How to maintain your solar panels: Costs and common causes

Solar panel warranties cover most bases of the already low-maintenance technology.

Written by:
Updated May 23, 2024
7 min read
solar panel maintenance

Going solar can translate into serious savings, but with five-figure upfront costs, you’ll want to make those panels last as long as possible. 

Solar panel systems are incredibly durable and require little to no maintenance over their 25+ year lifetime. Monitoring your system’s production and keeping your solar panels clear of debris are the best things you can do to maintain their performance and output. Unless you live in an area with relatively low rainfall and a lot of snow, smog, dirt, or dust, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about regular maintenance. 

But, regular checks can’t hurt and can help you identify issues as they arise. If something does go wrong, your equipment’s warranties should cover replacement and repair costs.

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Key takeaways

  • Solar panels generally require little maintenance.

  • Solar panel warranties cover any manufacturing defects that might affect your panels’ performance. 

  • If your solar panels need cleaning, professional cleaners are a great option.

  • You can install a solar monitoring system to determine if your panels are declining in performance.

You’ll know your system needs attention if its output declines more than it should. A damaged, dirty, or otherwise malfunctioning solar system won’t perform well. In most cases, you can narrow down the culprit for faster-than-usual degradation by monitoring your electricity bill, using system software, or installing a solar monitoring system.

For the most part, keeping your panels clear of debris is all you need to do to maintain your system. But, you can proactively identify and address issues by paying attention to production changes.

Fortunately, annual solar panel maintenance costs are pretty low, considering how infrequently it’s needed. Solar panel systems are designed to be relatively self-sufficient, but a few scenarios require professional maintenance.

Solar panels are installed at an angle and naturally rinse off with rainfall, so they generally don't need to be cleaned. Still, things like snow, smog, dust, or dirt can cause a dip in your production, especially during times of low rain. In that case, cleaning your solar panels would be beneficial. 

Your best and safest option is to hire a professional cleaning service, which your installer should be able to recommend.

Solar panel manufacturers offer a few warranties that guarantee coverage in the unlikely event of an issue. A good solar panel warranty saves you the maintenance costs associated with any manufacturing defects over the lifetime of your system.

Power output warranties guarantee a specified production level over the warranty term (usually 25 years). For instance, a manufacturer might offer a warranty ensuring peak power output won't fall below 85% for 25 years.

Panels also come with a product warranty that protects against defective parts. Today, most solar panel companies offer at least 25 years of protection. The same product warranty sometimes covers inverters and racking equipment, but not usually. Separate warranties for each component are more common, though that could change as the industry evolves.

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