One of the most appealing aspects of solar PV is that it requires very little maintenance in return for decades of functioning lifetime. With no moving parts, solar panels aren’t put under the mechanical stresses inherent in other generators. But the system is a significant investment - with most of its return based on using its electricity - so a little upkeep is worthwhile to ensure it’s always performing at its best.
Solar panel maintenance checklist
Check in on your online monitoring system. Many systems come with a tool to track their daily output. This is useful for spotting any sudden drop offs that may be due to a fault. (Though bear in mind the effects of weather and seasonality on generation!)
Watch out for any new shading. Shading is the downfall of PV, especially when modules are connected in a string and shading in one part limits the output of the whole. So keep an eye on any trees that have begun to overgrow since the system was installed and trim them back if necessary.
Clean every so often. Sloping roof installations are mostly washed by natural rainfall, but those on flat roofs or in areas of high pollution or debris should be cleaned every year or two. See below for more detail.
Control any vermin. Unfortunately solar panels can make an attractive home to animals. Birds - particularly pigeons - will sometimes try to nest underneath them, leading to possible damage. Bird proofing measures will prevent this. You may also find rats or squirrels causing problems with wiring inside the loft if you have an infestation.
Replace the inverter. You can expect your inverter to last around 10-20 years, depending on model and environmental conditions. Since this isn't as long as the panels, you should budget for an inverter replacement at some point during the system lifetime.
Keep a logbook of maintenance. As you would with a car, having a record of any maintenance on the system (from inspections to cleaning or component replacements) can be useful if there are any issues that need diagnosing in the future.
How to clean solar panels
While we would recommend it’s safest to get professional PV cleaning, here are some tips if you’re trying it yourself:
- When it comes to cleaning solar panels, it’s best done in late spring or summer, after the pollen has settled.
- Choose a cooler day or start early in the morning, before the panels heat up.
- First, clear off big debris like fallen leaves with a dry brush.
- Lightly scrub the surface with warm or mildly soapy water to remove dust, dirt and droppings.
- Rinse the panels off with the spray from a hose (not a pressure washer).
- Dry with a window wiper or microfibre cloth.
The most important thing is to be as gentle as possible with the panels, since even tiny scratches or cracks can cause problems down the line.
PV maintenance packages
For peace of mind, you can get a regular maintenance checkup on your system. We offer cleaning and electrical servicing packages, either as one-offs or on a routine basis.
Please get in touch on 0118 951 4490 to discuss further or download our free domestic servicing guide: