Quick Guide – Solar Panel Repair and Maintenance

Solar panels provide huge cost savings, but they will lose photovoltaic efficiency over time and it's absolutely important to maintain them to your best ability.

You can hire professionals to do it or do it yourself.

In this quick guide, let's go over some basic solar panel repair and maintenance tips that will get the most performance out of your investment.

What Kind of Maintenance Do Solar Panels Need?

Long story short you need these basic things

  • Annual inspection
  • Annual cleaning
  • Repairs & replacement of broken parts

Rooftop solar energy system can cost anywhere between $15,000 - $25,000, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy survey. Paying to replace a damaged system could be a big financial burden for some homeowners. 

If you can spot a problem and fix it right away without pushing it off, the more money you can save and avoid a costly repair out of pocket.

How Can I Tell If Maintenance Is Required?

The easiest way to spot any efficiency loss where you can't see with your naked eyes is using a solar panel monitoring system. It will tell you everything and alert you if there is a problem to keep you informed on the solar system status.

The other way is to visually inspect the rooftop to ensure the panels are clean. You can get up on the ladder or use an aerial drone.

If you live in a particular sandy area or there is debris on your system, routine solar panel cleaning can help improve your annual electricity production. 

How Much Will Solar Panel Maintenance Cost?

calculating costs

Please get a quote from your local service to get an accurate rate.

An annual inspection is recommended - typically costs $150 by a professional.

If cleaning is needed, generally it's about less than $10 per panel and your local services may charge different rates based on a several factors listed below:

Please get a quote from your local service to get an accurate rate.

Location

If the distance between the service available to your location is too far, that could be a reason for the serviceman to charge more due to travel cost especially in remote areas.

Type Of Service

Serviceman will calculate the cost to maintain rooftop solar panels based on the difficulties, time labor cost, safety consideration and type of service

Coverage Area

A large solar panel coverage area will cost more to maintain them all.

Surface Condition

Solar panels do attract residue build up on the glass from various weather conditions and the surroundings. Sand, dirt and droplets will affect the power efficiency over time if they are not cleaned off the surface. 

This will require additional time and supplies, possibly resulting in an additional charge.

How Much Will Solar Panel Repair and Replacement Cost?

Fixing broken glass, reconfiguration, replacing cracked panels are the most common repairs.

The cost of solar panel repair and replacement will vary based on the type of service requested. Roughly $100 to $400 for low profile repair, up to $3000 for high profile repair such as reconfiguring parallel and series wiring

The average labor cost is about $100 / hr. 

Please get a quote from your local service to get an accurate rate.

Fire Hazard, or Broken Glass

solar panel burn damage

Glass replacement costs pretty much the price tag of the solar panel you have. It's highly recommended to just get a new one instead of trying to "DIY duck tape" things back to together the way it was. Typically it cost about $20 + labor to fix small cracks via soldering and epoxy.

Solar PV inverter Replacement Cost

Replacing a solar inverter or reconfiguring connections costs about $2000 to $3000 including the cost of labor and based on work complexity.

Corrosion

wash solar panel

Corrosion and rust clean up is a priority, if not taken care of it will cause efficiency degrade.

It can be remedied by gently wiping away corrosion from the terminals with a brush cost less than $10 DIY.

If you hire someone, please expect around $150.

Loose Wiring

Fixing a loose connect will cost the base rate of about $100 to have a solar panel technician to come out and inspect and tighten your connections. It won’t take the full hour and rates varies from service to service

Hail Damage

solar panel hail damage

While hail damage is rare, it can happen. The most likely result of hail damage will be cracked or broken glass. This will be repaired as described above.

Battery Replacement

Most 12V deep cycle batteries last about 5-15 years at optimal efficiency. The replacement cost average around $500 up to $3000 based on the type of batteries you get.

If lowest cost is the highest priority, flooded lead acid batteries are for you.

If long service life is a priority, deep cycle LFP lithium batteries are the best.

Solar Panel Replacement

installing solar panels on roof

This cost will depend on the price of your specific panel. This isn’t something you will need to do often, as solar panels can work at optimum efficiency for 25-50 years depending on the panel.


Common FAQ

How Often Should You Wash Your Solar Panels?

While most solar panel manufacturers recommend cleaning your panels twice a year that lead to a 3-5% increase in efficiency.

For practicality, clean every 6 months and clean as much as can if you feel the panels are constantly getting dirty.

Other Available Options Over Paid Service

inspecting solar panels

You can inspect and clean your panel yourself if you have the time or the ability to do so.

If you live a busy lifestyle, hiring a professional is worth every penny while your time is valuable.

aerial drone solar panel inspection

An aerial drone helps out a lot to inspect the rooftop for obvious problems without climbing up the roof, but climbing the room for up close inspection is still needed to inspect rust, small cracks, loose connection and more.

Spray the rooftop using a hose.

Add an automatic rooftop saver sprinkler to clean solar panel and to prevent fire.

Do Solar Panels Work If Covered in Snow?

snow on solar panels

Snow coverage will prevent the solar panel from collect solar energy until they are cleaned.

It will slide off the panel placed at an angle on most house roofs, and the heat on the solar panel will help melt the snow off the surface without you doing any work.

Do I Need to Turn Off Solar Panels to Clean Them?

You do not need to turn your panels off before cleaning. 

Do turn them off for up close repair work that involve

Other Costs

Trimming trees and cutting trees down next to the house for maximum sun exposure can cost anywhere around $100-$1,500.

Roof repair or replacement must be done first before working on the solar panel sitting on top, and it can cost up to $7000 if it's required.

Check out: Best Solar Panels For Home Use

Jeunkong Tai

Recent college graduate from the University of Kansas with an electrical engineering degree and bilingual in Chinese and English. I've learned about solar panels just by being around friends that have them on their home rooftop, and have gained knowledge by helping out on some DIY projects.

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