James Elston

James Elston

Published July 11, 2024

If you’ve just had solar panels installed, or you’re curious about how best to keep your system in top-notch condition, then you’re in luck. Solar panel maintenance isn’t as tricky as it may seem. In fact, it’s as easy as scheduling regular check-ups with local solar experts and cleaning your array a few times a year.

What Does Maintaining Solar Panels Include?

So, what exactly does the term ‘maintenance’ mean when it comes to solar panels? Maintaining solar panels includes everything from cleaning and inspections to electrical testing and monitoring the output of your solar energy system.

Regular cleaning

When you have solar panels installed, it’s important to remember that they may generate less energy when they’re dirty. Dirt buildup is one of the main reasons for lower energy production output and can leave solar panel owners feeling frustrated and scratching their heads. This is especially true if everything else seems to be working properly!

To prevent your system from slowing down and providing your home or business with less energy, you’ll need to clean it regularly (more on this later…).

Visual inspections

If you want to ensure that your system is in tip-top shape, you can also do a visual inspection of your panels to look for cracks, scratches, or discolouration. If you do notice any of these things, then it may be time to roll up your sleeves and get cleaning – or you can call in a team of professionals to do it for you.

Don’t forget to check the mounting system that your system is installed on. If the mounting seems to be corroded or damaged in any way, then you’ll want to call a repair team to check it out.

Electrical hardware checks

Your inverter is what converts the energy (direct current) that your panels generate into an alternating current that you can use in your home or business. If there is a problem with your inverter, then it’s likely that the whole system will stop functioning correctly.

To prevent this, you should monitor the inverter and check for any error codes. Depending on what the code means – which you can find in the user manual for your system – you can either resolve the issue on your own or schedule repairs.

Performance monitoring

Part of owning solar panels is keeping an eye on their power output. The amount of energy they generate will depend on the size of your system, but it should be fairly consistent. Fortunately, modern solar panel systems usually come with some form of monitoring system to make this easier for you.

Checking the output of your solar panels regularly is part of maintaining your system and making sure that it’s operating efficiently. If you notice a dip in its power output, it may indicate a bigger problem with your system that needs to be addressed.

Professional inspections

When you install solar panels, you should discuss a maintenance schedule with your installers. They can advise you on when to have your system checked out, and potentially even schedule the first routine visit before they leave.

This can help to give you peace of mind, knowing that they’ll be able to pick up on any potential problems with your system before they become more significant. They’ll also do a comprehensive check on every component of your system – from the solar PV panels to the inverter and isolators.

How Often Should You Clean Solar Panels?

Ideally, you should clean your solar panels several times a year. But if you don’t have the time or ability to do it yourself, don’t worry! You can schedule regular cleanings either with your installation team or a dedicated cleaning service. These professionals will be able to advise you on how often your specific array of solar panels should be cleaned.

Depending on where you live, you will need to perform a routine maintenance inspection once a year and clean your panels once to twice a year. However, you may need to increase the frequency of the cleaning if you live in a high-pollen area or one with heavy snowfall, since this can also affect the system’s efficiency.

There are several factors that may affect how often you need to clean your panels. They include dirt and debris, bird nesting, weather, and seasonal changes.

To understand more about how this affects your cleaning schedule, let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.

Dirt and debris

There’s no avoiding dust and dirt on your solar panels, but without regular cleaning, it can start to build up pretty quickly. When this happens, you may notice that your system isn’t working as efficiently as usual and is generating less energy.

Dirt can also be a huge problem if you live in an area that is prone to dust storms or has heavy pollution. This will cause the dust to accumulate much faster, which means you’ll need to increase the frequency of the cleanings. Rural areas with more agricultural activity can be more prone to dust buildup.

Bird nesting

Although birds are generally harmless when it comes to your solar panels, they can become real pests when they start to nest under the panelling. This is because they can damage the system’s wiring.

There’s also the small problem of bird droppings. Just like dirt and dust, bird droppings can cause your panels to become dirty much more quickly, which means you’ll need to clean your solar array more often. This is particularly true if you live in an area with a large bird population, or if your garden attracts a lot of birds.

While it can be relaxing to watch them flitter around your yard, it can be incredibly frustrating when they start to interfere with your energy production!

Weather and seasonal changes

During the winter months, you may need to increase the number of cleanings you perform. This is because snow can accumulate on your panels and reduce their efficiency (especially when there’s heavy snowfall).

But there is some good news. If you live in an area where it rains more frequently, some natural cleaning occurs – less manual cleaning for you to do!

In the dry summer months or during droughts, you’ll need to keep an eye on how dirty your panels are. This is usually when you can expect a lot of dust to build up on your solar array. Additionally, the heat from the sun can cause the dirt to become stuck to the panels, making them harder to clean. So, if you want squeaky-clean solar panels, this may be a good time to call in professional cleaners.

Spring and fall can be just as tricky to navigate when it comes to cleaning your panels. This is because there is naturally more pollen, leaves, and other debris that can settle on them.

Why Is Solar Panel Maintenance Important?

Maintaining solar panels is incredibly important for making sure they operate at peak efficiency and continue to produce reliable, clean energy for your home or business.

Proper maintenance not only boosts energy production but also extends the lifespan of solar panels and addresses potential issues before they become serious.

Better energy production

Regular solar panel maintenance ensures that your system is free from dirt, debris, and any obstructions that could affect how much energy it’s putting out. This is also true for damage to your system, which may not always be obvious or visible when you’re inspecting it visually.

So, cleaning solar panels and scheduling regular maintenance checks and potential repairs can help it maintain its performance.

Prolongs the lifespan of your solar panel system

Installing solar panels can be costly – so of course you’re going to want to take care of your new system to ensure it lasts. Doing this will also help you to get a return on your investment more quickly.

Taking care of your solar panels can significantly extend their lifespan. Generally, most solar panels last around 25 to 30 years with proper maintenance and care.

Routine inspections and regular maintenance can help to identify potential issues before they affect your solar system, and can resolve more minor problems before they escalate. This will ensure that your system lasts for the full 25 to 30 years (or even longer when you have great solar panel installers who use high-quality materials!).

Detection and prevention of solar panel issues

By scheduling yearly maintenance and routine checks, you can pick up on potential issues like cracks, wiring issues, or inverter faults. By addressing these issues quickly and efficiently, you can prevent more significant (and more expensive) repairs in the future.

When you schedule regular checks, you can also make sure that all the necessary components are functioning correctly and safely, giving you peace of mind.

Contact Eco Happy For All Your Solar Panel Needs

If you need expert advice or guidance on solar panel maintenance, then be sure to contact Eco Happy today. Our team of solar energy professionals is committed to keeping your system running optimally to lower your energy bills and your carbon footprint.


How long do solar panels typically last?

Solar panels are specifically designed to be long-lasting investments, typically functioning for around 25 to 30 years. However, there are some factors that can affect their lifespan.

One of the most important factors is the quality of the materials that your installers used when the installation was done. Low-quality materials will usually reduce the life expectancy of your system, so it’s important to choose expert installers like our professionals at Eco Happy.

Additionally, without regular cleaning and maintenance, your system may not last as long. That is why it’s so important to schedule cleanings and check-ups.

How do I know if my solar PV system needs cleaning if I can’t access my roof?

If you can’t access the roof of your home or business, then you won’t be able to do a visual inspection of your panels. But don’t worry! There is another way to assess whether it’s time to clean your solar array.

All you need to do is monitor the energy output of your system. If it’s starting to dip, then it means that there is potentially a dirt build-up or other problem with your panels. That’s where professional cleaners or solar experts come in. They can check on your system and advise you on how to restore its power output – whether it’s through cleaning or solar panel repairs.

Are there any special maintenance requirements for ground-mounted solar panels?

While ground-mounted solar panels generally have the same maintenance schedule and routine as roof-mounted panels, they tend to become dirty much faster than roof panels. As a result, you may have to clean them more frequently or have a dedicated cleaning team do it for you on a regular basis.

Rather than only cleaning these panels one to four times a year, it may be necessary to clean them every one to two months.

Final Thoughts

It’s incredibly easy to maintain solar panels – as long as you know how to. With this guide, you’ll be able to keep your solar panel system in immaculate condition all year round. In fact, you can even create an individual maintenance schedule that suits the needs of your home or business to keep the power on and everything running smoothly.

James Elston

James Elston

Boiler Expert

James Elston is the top boiler replacement and heating expert at Eco Happy. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry, focusing on Gas Safe boiler installations and offering home-heating and energy-saving solutions to homeowners across the UK. From sourcing the most energy-efficient combi boiler to providing specialist heating advice, James ensures that Eco Happy maintains the highest standards and best customer service.

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