Caring for your Solar Panels

Solar panels are a significant investment and if you want to reap the benefits of installing them, you will need to practice proper cleaning and maintenance practices for them to run efficiently.

Cleaning the Solar Panels

Solar panels do not have any moving parts so the primary area of maintenance will be to ensure they are clean. You are advised to check on the panels, particularly during the dry, peak periods when there will be a higher buildup of dust. Dirty solar panels will not be able to absorb the sun’s energy as efficiently, which translates into a reduced level of performance. Primary sources of dirt include dust and bird droppings which can be removed easily using warm water and detergent or using a dry cloth. Ensure you inspect the panels and wash them in the morning to prevent any drastic temperature changes. As you are checking the cleanliness level of the panels, you are also advised to look for any debris that may have fallen on the panels or loose wiring. Check for cracks or gaps in the frame which can let water into the system and inspect for signs of corrosion or water damage to connections and fuses. You are advised to clean your solar panels 2 to 3 times in a year preferably once every fall and spring. All through the year, airborne particles such as dirt, bird feces, plant residue, dust, and pollen tend to collect on the solar panels and natural events like strong winds or storms will encourage this buildup. Rainfall may help to wash away the grime naturally but it will not scrub them clean completely.

Check for any Nature Damage

Wildlife and nature can be hazardous to your solar panels. Birds can make nests beneath the panels or squirrels can chew through the wires. Regular inspection of the panels allows you to spot these problems before any significant damage can be done. The growth of shrubs and trees can also shade the panels from sunlight reducing their energy absorption. Snowfall is not as problematic for solar panels as they are usually installed at an angle that is steep enough for most of the snow to slide off. Any snow remaining will not take long to melt from the panel glass even without direct exposure to sunlight. However, if there has been prolonged or heavy snowfall, you should check on the panels quickly to ensure there is no cleaning required.


Some solar panel contractors or manufacturers will provide maintenance schemes to ensure the solar panel system is in optimal working condition. This may include replacement of the thermal transfer fluid, which is supposed to be changed after every few years.

Energy Usage

You can also check on the amount of energy that your solar panels are producing by installing an energy monitor. An energy monitor can act as an early warning system for your energy usage instead of receiving a large bill from you traditional energy provider when your solar thermal system starts underperforming.