Solar panel maintenance
Last updated 1/11/2019
Worried about solar panels and hail? Fret not, solar panel systems are incredibly durable and require little to no maintenance over their productive lifetime – which can span 25 years or more. In the event that something does go wrong, your solar PV system components have very long warranties that would cover replacement and repair costs. If you lease your solar panel system, repairs and maintenance are the leasing company’s responsibility, not yours.
Solar panel warranties
Solar panel manufacturers provide a range of warranties that guarantee you will have support and coverage in the unlikely event of an issue, such as hail or falling tree branches.
Power output warranties guarantee that panel performance won’t fall below a specified level over the term of the warranty (usually 25 years). For instance, a manufacturer might provide a warranty to guarantee that peak power output won’t fall below 85 percent for 25 years.
Some manufacturers will also include an additional warranty that promises a higher output level over a shorter period of time. As an example, a secondary warranty might guarantee no less than 90 percent of initial power output for the first 10 years.
Panels typically come with a workmanship warranty that protects consumers against defective panel parts, generally for the first five years of operation. Inverters also come with warranties, usually for 10 years.
Learn more about solar panel warranties and other indicators of quality in EnergySage’s Guide to Evaluating Solar Panel Quality.
How to maintain your solar panels
Solar panels are made of tempered glass, so they’re built to withstand hail and other rough weather. With the exception of tracking mounts, solar panel systems don’t have movable parts, which cuts down on the possibility of any problems.
Any issues with solar panel performance are usually related to electricity production, which is why most installers recommend monitoring your system’s production. By paying attention to changes in production, you can identify and address issues proactively.
Generally, solar panels don’t need to be cleaned. If you live somewhere where there is a lot of smog, dust, or dirt, you may see a dip in your production over time that can be remedied by cleaning your panels. If your panels are mounted on your roof, however, your best option is to hire a professional cleaning service rather than try to clean them yourself. Your installer will be able to recommend someone local to help you.
Many people in regions that get significant snowfall often ask if it’s necessary to remove the snow from the panels. Generally, the answer is no – snow usually melts and falls from the roof shortly after falling, so it doesn’t have a big impact on your overall production levels. For your panels to be self-cleaning, they will need to be mounted at an angle of 15 degrees or more.