Myth: Solar panels require constant maintenance.
The Fallacy Explained:
According to Pure Energies, “Solar panels have no moving parts and do not require regular maintenance. Typically the recommendation is to hose off the panels once a year or so, but many panel owners actually never clean the panels and instead rely on the rain to do the job for them. Typically this will cause only a very slight loss in efficiency (about 5 percent) over the lifetime of the panels. Of course, if any large debris falls onto the panels, it’s recommended you remove it. These days, solar systems come with monitoring software that allows you to spot any drops in power generation right away. Often your installer is linked into your monitoring system too, so sometimes they’ll even be aware of drops in a panel’s power output before you are!”
Southface also explains, “Maintenance is not really an issue for grid-connected PV systems that do not incorporate batteries. A good installer will typically not need to return to do maintenance on this type of system. However, residential systems that incorporate batteries do require regular maintenance on the battery banks. The added cost of the batteries and maintenance should be factored into your decision about what type of PV system best suits your needs.”
Caveat: While solar systems are nearly maintenance-free during their warrantied lifetimes (typically 25 years or more), a maturing market of older panels will necessarily involve additional maintenance & replacement. See “Digging Deeper,” below.