If you are thinking about investing in a photovoltaic (PV) solar power system, you may be wondering how much maintenance is required. The short answer is: not a lot.

How Tough Are Solar Panels?

Modern solar power systems are built to last, and breakage and malfunctions are uncommon. Solar panels have no moving parts, and they’re designed to withstand all sorts of weather, including hail, rain, and snow. Unless a tree limb or something else hard and heavy falls on them, chances are they’ll just keep working as long as you own them.

Get More Power by Keeping Solar Panels Clean

The only maintenance solar panels typically require is cleaning, and even that might be required only on occasion. Anything that blocks the sun’s rays will reduce the amount of electricity your panels produce. If you have a grid-tied solar system, this will have an effect on how much you pay monthly for electricity or how much you get back from the power company.

You probably won’t have to worry about cleaning off snow and ice in the winter. Solar panels in cold climates are normally installed at a fairly steep angle, and snow generally slides right off. Your panels will also get hot enough to melt any remaining snow when the sun shines on them. If, however, the snow is sticking and blocking the sun, you can remove it with a long-handled brush.

Most of the time, any dirt that settles on the panels will be washed off by the next rain. What can dirty the panels enough to require cleaning is if dust or leaves settle on the panels when they’re wet, so that they stick after the panels dry. Excessive bird droppings can also be a problem.

But solar panels are easy to clean, even if they’re installed on a roof, as most residential systems are. Special long-handled tools are available with a brush on one side of the head and a scrubber or sponge on the other. Some of the tools attach directly to your water hose; for others, use a high-pressure nozzle on your hose to wet down the panels from the ground, and follow up immediately with the scrubbing tool while the panel is still wet. You can generally skip detergents or glass cleaners, as clean water is usually all you need.

What if a Panel Breaks?

Although solar panels are sturdy and weather resistant, they are not invincible. Physical damage can occur, and even the best-manufactured products may occasionally fail.

Repairs, though, are straightforward for a professional company with experience in PV systems. Unlike a furnace repair, which can mess up your home for days, a solar panel repair or replacement can usually be completed in just hours, with no disruption to the household.

For solar power installations and service in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware tri-state area, contact TerraSol Energies, Inc. in Glen Mills, PA: 888-873-9995.