Solar panel maintenance: Are you doing enough?

You are doing your bit for the environment – and energy bills – and you’ve installed solar panels. But did you know they are not set and forget?

All solar panels will need some maintenance and cleaning. Not surprisingly, being out in all weather conditions means they take a bit of a beating, so like any large appliance regular servicing is a must.

The Clean Energy Council advises that you should service your solar panels every other year and, naturally, if you notice they aren’t working or working as well as they should, call a technician immediately.

Ideally, your retailer should provide the support you need, but the following are some problems that may occur.

Clean and green

Your panels won’t work at their best if they are dirty. Many will self clean through rainfall if at an angle greater than 10 per cent, but many will need to be manually cleaned to remove bird droppings, moss and just good old-fashioned dirt.

Unless you have the right harnessing and equipment, this is one best left to the professionals.

Giving shade

Maybe you put your panels in a few years ago, but since then the landscape has changed. If you notice your panels are now in the shade due to growing foliage, it’s time to get out the pruning saw. Once again, if it’s up high, it will probably pay to get any trees professionally trimmed.

Too hot

Solar panels don’t work at their best on very hot days, but if you find they are underperforming even on milder days your inverter could be overheating. Call in a technician to check it out for a once-over.

If it’s mounted in a sunny position you may have to consider some mechanism to put it into shade such as an awning.

So you’ve gone through all the easy fixes, but it’s also good to call the experts in. What should you expect? 

General inspection

Your installer should offer an inspection service or you can go through a company or tradesperson who only does inspections and maintenance.

They will be able to check all the electrical connections and panel mounting and all the ‘techy’ stuff that should be left up to the experts.

This should only be carried out by a licensed A-grade electrician. Ask for their credentials, and it’s all the better if they are accredited by the Clean Energy Council.

If you are happy with their work and the service, it might be a good idea to engage them on a regular scheduled service.

The Clean Energy Council recommends you always ensure there is a written report about what was carried out during the service.

And check the small print. Installers may be particular about which companies can service their product and you may void your warranty if you engage another contractor.

Do you have solar panels? Do you have them cleaned regularly? Why not share your tips in the comments section below?

Also read: How to maximise savings from your solar system

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


  1. I live in the wet tropics of FNQ and although my solar panels are on about a 20 degree slope and are supposed to be self cleaning, they get mouldy every wet season. It’s a dark reddish growth that even heavy rain will not shift.
    Myself and my son need to climb up to scrub them at least once a year. I use a very long handled brush made for cleaning swimming pools. He holds the hose on them. It takes a couple of hours to get all 24 of them clean but if left dirty power output falls by around 50%.
    Apart from that I have had no issues with my solar after seven years of use and am way in front financially.

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