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Updated: Feb 14

man on ladder washing solar panels

There are many benefits to installing a residential solar panel system to generate renewable energy, especially for residents of sunny Southern California. Homeowners can take control of their electric bills and potentially save thousands of dollars over the systems’ lifespan. Additionally, according to the U.S Department of Energy, residential solar panels have a significantly positive impact on the environment.  

However, homeowners can’t simply install solar panel systems to their homes and call it a day. Like most good things, maintenance is key. The following five steps are essential to maintain the efficiency of your solar panels.

1. Check Your Digital Monitoring System

Many solar panel systems come with an app to track their daily output. The app will tell you if there are any sudden drop-offs due to a fault. Place a reminder on your calendar to check the system at least once a month.

2. Remove Sunlight Obstructions 

Shading is a downfall of PV (photovoltaic) materials and devices that convert sunlight into electrical energy. If trees are blocking the sun from the solar panels, the energy output will be limited.

3. Clean Your Solar Panels!!!

According to the US Department of Energy, cleaning panels when they are dirty can significantly improve how much energy your panels can collect. When solar panels are dirty, they are far less effective at gathering energy. You may be able to double your energy output by ensuring your solar panels are clean, which converts to energy savings.

How frequently you need to clean your solar panels depends on the climate and area where you live. Our motto, “if they look dirty, clean them.” Please keep in mind rain naturally rinses your panels; we recommend a late spring or summer cleaning.

Here are three options for cleaning your solar panels:

  1. Hire a professional to clean them: Prices can undoubtedly fluctuate based on the amount of work required, size of the solar panels, and location. The cost can range anywhere from $15-$35 per solar panel. Make sure they use deionized water when cleaning the panels. We highly recommend hiring a professional regularly, and it is safer.  

  2. Purchase an automatic solar panel cleaning system: Installing an automatic solar panel cleaning system will also avoid potential injury from falling, damaging roofing or solar panels. However, the initial installation for a system such as a residential Heliotex System can be costly. The cost can range anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000.

  3. Clean solar panels yourself: Although the most dangerous option, you can save yourself a lot of money, especially if you need to clean your solar panels more often. We see some clients that need to clean their solar panels quarterly and every other month. It is essential to clean them in the early morning - before the sun hits them. STEP 1 - Rinse the solar panels with clean water to remove loose dirt or debris. Hard water can leave water spots that will reduce panel efficiency. Again, using deionized water is best for solar panels.  STEP 2 - Use a soft scrubber and solar panel cleaner mixed according to directions and from a bucket, gently wash the panel’s surface.  STEP 3 - Rinse solar panels again with clean water.

4. Manage Any Vermin

While birds, especially pigeons, like to build nests under and around the panels, squirrels can also cause wiring and infestation problems. Click on this link for vermin proofing techniques around solar panels that have proved effective.

5. Track Solar Panel Maintenance

In the same way you would keep track of your car maintenance, keeping a log of solar panel inspections, cleaning, or part replacements may prove useful in the future. If a problem ever arises that needs diagnosing by a repair professional, the maintenance records may come in handy. 

Custom Home Maintenance (CHM) Can Help Manage Your Solar System

In order to enhance solar panel efficiency and increase savings, it’s critical to take charge of your maintenance routine. For more information on optimizing your home maintenance in a hassle-free way, check out CHM’s Monthly Subscription Service. Embrace sustainability, cut costs, and secure a brighter, cleaner future for your home.

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