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Solar Panel Maintenance Tips

How often do solar panels need maintenance?

Solar panels require very little maintenance. Occasional cleaning to remove dust, dirt, debris, and snow is the most common care required.

Most solar panel manufacturers recommend against using any soaps or cleaning solutions because they may interact with the solar panel metals and cause corrosion.

How do you maintain solar panels?

Simply hosing your solar panels with plain soap and water is all that’s required to keep your panels clear of dirt and debris and maximizing their energy output.

High-powered nozzles can help remove any bird droppings.

Washing your solar panels should be done as needed a few times each year. If the solar panels look dirty, then hose them off in the morning.

Note: do NOT wash solar panels during the heat of the day because the cold water may crack or harm the protective glass on the panels.

Note: if you have very “hard” tap water, you may wish to consider getting a whole-house water softener to remove the heavy minerals that may harm your solar panels as well as your household appliances.

tree shade affects solar panel production

Shade affects the amount of energy produced by solar panels, so you’ll also want to ensure that nearby trees are not growing tall enough to cast shadows on any of the solar panels.

Be sure to keep all trees trimmed that may affect shading on your solar panels.

If city trees are affecting your system, contact the local jurisdiction, and request tree trimming.

If neighbors’ trees are shading your system, you may wish to reach out to them and ask if they’d consider trimming those trees. It would help if you also considered paying for it.

What is solar maintenance?

Besides keeping your solar panels clean of dirt and debris and free from shade, there is not much to maintain your solar panels and inverter(s).

Keep the critters out. Birds, squirrels, and other small animals can damage wiring and other parts of your solar energy system. 

Critter guards are mesh fencing products (similar to chicken wire) that wrap around the perimeter of your solar panels to prevent critters from gaining entry underneath your solar panels.

There are several manufacturers of critter guards for solar panels. Look for solar panel bird or critter control products. 

Here’s an example of critter control netting for solar panels on Amazon.com. 

We recommend contacting licensed solar contractors to install bird and critter guards.

Keeping leaves and twigs from collecting underneath your solar panels is also a maintenance requirement for solar energy systems.

Bird and critter guard netting can also help keep leaves and other debris from accumulating under your solar panels.

Depending on where your panels are mounted, wrapping the solar panels with critter netting may be easy or challenging to do. We recommend always hiring a solar contractor.

Are solar panels cheap to maintain?

Yes, the cost to maintain your solar panels and inverter(s) is minimal, requiring only occasional cleaning to maintain peak performance.

The most important aspect of maintaining your solar panels is monitoring their energy output to ensure they’re performing well and producing electricity for your home every day.

Many homeowners who have called us for solar repairs did not have monitoring and consequently didn’t know their solar panels had not worked for months. 

We offer a “Real-time solar monitoring service” for homeowners at just $5 per month. It gives you 24/7 monitoring, alerts, free remote troubleshooting, and discounted repair services if needed.

If your solar energy system is not working or needs repairs, visit our Solar Panel Repairs page and our $77 Solar Checkup service.

President at Jamar Power Systems
Phil Edwards is President of Jamar Power Systems. With over 30 years of electrical contracting experience, his companies have wired over 30,000 housing units, including 1000's of residential solar installations. His company is a member of WECA and BIA.