How Much Does It Cost to Maintain Solar Panels?
You’ve done your research and have spoken to several people who power their homes with solar panels. You know that installing solar panels can help to reduce your consumption of electricity (and even eliminate it), which is not only good for the environment, but it’s good for your pocket, too. You’ve also gotten some estimates for installing a solar panel system; however, before you decide to move forward and have a system installed, there’s just one more thing you want to know: how much will it cost to maintain your solar panels?
While it’s impossible to give an exact amount because the cost of anything varies from location to location, we can certainly give you a general idea of how much you can expect to spend on maintaining your solar system.
Below, we offer a general guideline for solar system maintenance costs.
How Much Maintenance Does a Solar System Require?
To understand how much it will cost to maintain your solar panels, you first need to understand what type of maintenance they need.
Generally speaking, solar panels require very little maintenance; however, with that said, they do need a bit of maintenance to ensure that they are working properly. What kind of maintenance are we talking about? Cleaning and general inspections to make sure that everything is working properly. That’s about it! Compared to other systems in your home, a solar panel system will probably need the least maintenance.
But how much will it cost to have this maintenance done? Let’s take a look.
Cost of Cleaning
Since solar panels sit on your home’s roof, they can get pretty dirty. Leaves, pollen, twigs, dirt, snow, and other debris can pile up on top of them – these things can accumulate rather quickly. For that reason, cleaning them at least once a month is recommended.
How much will cleanings cost? – It depends on how you plan on going about cleaning them. You can hire a professional, which is the easiest option. On average, the cost of professional cleaning is about $3 to $10 for each panel.
The size, the number of panels, and the design of your roof also factor into the costs. Typically, the larger the panels are, and the more complex your roof is, the more it will cost to clean the panels. Other factors that can impact the price of a professional cleaning include the amount of debris on the panels and how close you are to the contractor. The cost will be higher if a lot of debris needs to be removed. Additionally, your bill may be higher if the cleaning contractor is further away from your home.
You can also opt to clean the panels yourself. There are several ways you can do this. You can purchase a water-fed pole, which, as the name suggests, is a system that shoots water out of a long pole and onto your solar panels. Other options include using a water-fed brush (which is similar to a water-fed pole but has a brush attached to the end, and generally, they aren’t as long as the poles), or you can use good old soap and water (the soap that is specifically designed for solar panels, of course). A water-fed pole is usually the most expensive self-cleaning system; water-fed brushes are more economical, and soap is the least expensive. However, a water-fed pole is the best option if you’re going for convenience.
If you do decide to clean your panels yourself, make sure that you take the necessary precautions to avoid damaging them. Using too much pressure or a hard-bristled brush could impact their efficiency, and you may have to install a new panel – or a completely new system.
Cost of an Inspection
You should have your solar panels inspected every year. During an inspection, the entire system will be checked to ensure it is working properly. Any issues will be spotted and can be repaired before they become major problems.
Common issues include sun damage, corrosion, broken panels, loose wiring, and loose bolts.
While you can perform an inspection independently, having a professional inspection is recommended. Professionals have the training and experience necessary to spot issues and know what repairs may be needed.
The cost of a professional inspection will vary. Your location, the size of your solar panel system, the design of your roof, and several other factors will affect the price. However, generally speaking, the average cost of an inspection is about $150. Considering the type of problems that an inspection can help you avoid and the amount of money they can help you save, the cost is definitely worth your while.