Solar Panel Maintenance: Everything You Need to Know

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Solar panels are generally low maintenance, but if you want to keep them running efficiently, you'll need to remove any dirt or debris. Let's talk about how maintenance increases your panel efficiency, how often solar panels need to be cleaned, the safest times to clean them, and how to clean them.

When Do Your Panels Need Maintenance?

By monitoring the energy output of your solar panels, you can determine if they need some maintenance. If there is a significant and prolonged decrease in production, that is a clear indication that maintenance is needed. Although solar panels generally experience a decline in performance as they age, any reduction in the early stages of their lifespan is more likely due to panel obstruction or dirt buildup. 

Since solar panels decline in performance over time, many solar panels production level declines to 50% after 25 years. Project Solar only uses panels with a much higher performance level. We exclusively utilize Tier 1 panels that hold a warranty with a minimum 84% production level by the 25th year, depending on the specific panel used. By keeping up with regular maintenance, achieving an even higher level of productivity may be possible. 

How Often Do Solar Panels Need to Be Cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning required for solar panel maintenance depends on various factors, such as the environment they are exposed to and weather conditions. If your panels are located in a dusty or pollen-rich area, you may need to clean them more frequently. In general, it is recommended to clean your panels every six to 12 months. However, if you live in a dry and dusty area, cleaning them once every three to six months may be necessary.

Safest Times to Clean  

Solar panels should be cleaned when they are not generating electricity, typically early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is not shining directly on the panels. Cleaning during the day when the panels produce electricity increases the risk of electric shock. It is also essential to ensure that the panels are cool to the touch before cleaning to avoid potential burns and the water and cleaning products evaporating too quickly, leaving residues that will reduce your panels' efficiency just as much as dirt can.

How to Clean Solar Panels

Cleaning solar panels is a simple process that can be done with a hose, a bucket of soapy water, and a soft-bristled brush. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as they can damage or leave residue on the panels. Make sure to use a safety harness before you climb onto your roof. If you are not comfortable climbing onto your roof, you can hire a professional cleaning service to do the job for you.

Solar panel maintenance is critical to ensuring your system operates efficiently and generates clean energy for your home or business. Following the recommended cleaning and maintenance practices, you can keep your panels free of dirt and debris and monitor their energy output to maximize their performance.