Solar panels are devices that convert light into electricity. The word “solar” is used to describe the devices, as the strongest source of light comes from the sun. Solar panels are a collection of tiny molecules, solar cells, that are spread over a large surface and work together to provide energy to a source. Solar panels can save a homeowner a great deal of money in energy costs over the course of several years. But as with anything, there are maintenance costs involved.
Solar Panel Maintenance
Generally speaking, solar panels require very little maintenance if cared for properly. The most common lifespan for solar panels is twenty to twenty-five years. It is recommended that you clean your solar panels between two to four times per year. If that is not feasible, it is highly encouraged to have them cleaned at least once a year. Besides cleaning, an annual inspection is also recommended.
Cleaning your solar panels will rid the panels of any dirt, dust, oil, debris and anything else that would obstruct the sun’s view. Freshly cleaned solar panels will allow the sun to shine brightly on the panel, hence optimizing its energy creating power. One also needs to watch out for other natural elements such as snow and leaves that can also provide a hindrance in electricity creating power.
Costs Of Maintenance
The cost of maintenance for solar panels is pretty fair, considering the amount of money that you will be saving in electricity. Professional solar panel maintenance can cost on average, between $2,000 and 3,000. The average costs for professional maintenance and cleaning are as follows:
- Annual inspection $150 (average) but can go as high as $350
- Solar Panel Repair $650
- Cleaning: $3 – $10 per panel (Total between $120 – $160)
Do It Yourself
There are DIY options if you are up for the task, but having a professional maintain your panels may be more cost effective. When it comes to cleaning your own solar panels, a water-fed window washing system from the ground is recommended. A breakdown of the costs include $500 – $5,000 for the water-fed pole, $80 – $200 for the water-fed brushes, and $30 – $50 for the soap.
The costs can rise even higher depending on your preferred tools such as a longer pole, pressurized hose, or an adjustable neck for ease of cleaning. If you decide to use a pressurized hose do so with care, as the pressure can cause scaling to the panel. You would also run the risk of getting soap or water lodged within the panels, resulting in their functions being compromised. However, self-cleaning is certainly possible with the right precautions. One important tip is to remember that the prime time to wash your solar panels is either early in the morning or on a cloudy day. One should never wash the panels on a sunny day, as you would run the risk of either burning yourself, or the panels drying too fast resulting in the soap and/or water leaving behind a film or residue of some sort.
Are Solar Panels The Right Fit For You?
Absolutely! One thing that cannot be argued is that solar panels save a ton of money on your electricity bill throughout the years. The return on the money that you pay for purchasing the panels and getting them installed will most likely be realized within the first year. For most homeowners, the annual cost for maintaining the solar panels are equivalent to one or two months’ worth of electricity bills without the presence of solar panels. If you are all about saving money, consider solar panels as an investment.