh if you are in an area where birds commonly nest.
- Faulty wiring. Faulty wiring can decrease in the production of your electricity. In the unlikely event that your warranty does not cover you for faulty wiring, you should reach out to a licensed electrician who specializes in solar.
How Much Does Solar Maintenance Cost?
If you happen to run into any of the above-mentioned issues, you may need the assistance of some solar professionals. The cost of maintenance will depend on the size and the amount of panels on your home in combination with the type of work that is needed.
On average, it costs somewhere between $175 and $300 to have your solar panels cleaned. If you are looking for a professional inspection to ensure the overall proper functionality of your panels, this service will likely cost close to $300 in most instances.
Solar panels are designed to provide your home with affordable, renewable energy. Fortunately, solar panel maintenance will not hinder you from reaping the benefits of this amazing technology. Staying on top of some of the simple maintenance techniques will help keep your solar energy system running strong for many years to come.