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How Much Does It Cost to Maintain Your Solar Panels?

Low
$150
Average Cost
$400
High
$1,000
(cleaning and inspection of 10-panel 2 kW system on a one-story home)

Get free estimates from solar energy contractors near you
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How Much Does It Cost to Maintain Your Solar Panels?

Low
$150
Average Cost
$400
High
$1,000
(cleaning and inspection of 10-panel 2 kW system on a one-story home)

Get free estimates from solar energy contractors near you
Here's what happens next
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Solar panel installation is a long-term investment that can serve you well for decades with very minimal maintenance, but that doesn’t mean you can install once and then ignore them. Plan on a yearly inspection and cleaning, and stay cognizant of potential problems such as overhanging trees or storm damage. To ensure that such investments stay in great shape and continue to offer benefits, it is important to have solar panels professionally maintained and cleaned on a regular basis.

The average cost to maintain solar panels ranges from $300-$700, with the average homeowner spending around $400 for cleaning and inspecting a basic 2KW solar PV system on a bungalow-style house.

Solar Panel Maintenance Costs

Solar panel maintenance costs
National average cost$400
Average range$300 - $700
Minimum cost$150
Maximum cost$1,000


Updated: What's new?

Solar Panel Maintenance Cost by Project Range

Low
$150
Cleaning a 10-panel 2kW system
Average Cost
$400
Cleaning and inspection of 10-panel 2 kW system on a one-story home
High
$1,000
Cleaning and inspecting a 3 kW 20-panel system

Solar Panel Cleaning Cost

The average cost to clean and maintain solar panels is $150 to $330. The actual cost of cleaning will depend on a number of factors, including where you live, house height, roof slant, and what type of solar setup you have installed. If you have a 2 kW solar PV system with 10 panels, expect to pay between $150-$330. Cleaning a 20 panel 3kW solar system will cost on average, $500-$750. If you are billed per panel, expect to pay $15-$35 per panel. and some business charge a flat fee.

Benefits of Solar Panel Cleaning

Some benefits of professional solar panel cleaning include:

  • Reduced risk of damaging your solar panels: solar panels are very sensitive and require proper handling when cleaned. A professional solar panel cleaner ensures that minimum risk occurs to the panels during cleaning.
  • Minimal cost: cleaning the system is as important as cleaning and servicing your car, and the price is less in comparison to how much you would spend on replacement or repair if damaged.
  • Information on the condition of your solar panels: while cleaning your solar panels, the professional technician provides you with complete information on the condition of your system. The specialist informs you if anything needs replacing or repairing.
  • No physical stress: climbing onto your rooftop to clean your solar panels can be unsafe and mind-racking. Some risks include electrocution due to live electric wires running over the roof and the threat to your safety due to the inaccessibility of some of the panels mounted on the roof. Only professionals are efficient at climbing onto the roof, cleaning the panels, and climbing back down safely.

Solar panles being cleaded of dust and polen by a professional


Solar Panel Cleaning Process

Cleaning solar panels needs professional involvement due to the complexity of the system. Usually, the owner has a cleaning and maintenance guide for every panel. Contractors follow these instructions and warnings from the manufacturer. For safety reasons, they turn off the power before cleaning.

They prefer cloudy days because sunny weather evaporates the cleaning water and stains the panels. First, they use a soft brush to remove the dust settled on the panels. Then, the professional uses clean water and a sponge using circular motions to clean the panels gently. They usually avoid harsh detergents, chemicals, or abrasive materials like steel wool because they might leave scratches and affect the efficiency of the system.

Professionals sometimes use a water hose in the garden to spray water on the panels. This ensures a uniform cleaning. They clean the panel with a dry and soft cloth to ensure no settling of any minerals that can cause damage to the panels. They turn the power back on when the unit is completely dry.


Find the best solar panel cleaning experts near you

Solar Panel Inspection Cost

The average cost of an annual inspection of your rooftop solar panels is typically $150 to $300. After the inspection, the technician might suggest replacement or repair work if any of the components are broken or not working properly. This could increase the costs up to $750.

A qualified solar maintenance technician inspects your solar panels annually to ensure that your investment is worth it and functions properly. Among other tasks, they focus on:

  • Evaluating overall efficiency and performance using monitoring statistics and onsite records.
  • Carrying out a visual inspection for panel damage, moisture penetration, fractures, and frame corrosion.
  • Inspecting mounting system 1 for fixing points, framework, and module clamps for security and integrity, where accessible.
  • Inspecting cabling for measuring voltage levels and inverters for any damage.
  • Inspecting generation meter to check function and meter display.
  • Inspecting junction 2 boxes for tightness of connections, water accumulation, and integrity of seals.
  • Ensuring correct general operation of inverters, cable connections, and display functionality.
  • Inspecting rigidity and alignment of the framing system.

Solar Panel Repair Cost

A damaged solar panel system can lead to decreased performance, electricity shorts, and even house fires, so you’ll want to have any problems addressed by professionals as soon as possible. These are some of the more common problems found during solar panel inspection, along with the average cost of repair:

Solar Panel Repair Cost

Solar Panel Repair Cost


ProblemAverage cost
Broken glass$20-$400
Obstructing branches$50-$200
Loose wiring$100
Cracked panels$150-$300

Corrosion

$150-$350
Broken inverter$1,000-$2,000
Damaged tiling$2,000-$3,000


  • Obstructing branches: if tree branches obstruct the sun, you’ll need to have them trimmed or removed. Getting a landscaper to do this will cost $50-$200.
  • Loose wiring: if there is loose wiring, a technician will need to cut through the soft silicone to reach the back of the cells, re-solder the cells with bad connections, and replace the soft silicon padding. The average cost for this work is $100 per hour, and fixing loose wiring does normally not take longer than an hour.
  • Cracked panels: if your panels have cracked, you may be able to fix the panels by soldering the edges. If the crack is extensive, you may need to replace the entire cracked section. Repair should cost $150-$300.
  • Broken glass: if the glass is broken, a technician may be able to wrap the panel surface with a transparent laminating film, or fix it with a silicone encapsulant. These repairs can cost anywhere from $20-$400, depending on the severity of the broken glass. Sometimes broken glass does require replacement of the entire panel.
  • Corrosion: if the metal parts on your solar panel have corroded, you will need to have all rusty metal parts replaced. This may cost $150-$350.
  • Broken inverter: if the inverter is not communicating it will have to be replaced. The average cost for replacing the inverter ranges from $1,000-$2,000, with string inverters being much cheaper to replace than micro inverters.
  • Damaged tiling: if your roof tiles have been damaged or become loose, you may need to temporarily remove the solar panels to repair the tile roof. The cost of removal and reinstallation ranges from $2,000-$3,000.

Solar Panel Replacement Cost

Solar panels today cost between $0.70 and $1.50 per watt, on average. Your final cost will depend on how many of your panels need replacement.

Solar Panel Replacement Cost


In the following table, the cost of replacement is compared to the cost of repairing a 2kW system of 10 panels.

Cost of replacementCost of repair
$1,400-$6,000$150-$2,000


The solar panels often last beyond their expected lifespan of 20 years. Expect new and advanced models to last about 50 years. These need replacement only if:

  • They break beyond repair.
  • They are physically damaged by wind, debris, or other factors.
  • The solar panels show inefficiency and declined energy production.
  • Poor racking or bad weather caused damage.

Solar Panel Maintenace Cost Factors

The following factors may influence the costs of professional solar panel maintenace:

  • Location: most solar panel installations are on the rooftop, but others are on the ground or side of the home. Contractors may require additional hours or extra laborers to ensure proper accessibility and safety.
  • Roof pitch: the steeper your roof, the more time and labor required.
  • Size: a larger array of solar panel systems takes more time for inspection and cleaning to ensure peak performance. Also, some contractors charge a minimum fee for very small arrays.
  • Maintenance agreement: some homeowners have the alternative to bundle a cleaning and maintenance agreement when purchasing the system. Bundling lessens the annual fee.
  • Brand: while most solar panels follow the same basic model, a few do require special tools to clean and service.
  • Condition of your panel: regular maintenance requires no more than a cleaning and inspection, but if repairs are needed your bill will be higher.
  • The type of inverter: if your inverter gives out, replacing a microinverter will end up being much more expensive than replacing a string inverter.
  • The surrounding environment: trees positioned near your home are likely to grow to shade your panel, and you are likely to need to pay for tree trimming in order to keep your solar system in working order.

How Can I Tell If My Solar System Needs Maintenance?

If your solar panel is producing electricity at the same rate it did when it was new, you should not be concerned about maintenance. The primary sign of a problem with your solar panel is decreased output. If your electricity use has remained constant and you find yourself purchasing more electricity from the grid, you will want to schedule cleaning and/or inspection and find out what is responsible for the decreased performance.

Your solar system also features a small green monitor light which should always be shining continuously. If this light turns on or begins flashing, your solar system has a problem.


Compare prices from solar panel installers near you

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Sprinkler-based Cleaning Systems

This system consists of nozzles positioned every few solar panels. The sprinkler-based systems have an adjustable frequency and independently programmed rinse and wash cycles. They require no tools, and the panel cleaning happens just by gravity. Once the system is installed and programmed, it does not need any attention except the infrequent refilling of the soap extract and replacing the water filters.

The system is designed to be maintained at a relatively low cost, ensuring that the solar panels are cleaned regularly for optimum solar generation. A one-time installation cost eliminates an ongoing labor cost incurred for manual cleaning of the solar panels. Expect to pay about $2,260 for a sprinkler-based solar cleaning system for around 50 panels.

Cleaning Robots

Solar panel cleaning robots possess the capacity to wash your panels daily, mostly without the use of water. These usually run on solar energy as each robot has its own solar panel.

Cleaning robots use microfiber brushes to wipe off dirt and dust from the solar panels. They use a battery and a photovoltaic panel for energy storage, which allows them to clean during the night. And, the positioning of the panels beneath the rails ensures that they are cleaned by the robots themselves.

The automated cleaning system does not need the installation of water tanks, water pipes, or electrical cables to charge or power the robot since it is energy-independent. Expect to pay a price of $0.20 to $0.25 per kW for robotic solar panel cleaning systems. However, the approximate cost of a solar panel cleaning robot is $2,900 for 10 to 99 sets.

Bird Mesh Installation

A solar installation on your roof offers a prime nesting site for visiting birds. Unfortunately, this can cause many problems: they may peck at exposed wiring, leave droppings which eat away at the surface of the panels, and cause overheating issues by filling ventilation gaps with twigs, feathers, and other debris. Bird mesh installation is a wire netting installed alongside the panels to keep birds from nesting under the panels. DIY Kits, including mesh and clips for easy installation, typically cost $60-$200.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Those living within a 20-mile radius of the contractor’s location will pay a lower minimum fee than those living farther away.
  • Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels typically come with a 20-year warranty, which ensures that the panels generate at least 80% of the rated power even after 20 years of use. The rule of thumb is that PV solar panels depreciate about 1% every year.
  • If you lease your system, the solar company is responsible for repairs and regular maintenance. If you own your system, you are likely responsible.
  • Freezing weather can be very challenging for your solar panels because they could freeze. Some modern solar thermal heating systems use antifreeze (propylene glycol or ethylene glycol) solutions to work around the temperature issue.
  • If you need to replace the roof, the solar panels need to be professionally removed, or you might opt to do it yourself. Generally, a contractor charges $1,500 for removal and reinstallation. However, this might vary based on a few factors, including the size of the roof, the size of the solar panel, and accessibility to the roof. Also, during the switchover, there will be no generation of solar power.
  • Most of the solar panel systems consist of monitoring equipment either included or bought as an add-on. The monitoring equipment helps you keep an eye on the energy production and usage, informing you whether your system is performing as per expectations.
  • The monitoring equipment has a green light which is always on. If it goes off or begins flashing 3, it is an indication that your system has stopped working and needs inspection and possibly repair. Monitoring of solar panels also involves accessing figures, data, and reports obtained from downloading information from an online portal on your computer.
  • If your dealer or installer has Powerguard insurance, you should have the most common repairs covered for a given warranty period. This coverage typically includes both components and labor.
  • If your solar panel is damaged by a downed tree limb or inclement weather, your homeowner’s insurance should cover a good portion of repairs. This is something you should check when you are getting your panels installed. Do be aware that homeowner’s insurance will not usually cover cleaning or maintenance.

FAQs

  • How often should solar panels be cleaned?

Solar panels should be inspected and cleaned at a minimum of once every 12 months.

  • Does cleaning your solar panels make a difference?

Yes, regular cleaning prevents the buildup of any debris, dirt, and residue and helps to keep the solar panels operating optimally 24/7. A solar panel that is dirty can lose up to 25% of its energy-yielding capabilities.

  • Do solar panels require maintenance?

Solar panels are generally very durable and require little maintenance. A quality solar panel lasts around 25 to 30 years with minimal maintenance.

  • What is the best way to clean my solar panels?

The best way to clean your solar panels is using clean water, a coarse cloth with spongy covering for little scrubbing, a soft brush, and lastly, some elbow grease. These should remove the most stubborn stains and grime.

  • Can you pressure wash your roof with panels?

​We do not recommend high-pressure washing for your solar panels. A high-pressure attachment can result in impact damage and push water in between the frame and glass, delivering moisture to vulnerable areas.

  • How do you maintain solar panels?

​Professionally cleaning your panels once a year and scheduling an inspection every twelve months or after typhoons, hurricanes, or other bad weather is the most effective way to maintain your solar panels.

  • Do solar PV panels need maintenance?

​Solar PV panels, like all solar systems, need regular cleaning and inspection for optimal performance.

  • How often do solar panels and systems need maintenance?

​Under most circumstances, yearly cleaning and inspection are all the maintenance a solar system needs.

  • How do you remove snow from solar panels?

​Most experts recommend that you do not remove snow from solar panels. The warmth of the panel and the angle at which it is installed mean snow will melt faster than on the rest of the roof; even faster than on the ground. If you do feel a need to hurry the process, you can brush loose snow off the surface with a broom or similar tool. Do not attempt to scrape off ice or hardened snow.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Mounting system: (Also known as Mounting) A support on which something is attached or hung
2 Junction: A fold, line, or groove where two pieces of material join together
glossary term picture Flashing 3 Flashing: Pieces of sheet metal used on roofs to cover joints, such as where the roof meets the wall, or around a chimney or skylight, to protect them and prevent water leaking through

Cost to maintain your solar panels varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Updated:
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.
Man cleaning solar panels on a roof
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Cost to maintain your solar panels varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.