January 29, 2016
Cleaning Solar Panel with a Mop

A light cleaning and some checking for wear are the only maintenance that solar panels need. They typically don’t have moving parts, unless built on tracking mounts, and are built to withstand the elements for years at a time.

DO MY PANELS NEED MAINTENANCE?

Solar panel maintenance helps to ensure that your panels are running as efficiently as possible by getting rid of any obstructions. Debris such as bird droppings, dust, dirt, and pollen might be collecting on the panel and blocking out sunlight. People living in places with dusty environments or regions with frequent ice and snow might need to clean their panels more often.

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR SOLAR PANELS

Typically rain will wash these obstructions away, but in the event of a dry spell, you can clean them off yourself. You should also periodically check on your panels to make sure they have not been damaged by the elements.

  1. Use Caution when cleaning your solar panels. Check a maintenance guide or call the manufacturer for any specific instructions. If your panel is located on a roof and you do not feel comfortable getting to it safely, you may want to consider hiring a maintenance service.
  2. Clean during the morning, evening, or on a cool day.Panels can get very hot, and if cold water is poured on the panel it could crack from rapid temperature change.
  3. Spray off any debris or build-up with a water hose.
  4. If your panel is still dirty, you may have to use a gentle detergent mixed with warm water to clean it. You can use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe away grime and gentle brush for snow. Avoid using abrasive cleaning tools or soaps to lower the risk of scratching your panel.

CHECK FOR DAMAGE

Solar panels are built to last for many years, but it doesn’t hurt to check regularly for wear or damage that could affect their efficiency. Be on the lookout for:

  • Cracks
  • Scratches
  • Bent or dented framing

If you notice any of the above problems, contact your solar panel manufacturer or installer about what your next steps for repair would be.

WHAT IS THE LIFE EXPECTANCY OF A SOLAR PANEL?

Most solar panels have a 25-year warranty on them with a life expectancy of up to 40 years. Your panels will continue to produce electricity as they get older, but they will do so with slightly less efficiency unless there is a major malfunction. The likelihood of this happening is rare, but if you suspect that you may have a bad panel, contact the manufacturer or installer.

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