Most solar panels feature smart technology with automatic monitoring to alert you of low efficiency and repair needs, but this doesn’t mean you get to sit back entirely. Experts advise having a certified roofer perform annual maintenance. You can expect to spend between $400 to $740, or a national average of $570, for annual solar panel maintenance.
In this pricing guide, we’ll cover:
- Average Costs
- What is Solar Panel Maintenance?
- Cleaning Cost Estimator By Number of Panels
- Inspection Cost Estimator
- Other Factors That Affect Cost
- Related Services
- Pro Cost vs. DIY Cost
- Cost By Location
Average Costs of Solar Panel Maintenance
|National Average Cost||$570|
|Typical Price Range||$400 – $740|
|Extreme Low-End Cost||$150|
|Extreme High-End Cost||$1,125|
The cost of regular maintenance for your photovoltaic (PV) system falls between $400 to $740 per year, but many factors can add additional costs. Having a certified roofer inspect your roof can cost as little as $150 if you are brave enough to tackle the cleaning yourself, while an annual inspection that discovers repair needs could set you back as much as $1,125, depending on the repairs.
What is Solar Panel Maintenance?
Solar panels are a long-term investment that will last 25 years when properly installed and maintained. Most solar companies recommend scheduling an annual inspection and professional biannual cleanings. If your roofing contractor discovers related repairs during your inspection, it is important to have them completed as soon as possible to maximize your system’s efficiency.
Solar Panel Cleaning Cost Estimator By Number of Panels
Every home’s solar energy system is unique depending on the number of kilowatt-hours of energy production needed to cover household energy needs. The average U.S. home has 20 to 25 solar panels in its array, the equivalent of a 9-kW system. Each solar panel is approximately 65 inches by 39 inches and weighs 40 pounds.
Your home’s solar panel cleaning needs vary depending on your location and solar panel manufacturer. Experts advise having your solar panels professionally cleaned twice per year, and cleaning is a condition of many solar panel warranty terms.
If you live in a temperate climate with more rainfall, you may need to clean less frequently than if you lived in a drier, dustier area. Dirty solar panels lose up to 30% of their output efficiency. The typical cost of having solar panels professionally cleaned ranges from $260 to $500 for a standard 20-panel array, or around $13 to $25 per panel.
Note that professional roof cleaning companies often set a job minimum threshold of around $100. Overall, the following factors affect your total cost:
- Height of your home
- Frequency of your regular maintenance schedule
- Size of your array
- Warranty or maintenance agreement
Take a look at the common per-panel cost for popular arrays:
|Number of Panels||Average Cleaning Cost*includes labor|
|10 panels||$130 – $250|
|15 panels||$195 – $375|
|20 panels||$260 – $500|
|25 panels||$325 – $625|
Solar Panel Inspection Cost Estimator
Roofing companies suggest having your solar system inspected once per year to maintain optimal power output and keep your warranty in good standing. You can expect to spend between $150 to $325 for a thorough solar panel inspection.
Your inspector will check all components, including wiring, panels, mounting racks, critical load panels, and inverters. They will look for corrosion, loose wires, cracked glass, loose bolts or screws, and more. Additionally, they will advise on necessary tree trimming, so your solar energy system can operate at peak performance.
While most inspections return nothing, it is always important to perform repairs as quickly as possible.
Other Factors That Affect Cost
Solar panel systems require little maintenance, and smart systems alert you to potential issues. Consider these additional factors affecting your overall solar panel maintenance costs, including your location, labor costs, solar repairs, and more.
Solar Panel Repairs
Most solar panel systems feature smart monitoring to alert you when efficiency drops, signaling it is time for a repair. However, some repairs can surprise you during your annual inspection.
Cracked glass and loose wires are the cheapest and most common repairs, while an inverter replacement and installation costs can set you back up to $2,300. Most solar panels still operate at reduced efficiency with cracked glass. Taking into consideration the severity of your repair needs, expect solar panel repair costs to run you from $200 to $1,800.
Here’s a look at some of the most common repairs:
Solar Panel Removal
Some repairs require the removal of one or more solar panels. Most homeowners pay between $2,820 to $5,920, or a national average of $4,370, for removal and solar panel installation.
Labor Cost to Maintain Solar Panels
A skilled contractor inspects and cleans your system for optimal performance. You should be prepared to spend around 60% of your total project costs on labor, with the average cost of solar panel maintenance falling between $100 to $150 per hour.
Some repairs require an electrician to disconnect and repair power supplies, load panels, meters, and inverters. Typically, electricians cost between $45 to $135 per hour.
Overall, labor rates depend on your location, the experience of the roofing contractor and electrician, the complexity of your roof, and other work necessary to complete your job.
|Solar maintenance per hr.||$100 – $150|
|Electrician per hr.||$45 to $135|
Sometimes solar panel maintenance can lead to the discovery of larger repair issues. Consider these other related roofing services.
Roof repairs vary drastically depending on many factors. These roof repair costs typically range from $348 to $1,186, or a national average of $767. The biggest factor affecting your roof costs is your roof’s material. Asphalt shingles and membrane roofing are much cheaper to repair than expensive slate or copper roofs.
Here’s a look at some of the most common roofing materials and their average repair costs.
|Roofing Material||Average Repair Costs Per Square Foot|
*includes labor and materials
|Asphalt shingles||$4 – $8|
|Clay or concrete tiles||$5 – $15|
|Membrane roofing||$3 – $7|
|Metal||$6 – $20|
|Slate||$5 – $15|
|Wood shingles or shakes||$8 – $14|
If you didn’t replace your roofing materials when installing your new solar power array, you may need to replace your roofing shingles before the lifespan of your solar system is up. Re-roofing ranges from $5,706 to $11,185, for a national average of $8,446, depending on new materials, roof size, and the cost of removing your existing materials.
Here’s a look at the average cost of replacing popular roofing materials.
|Roofing Material||Average Replacement Costs Per Square Foot*includes labor and material|
|Asphalt shingles||$2 – $5|
|Clay or concrete tiles||$10 – $23|
|Metal||$6 – $13|
|Slate||$12 – $28|
|Wood shingles or shakes||$7 – $10|
Solar Panel Maintenance Benefits
The best solar panels cover nearly 100% of your energy demands, lowering your utility bills and reducing your grid reliance with the help of a solar battery. While upfront costs are high, solar system costs over time are relatively low, and regularly maintaining and cleaning your solar system provides many benefits, including:
- Improved efficiency
- Longer lifespan
- Increased curb appeal
- Good-standing warranty
Pro Cost vs. DIY Cost
Professional solar panel maintenance is worth the cost even if annual inspections and cleaning aren’t part of your warranty agreement. A solar professional can detect repair issues more easily and usually before they cause major problems.
It is always advisable to seek the help of a trained professional if you do not feel comfortable performing your own home maintenance or repairs. There are several DIY solar panel cleaning tools you can invest in to lower your annual maintenance costs.
|DIY Equipment||Average Cost|
|Automatic cleaning system||$2,250|
|Autonomous cleaning robot||$3,000|
|Water-fed pole||$50 – $250|
|Water-fed brush||$30 – $150|
|Soap||$30 – $75|
You have a few options for DIY cleaning your home solar panel system. Foremost, you should always wash your solar panel system from the ground. The cheapest method is to use a long water-fed pole and brush system. The inexpensive method is an easy-to-use alternative to professional roof cleaning, and with the right soap, you can remove buildup without leaving residue.
Automatic Cleaning System
For a more expensive solution, you can opt to install an automatic cleaning system. These systems cost approximately $2,250. The roof sprinkler system rinses your roof at your desired frequency, eliminating cleaning needs almost entirely.
Autonomous Cleaning Robot
Solar panel cleaning robots will set you back around $3,000. These autonomous systems wash your panels daily without water, making them a conservationist’s best friend. Most robots run on solar energy and are becoming increasingly popular in dry climates.
Cost of Solar Panel Maintenance By Location
Solar panel maintenance costs vary widely depending on location, cost of living, and the complexity of your roof. There is no way to know exactly what your cleaning or repairs will cost without receiving free quotes from professional solar companies in your area.
FAQ About Solar Panel Maintenance
No. A soft brush, water, and soap are all you need to clean your solar panels. A pressure washer can damage your solar system, leading to moisture damage or leaks.
Removing snow is unnecessary in most situations. The heat generated by your solar system will melt the snow while its angle allows the snow to slide down its surface. For northern climates with heavy annual snowfall, homeowners can invest in a snow rake designed specifically for solar panels. These cost between $35 to $150.
Most PV systems maintain maximum output and efficiency for 25 years. Longevity depends on the brand of solar panel, and providers offer their own warranties.
Be sure to check with your solar panel manufacturer to understand your warranty.
Homeowners can only earn the government tax credit for new solar installations once per home. If you claimed the tax credit with your previous installation, you will not be eligible to claim the incentive again. However, if your solar panel installation is part of a second residence or new home, you are eligible to claim the credit. The solar tax credit program runs from 2023 to 2035.
Find a Solar Panel Maintenance Pro Near You
Solar panel maintenance provides peace of mind, saving you thousands of dollars in potential repair bills by spotting minor problems early. Going solar is a large investment with enormous benefits like a lower electricity bill. It is only smart to protect your investment by performing an annual inspection and cleaning. You can expect to spend between $400 to $740, or a national average of $570, for annual solar panel maintenance.
If you are ready to have an expert check out your system, RoofGnome connects you to the best solar panel maintenance pros in your area to learn about your options.
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