Here at Sun Badger Solar, our customers are regularly asking us what they can do to both maintain their solar panels and help improve the efficiency of their home solar system. Thankfully there’s a lot that solar-owners can do to keep up their panels and ensure efficient production of clean energy.

Some of the different things you can do to maintain your panels include:

  • Keep the panels out of the shade
  • Check on inverters to make sure the LEDs indicate the right status
  • Document the performance of your solar panels
  • Remove debris from the panels’ surface
  • Hire a solar panel cleaning company

We’ll cover these solar panel maintenance tips and more here, but first, be sure to visit the rest of our blog if you’re looking for other solar panel tips.

Solar Panel Maintenance: Getting Started

Getting solar installed on your home’s roof or somewhere else on the property is an exciting investment. Not only will you be able to start saving money on electricity but you also get to say that you’re doing your part to lower your carbon footprint and provide clean energy to your home.

After the panels are installed you won’t need to worry about the cost or time that maintenance takes for a few years. Typically solar panels will work flawlessly for many years and don’t normally require any maintenance. But, it is also important to regularly check on the panels and make sure that everything is working properly.

solar panel installation

Trim Trees and Keep Panels Out of Shade

Shade can impact solar panels in a lot of ways—primarily in its ability to function. Shade prevents solar energy from hitting the panels and could potentially cause your panels to miss their expected production rates. In some places, it can be near impossible to keep panels completely out of the shade. But, when solar panels are installed, trees will be trimmed back to help more direct sunlight reach the panels.

If you’ve had your panels for more than 5 years, it’s likely there are now trees around your solar panels that weren’t there before. This is still okay as long as the solar panel isn’t completely covered with shade throughout all parts of the day. If you’re having problems with shading, give the Sun Badger Solar team a call, and we can offer guidance on what to do next or who might be able to help trim back any overgrown foliage.

trim trees for solar panel maintenance

Check on Your Solar Inverters

One of the most important solar panel maintenance tasks is to check on your solar inverter. Check that all LEDs are green and indicate normal operation. There’s nothing wrong with checking in more than once a year just to be sure everything is still working great!

While you’ll definitely notice if your inverter stops working altogether, by keeping an eye on your solar inverters, you’ll be able to spot smaller problems before they grow into big issues. Many inverters can tell you if there are issues before they get too bad.

Document the Performance of Your Panels

One solar panel maintenance task that you might not think to do is documenting the performance of your solar panels. This means writing down how many kWhs are produced each month and also noting any issues with shading or inverters. Then, throughout the year, be sure to check back on these numbers so you’ll have records for future reference.

There are a number of digital programs that can track this information for you and you might already have it saved with the panels that you purchased. But, by keeping up on these numbers, you’ll know when your panels need work or if the degradation process is happening faster than the warranty states.

Remove Debris from the Surface of the Panels

Debris on solar panels isn’t just an eyesore. It can also impact your solar panel’s ability to produce electricity. Any time that you see something like leaves or branches blocking the sunlight from getting into the solar panel then call someone out to take care of this right away. Of course, you can jump up on the roof yourself, but not everyone is comfortable doing that.

Something else to keep in mind is bird droppings. Birds will take advantage of solar panels as a place to sit and this can lead to droppings accumulating on the solar panel. This is especially problematic for solar panels that are installed close together and birds frequent them. We’ll talk more about cleaning the panels down below. To keep birds off the panels, try some of the tips mentioned in our bird proofing blog post.

Call Your Solar Partner or a Cleaning and Maintenance Service

If you’re seeing any solar panel issues that aren’t covered in this blog post, then it’s time to give your solar partner a call. We can help troubleshoot some of the most common problems and also talk with you about whether or not there are other solar maintenance tasks that you should be doing.

Depending on where your home is located, cleaning the solar panels might not be as applicable to you, but give us a call anyway. We’ll talk through some of your options.

solar panel check

Check on the Electrical Wiring that Connects to the Panels

Checking on the electrical wiring and connections to your solar panels is as important as checking for obstructions to the panels. These can become corroded over time or even get chewed on by squirrels and other critters. This will mean less power production from your solar array, so definitely give these a look when you’re up on the roof. It’s not likely to have too many problems, but not impossible.

How to Safely Clean Solar Panels

When it does come time to clean your solar panels, thankfully, there are some easy ways to do it. Less is always more when you’re cleaning solar panels, as you’ll want to do your best not to damage them or scratch the class. The tools you’ll need to clean the panels safely:

  • Soft-bristled brush head
  • Telescoping pole
  • Hose attachment
  • Soft-wash solution

That’s right; the tools are as simple as that. Several tools do all three of these and not just one. For example, the EQUIPMAXX Water Fed Pole Kit offers you a telescoping brush that you can attach your hose to with ease.

Washing the Panels

When you wash the panels, it’s best to do it either when the panel is already cooled off from the evening or on a cool and cloudy day. Because solar panels are designed to get wet, you won’t need to worry about the water ruining anything at all. However, washing the panels during the day when they’re hot from solar energy can cause shock to them if the water is too cold. Instead, try to use air temperature or lukewarm water.

To wash the panels, simply spray some soft wash solutions on the panels, add some water, and scrub it with a soft brush. Doing this should remove most if not all of the dirt and debris build-up on the panels.

Many solar installers and manufacturers don’t recommend cleaning your solar panels unless you absolutely have to. In climates where it rains regularly, you should be able to rely on the rain to keep your panels free from dust and dirt.

clean solar panels

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Solar Panels

If you do find it necessary to clean your panels, there are some specific things that you’ll want to avoid in order to keep your panels working properly. First up:

Don’t use any soap, detergent, or solvent-based cleaner.

This is of utmost importance because the panels are designed to come in contact with any detergents or chemicals, and it can cause them to break down or become weakened.

  • Avoid hard water
  • Don’t use abrasive sponges (scratches will hurt your panels’ production)
  • Avoid extremely cold water (shocking the panels with sudden temperature changes can cause lasting damages)
  • Don’t use high-pressure water

Each of these different elements, when used, will likely cause damage to your panels, the housing, or the electrical components that are attached to them. We always encourage our customers to call the solar cleaning experts or do extensive research before cleaning their solar panels.

If you’re looking to learn more about purchasing solar panels for your home, updating existing panels, or getting maintenance done on your solar system reach out to Sun Badger Solar. We’re a preferred and premium solar partner that will help you find what you need and install it at an affordable price.

Our solar service team can help you with maintenance and updates to your solar panels. Reach out to us today!

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