Enhance the lifespan & efficiency of PV solar Proper maintenance & cleaning is the key

By: Miles Hingston


In general, solar panels last approximately 25-30 years. After its estimated lifespan, the panels would still produce energy, however, the production will decline by a significant amount.Maintenance of solar panels would aid to avoid any dysfunction in the solar system and also would assist for a longer lifespan with higher efficiency and safety.

Table of Contents

“Like every other system, solar panels too need maintenance & cleaning”

What is solar?

Solar panel cleaning and servicing Maintenance refers to technical maintenance conducted by professionals. 

 If a sharp drop in your solar system’s output is noticed, it indicates a technical issue and the system should be serviced by a professional. 

 Even if there is no specific drop in the energy generated, it’s safe to run a service to ensure that the system (panels/ cables including wiring & electrical/ output /meter/inverter/ battery) is in order. 

 A solar inverter is one of the most important components of a solar system. A hired professional is to clean the air inlets allowing the device to cool down adequately. 

They will also check if the various displays including the indicator lights are in working order during the service. The usual lifespan of an inverter is estimated as 10 years. Timely maintenance will avoid decreased productivity.

Some indicators on an inverter that homeowners should be aware about

“It is advisable to carry out maintenance of a solar system once a year”.

Maintenance tips:

A) Solar panels should be kept away from shade and under direct sunlight in the right place and direction

B) Keep track of the performance, preferably day-to-day of your solar panels. It will aid to bring notice to any abnormal / lower performance. 

Note the days where there is bad weather, due to which the performance of your solar panels may go lower. Discuss with your solar system specialist, who will advise you on the best way to monitor its performance and output. 

C) Ensure that the solar inverter indicates “green lights” at all times. If not, consult your solar system specialist as soon as possible. 

D) Pay attention to the wall-mounted display which is installed along with the solar system. This too would show details on servicing the solar panels.

Cost of maintenance:

The cost for servicing, inspection, and maintenance may vary on the type of solar panels, the number of kW, and the number of panels. 

 The cost may also differ based on your location, and also on the location of the solar panels. While easy accessibility would cost less, a more difficult one would cost a higher amount. 

 The cost would be approximately between AUD 300 for a basic inspection and can go up to AUD 3,000 for a detailed inspection.

What is cleaning a solar system?

 If your solar system’s generated output is relatively low to the energy it generated at the time it was installed, it’s probably because of unclean solar panels.  For the solar panels to generate energy at its optimal level, the panels should be clean and free of debris (dust/ animal droppings, fallen leaves, etc;). The panels should be directly targeted towards sunlight.

Cleaning tips:

workers and solar panels

A) It’s best to attempt cleaning solar panels when they are wet/moist. Any debris attached to the panels would be easy to wipe away. 

There are solar panel cleaning kits available in the market making cleaning easier, however, it is advisable to hire the help of a professional to do the cleaning for you. It may seem like an easy task, but never forget that professionals in the industry know what they are doing and are well trained for the task following proper solar panel maintenance standards

B) Make sure never to use pressure washers to clean your solar panels. The high pressure might scratch and damage the panels. 

C) Only use non-abrasive soap and sponge or a soft cloth when cleaning solar panels. Even just water without any soap would suffice. 

D) Ensure to clean your solar panels at least every month. 

E) If you are planning to clean the panels all by yourself, ensure to take proper care & precautions. Put safety first. However, the fact remains that solar panel cleaning should be carried out by a professional.

Cost of cleaning:

The cost for cleaning may vary depending on the type of solar panels, the number of kW, the age of the panels, and the number of panels. External factors such as the location of solar panels and access would also be considered. 

 The cost would be approximately between AUD 4 and AUD 12 per panel.

The difference made by proper maintenance and cleaning your solar panels

As you must be aware, a solar system comes with countless benefits. Deciding to go solar generally means that you are willing to do your part to save the planet. In addition, the solar system is a renewable energy source that will lessen your dependency on natural gas & coal. 

 Not only would you have a reliable energy source, but the use of solar batteries would also aid you to store the energy. allowing you to use it at the time of need. Most of all solar panels would greatly assist in bringing-down electricity bill costs. 

 To continue to enjoy these benefits, you need to ensure that the solar system is properly serviced & maintained, and cleaned. 

 Studies have proven that cleaning solar panels is the best way to enhance the generated and produced energy. 

 Solar panels use a glass coating which helps protect the solar cells. When dust and other particles settle on the glass, the amount of sunlight reaching the cells would naturally decrease, thereby gradually bringing down the efficiency. 

 Cleaning the glass surfaces regularly would help to keep the glass clean. It’s a fact that when solar panels are not cleaned, it can cause to decrease its production capacity and efficiency levels by as much as 30%. 

 “Timely servicing & maintenance and cleaning of the solar system will definitely help you save a lot of energy and money”. 

 Hire professional help to conduct the maintenance and cleaning with a higher level of accuracy.

Common issues which can be seen with solar systems

Internal corrosion and snail trails – These issues occur when moisture gets into the panels.

Electrical issues – Faulty wiring and issues that may be caused by other components

Solar Inverter Faults – This relates to various issues such as improper loading, battery not being able to charge, high reading on battery voltage, etc;

Micro-Cracks – These cracks can cause water ingress to the panels and temperature changes

Hot Spots – Being one of the most common issues, the panels get overheated or the circuits may get overloaded.

Potential Induced Degradation – Generally known as the PID effect, affects the potential of the modules concerning the ground and affects the power of the module by reducing it consistently over time.

Debris and animal droppings/ scratches – While dust & other particles may lie on the surfaces of the panels can block the direct sunlight from entering the panels, bird & other animal droppings altogether raises another issue. The birds/ animals may create their habitats on the roof and scratch the glass coating panels.

Wrapping up:

To enjoy the many benefits of solar, the solar system should be fully functional. Hence ensure that the periodical services and maintenance are conducted and the solar panels are cleaned properly by professionals. 

We at Ballarat Solar Company have a team of specialists who will be at your service at your request. 

For any queries or inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us

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Miles Hingston

Miles Hingston

Owner of Ballarat Solar Company and MJ Electrician Ballarat

I have been working in the electrical business for over 20 years, and have 5 years of experience in the solar industry. Ballarat born and bred, I am a very active contributor to the community and I’m also a member of Alfredton Rotary club.We look forward to assisting you with all your solar needs. So feel free to give us a call anytime.

Michelle Rigg
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This is the 2nd house I've put solar on. I shopped around enormously and Miles from Ballarat Solar was outstanding. They are a local company, nothing was ever too much trouble and he always answered any questions I had. Josh and the crew he has working for him are very professional, knowledgeable and helpful too, especially with the app. At the time of installation I couldn't feed back in to the grid but the moment he heard that I might be able to, he offered the assistance I needed to enable this to occur, and it was done in a very timely manner. I highly recommend Miles, Josh and the team at Ballarat Solar Company and will be referring them to my family and friends for any future solar needs. :)
Tony Cawood
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The Bacchus Marsh Lions Club chose Ballarat Solar Company to install a Solar System comprising of a 15kW Inverter and 57 Solar Panels on the local Scout & Guide Hall. The company was very professional to deal with. From quote to installation was carried out on time and the workmanship was first class. The certificate of Safety was issued without a problem. I would not hesitate in recommending this company for future installations.
Rob McDougall
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Ballarat Solar Company were great to deal with, attentive to our requirements and recommended a great system that suited our needs. Nothing was too much trouble, their workers were very polite, worked hard and even cleaned up after themselves.
Robert Floky
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My dealings with the Ballarat Solar Company was an excellent experience with from start to finish. The service was professionally provided and completed with a quick and smooth turn around and no issues. I would not hesitate to recommend them to all.
Dale Whytcross
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Ballarat Solar Company are a very professional company, they came as promised, the workmanship was first class and quote was very competitive. I would recommend Ballarat Solar Company.

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