Having a solar panel system on your home can be refreshing, but with every new technology comes with new ways of ensuring maintenance. While it can be exciting to save money and provide a clean energy source for you and your family, what does it cost to maintain these systems?
Once your solar panels have been installed, there are a couple of factors to consider and some of them can be easily done by yourself or outsourced to professionals.
Over the years, as solar panels are becoming more popular, the cost of solar panel maintenance has greatly reduced due to better understanding of the energy generating panels. The general maintenance for solar panels is actually quite low and this is due to a couple of factors:
Firstly, solar panels do not have a lot of moving parts which reduces the risk of breakages and cracks and general wear and tear on the equipment. That being said they are out in the weather all day every day from 40 degree days to the depths of winter chills.
Dust and debris will occasionally fall on the panels over time but will usually slide off due to the angle at which the panels are installed, however, some of these particles can remain on the panels and could obstruct the rate at which sunlight is absorbed by the panels. This will lead to and overall decrease in energy output.
Pro tip: Most of this can be avoided by regularly checking the panels, wiping off any particles with a simple soap and water solution. An easy way to monitor all this is from the comfort of your lounge room by occasionally checking your monitoring software on your phone. Most modern systems allow the user to check the average output for the day or week. If that output is decreasing over some months but the weather is the same, then you might need to clean your system.
Before you clean
Before you do this though, check your manufacturer’s direction for cleaning. There may be some special instructions or warnings with cleaning your panels. Another thing to consider if you ever choose to DIY is to pick a cool day to clean your panels. Panels might be too hot if you choose to clean it at around noon. It’s advisable if you clean it first thing in the morning or later at night.
In colder regions where snow falls often, maintenance is also relatively easy as most of the snow that lands on the panels will either slide off due to the inclination of the panels, or simply melt off from the sun or the internal heat generated by the panels when they are absorbing sunlight. However, it is still advisable to check on the panels and manually wipe off any excess snow.
DIY or pro cleaner
Despite the do-it-yourself nature of most of the maintenance, it is also wise to occasionally call for professional help to check up on the solar panels, especially if the panels are installed on a very high roof that isn’t easily accessible, these professionals can analyse and assess any internal fault that may have been taking place inside the solar panels. They can also evaluate the overall output and efficiency and advise you on how to properly ensure that your solar panels last for an even longer period.
Furthermore, when it comes to guarantee, when properly installed and maintained, solar panels can last for as long as 20 years. In these 20 years, you would have greatly reduced your utility bills, generated a large amount of electricity, and provided enough clean energy to benefit your community.
How often should I clean my panels?
It is advisable that you clean your panels once or twice a year. It is reported that properly cleaned solar panels can result in an increased efficiency of up to 3 to 5 percent. Also, you can simply determine if your panels need cleaning or maintenance if you check on your power. If you notice that there’s a decrease in the efficiency, it means that your panels need cleaning and maintenance. If you choose to ignore this, there’s a big chance that your panel’s lifespan will decrease drastically so make sure you allot time to clean and maintain your panels.
Conclusively, solar panel maintenance isn’t a very expensive or difficult venture, as long as you follow simple guidelines, then you can power their house efficiently for years without much stress.
Cost of maintaining a solar system
Solar panel systems are simple and cheap to maintain. You need to basically wipe them down every 6 – 12 months depending on the climate or region you live in. The cost will depend on whether you opt to do the work yourself or go with a professional. Using a professional panel cleaner will cost about $225 for a 5kWh system (16 – 20 panels) each time they come out to clean your panels.
As this will need to be done every 6 – 12 months, you can average it out to about $350 per year for cleaning costs. If you opt to do the job yourself, you are looking at $35 for a special cleaner (although most manufactures do suggest a high quality dishwashing liquid) and other cleaning instruments. They will cost about $125 as a one-time purchase.
Solar panel systems are not difficult or expensive to maintain. The biggest outlay is the initial purchase and installation cost. The amount you save on power production will greatly offset the tiny costs of maintaining the system with a light clean each year.