You’ve heard the hype and done your due diligence – now you’re ready to buy solar panels for your home. In your excitement, you rush to tell your neighbor all about your big decision, but then he drops a bombshell on your plan. “Those things aren’t worth all the hassle,” he says. “You’re constantly having to clean the panels and replace batteries – it’s just not worth it.”
You don’t remember reading anything about maintenance or batteries during your initial research, but your gut tells you to have the solar consultation anyways. Fortunately, for you the solar representative puts your mind at ease and dispels one of the most common solar myths out there – that solar panels somehow require extensive maintenance.
It simply isn’t true, at least not for the 99% of solar power systems out there that are what is known as ‘grid-tied’ systems. The only time you’d need the kind of battery system your neighbor was talking about is if you’re ‘living off the grid’ perhaps in rural Montana or deep in the Mountains of Colorado where an electricity grid isn’t readily available.
If you’re living in Houston,Texas for example, you’re more than likely going to be connecting your solar panels to the grid and reaping the financial benefits of net metering as well as the energy storage benefits. Think of the grid as a big battery that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on. It’s also maintained by trained professionals year round, so you don’t have to do anything more than let the panels soak up solar energy and save you money in the process.
As far as the cleaning of the panels is concerned, it certainly doesn’t hurt to give them a good hosing down every few months, but it isn’t a requirement. Most panels are designed to stay relatively clean as long as they’re exposed to a little rain now and again.
If you live in a particularly dusty area or the local birds just really hate renewable energy devices, then you might consider more periodic cleaning. The more debris or gunk that lives on your solar panels, the less energy they’ll be able to produce from limited sunlight.
Other than that there’s no maintenance required for residential solar panels. There are no moving parts involved in the system, and most modules come with a 30+-year expected lifespan.