How to Maintain Your Residential Solar Panels
Homeowners across the United States have turned to solar panels to generate renewable energy for their homes while supporting the environment. By generating your own power on-site with home solar panels, you take control over your electricity like never before. With a solar power solution on your roof, you can rely less on your utility and can potentially save thousands of dollars through the lifespan of your panel system.
To maximize the benefits of your solar panel efficiency, the array does require a little maintenance. Cleaning the solar panels on a regular basis is recommended as dust and dirt will affect the efficiency of solar panels.
Solar panel maintenance can be very easy and infrequent. There are ways to reduce maintenance costs up front depending on the different panels that you purchase. There are also services available that can be hired to complete the cleaning and maintenance process for you.
When and How to Clean Solar Panels
Solar Panel Cleaning Tips:
- First thing’s first, check with your solar panel manufacturer. They might have specific recommendations for cleaning.
- Avoid cleaning when panels are the hottest or have been in direct sunlight for a long amount of time. That will cause the panels to be very hot and could be dangerous. Try and pick a cool or cloudy day.
- Use your garden hose. Oftentimes that is enough to clear dirt and dust from the panels.
- If a thorough clean is needed, use mild soap and water.
- Clean the surface of the panel with a sponge or cloth. No cleaning is required for the wiring underneath.
- Depending on how much rain your area receives, rain water might be a sufficient way to regularly clean your solar panels.
- Here is cleaning equipment to help make the process easier. There are also cleaning robots and kits.
- You should keep panels clear of leaves, branches, and other obstructions.
- If there is obvious build up on the panels, they should certainly be cleaned.
Though these tips can help you determine when and how to clean your panels, there is no surefire time to do it. You can monitor the power output of your panels to get an idea of when and how often you should clean them.
How to Reduce Solar Panel Maintenance Costs
Your residential solar panel maintenance is largely dependent on how the solar panels are designed and installed. When installing solar panels, you can reduce maintenance costs by:
- Making sure you leave enough room to safely work (clean, remove a panel, access conduits).
- Follow the guidelines presented by the National Electrical Code, International Building Code, International Residential Code, and other standards that will provide helpful guidelines for installing solar system in a safe and efficient manner, which includes designing for maintenance.
Should I Hire A Solar Panel Cleaning Service?
If you are deciding between DIY and hiring a cleaning service, here are some considerations:
- Costs are dependent on the number of panels – average cleaning cost is $5-10 per panel.
- You should also factor in the size, location, and accessibility of the individual panels.
- Some companies will offer a flat rate up to a certain number of panels.
- Thumbtack is a website that will help you find an estimate for cleaning services in your area.
Dangers of DIY:
- Homeowners will need to be mindful of mineral count in the water they use. Hard water can leave water spots that will reduce panel efficiency.
- Depending on where the panels are located, safety can be a concern.
If you decide to go with a professional, you need to know how to find one. If solar panels are popular in the area you live in, there should be an abundance of options. You can find a cleaning service by contacting your manufacturer, doing your own local research, or referring to the Better Business Bureau. Check out more ways to find a commercial cleaning company for your solar panels here.
Solar panel care should no longer be a concern for those deciding to take their commitment to the environment a step further by adding solar panels to their homes.