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  • Generate free, green electricity
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The Complete Guide to Solar Panel Maintenance

Solar panels are low maintenance and last up to 30 years

They should be gently cleaned with water every five years

Solar panels should be professionally serviced every 5-10 years


Solar panels can last roughly 30 years with not much maintenance, which means they're a great investment – plus, with solar panel costs coming down, it's never been better to invest.

In this article, we’ll take you through the do’s and don'ts of solar maintenance just scroll down to find out more. 

If you want to get new solar panels, we can help. Just tell us a little bit about your home, and we’ll pass this on to our suppliers. Once they have this information, they'll contact you with a free quote for a solar panel system, perfectly matched to your house.

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man fixing wires on solar panels

How do you maintain your solar panels?

Solar panels have no moving parts, which makes them relatively low maintenance. But if you want to reduce solar panel costs and maintenance over time, you’ll need to look after them. Here are a few things that you should do to keep your panels in tip-top condition:

Solar panel maintenance checklist

  1. Get your panels serviced 
  2. Check for any issues
  3. Clean your solar panels
  4. Remove potential dangers
  5. Keep solar panels out of the shade
  6. Make sure the inverters are flashing green
  7. Check the day-to-day performance
  8. Keep a maintenance logbook

Get your panels serviced

We recommend that you get a professional to check over the system at least once every 5-10 years. This way, you can keep on top of any nasty financial surprises, whilst making sure that your panels are generating enough power to save money on your bills.

Check for any issues

From ground level, perhaps with a pair of binoculars, check your solar panels for any dirt build-up or problems with the mounting system, such as bolts looking loose. Try to have a quick look at least twice per year.

Additionally, if you notice a sudden drop in the output of your solar panels, this could be a sign that something is wrong.

Clean your solar panels

Your panels need cleaning every five years, on average, unless they get particularly dirty for some reason. If you live by the coast for example, you might need to clean your panels more often, since the sea air can cause salt to build up on them.

The most effective way to clean your solar panels is with a hose (from ground level). Be careful with detergent and high-pressure water sprayers, as using either of these can invalidate your warranty.

In the summertime, you can remove any dust or pollen from your panels, whilst in the winter, you should look out for any snow or debris.

Remove potential dangers

Any overhanging branches should be cleared to remove any threats to the panels, such as falling branches. You should also make sure you keep any vermin, such as squirrels or pigeons away from your panels. Bird-proofing your solar panels with mesh nets is the best way to do this.

Keep solar panels out of the shade

Your panels' energy production can be badly affected if they're hidden from that precious sunlight. Keep any nearby trees pruned, and don’t let ivy grow anywhere near your panels.

Make sure the inverters are flashing green lights

When the light on your inverters is flashing green, it means there are no glitches of faults in your solar energy system. If they are not flashing, it could mean there’s an underlying issue that might end up costing you a lot if left untouched.

Bear in mind that inverters need replacing every 10 years or so, sooner than the solar panels themselves.

Check the day-to-day performance of your panels

Make sure to track how much energy has been generated at the same time each day, as this will help you identify any problems quickly.

Want to learn more? Check out our helpful page on the Top 7 Ways to Protect Your Solar Panels.

Keep a maintenance logbook

Make sure you keep a record of any maintenance, cleaning work, or replacement jobs,  you have done on your panels. This can help servicemen diagnose the cause of issues if they come up in the future.

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How much do solar panel repairs cost?

To limit having to pay for any repairs, you need to get your solar panels serviced at least once every 5-10 years. A solar panel service will set you back around £100, but it will also prevent any possible future issues for your solar panel system, and hopefully, lead to 30 long years of solar-soaking panels.

Cleaning your solar panels will also help avoid issues, and if you don't want to do this yourself, solar panel cleaning costs £100-£150.

If something does go wrong and your solar panels need fixing, repair costs will vary, depending on what the issue is. Small damages can cost around £80 to fix, whilst fully replacing a solar panel can cost over £1,000.

There are also a few things, such as solar inverters, that may need replacing along the way. The inverter usually needs replacing every 10 years, and this costs £500-£1,500. The lifespan of your inverter, however, will depend on a range of things, including the potential power output, its conversion efficiency, and the type you go for.

solar panels being installed on roof

Top tips for solar panel maintenance

  • If mounting your roof to clean your panels isn’t an option for you, you can install automated cleaners that work like sprinkler systems. You can also hire a professional to come to your house to carry out the clean

 

  • Avoid DIY solar installations. Enlisting a professional installer is less likely to result in any dodgy complications 

 

  • Placement is everything. If you’ve done your research on solar panels, you’ll know that these solar-soaking sheets love wide open spaces. Avoid shade, remove any overhanging tree branches, and make sure they’re in view of that wonderful sunshine. You’ll also want your panels to be placed at an angle – this way, any rain and debris will slide right off

 

  • Think about the long-term. We know solar panel repairs can be costly, but try to avoid any quick fixes. By spending more on that new inverter, rather than repairing it over and over, you’re likely to save more money in the long-run

Do solar panels in the UK need extra maintenance?

Solar panels in the UK do not typically need extra maintenance, since the UK climate is generally favourable to them.

According to manufacturers’ standards, 25°C is the optimum temperature for solar panels to operate – so the UK summertime is the prime time for your panels. 

However, the UK is also notoriously drizzly, which can affect your panels if they’re not installed properly. To make sure your panels are generating the most energy possible, make sure your panels are installed at an angle so that any rain runs off smoothly, whilst also dislodging any stray debris. 

Luckily, most areas of the UK aren’t prone to getting much snowfall in the winter. Though this is bad news for sledging fanatics, it’s great news for solar panel owners, saving on repair and maintenance costs massively. 

Next steps

Overall, the average solar panel system isn’t very high maintenance. It'll end up costing you around £100 every five years for the annual service, plus any costs for the cleaning equipment you need every 5-10 years. 

These costs are minimal, and the savings you’ll see from solar panels over the years will make it a worthwhile investment.

Plus, the need for repairs is typically infrequent – and the technology is only getting more popular, with 69% of people telling our National Home Energy Survey that they'd buy a house with solar panels.

If you think your solar panels are approaching their twilight years, perhaps now’s the time to consider getting a new system. This can seem intimidating, especially if you’re used to your current panels – but we’re here to help. 

Tell us a little bit about your home and we’ll pass it on to our suppliers. Once they have this information, they can match your home with the perfect set of panels. 

FAQs

Yes, you should turn off your solar panel system when cleaning it, especially if you, or a maintenance person, are going up on your roof to do this. This is a precautionary measure to remove the risk of electrocution, and is recommended by most product manuals.

Yes, rain does a good job of cleaning solar panels. Just make sure they are installed at an angle – instead of laid flat – so that excess water can slide off.

After a particularly heavy downpour or storm, however, you might want to check your solar panels for debris such as branches or twigs. Clear these off if you find any, since they could affect the solar panels’ efficiency.

The best time of day to clean solar panels is early in the morning or late in the evening. Since you need to turn your solar panels off to clean them, you want to avoid doing so at times when they’ll produce the most electricity, such as at noon when the sun is highest in the sky.

In the summer especially, cleaning in the morning or evening – when it’s cool – will also ensure the water doesn’t evaporate too quickly, and leave a residue on your panels.

Written by:
Beth has been writing about green tech, the environment, and climate change for over three years now – with her work being featured in publications such as The BBC, Forbes, The Express, Greenpeace, and in multiple academic journals. Whether you're after a new set of solar panels, energy-saving tips, or advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint, she's got you covered.
Reviewed by:
Charlie has been researching and writing about the home energy market for over five years, and he has been the editor of The Eco Experts since 2021. Charlie's thoughts on solar panels have seen him featured in various publications, including The Times, Ideal Home, and Grand Designs Magazine. Ever since he can remember, Charlie has worried about the planet, and he one day dreams of owning a solar power farm.
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