Are there any costs to solar panels afer they have been installed?

If someone buys solar panels outright instead of financing them, are there any costs after installation? I am asking about panels themselves, not battery systems, because not all solar installations use batteries. There are no moving parts, so there is very little maintenance. Yes, there could be equipment theft/vandalism, storm damage, or an animal could chew up the wires. Other than that, what costs might there be?

Not much. You have to keep them clean, which means a twice yearly wash, and be sure that no trees grow up to put them in shadow.

The panels themselves should last 25 years or more, but the inverter is likely to need replacing some time during this period. The inverter is the part most likely to go wrong too.

I’ve had my rooftop panels for 18 months now. Rain keeps them clean. When it hasn’t rained for over a month (happens here in TX), I hose them off with the garden hose. I can do this from my driveway, no ladder needed. Takes 5 minutes.

The only cost I ran into is a $10/month “distributed grid fee” charged by my electricity provider for anyone who wants net metering. On the other hand they gave me a $1,000 incentive to get the panels. Kind of a mixed message.

I just had my system installed. My understanding is that while it’s very unlikely (but not unheard of) for a panel to go bad, it’s pretty likely that over the course of the 20 years warranty, a few microinverters will fry themselves. If I didn’t have the warranty, I’d be on the hook for that.

A serious hailstorm can damage them, probably an errant baseball, etc. as well.

If you were putting the solar panel on a thin skinned building, like a caravan or a tin shed, the solar panel could be significant form of insulation during winter, and send up heating bills. However if you also have to cool the room in summer, then the solar panel is reducing cooling costs…

If the roof is thick , then the extra cost of heating is tiny, as the heat from the sun is not getting through the insulated roof ; it would be lost to the cold air…

Which brings up the possible ongoing cost of an insurance premium, if you buy a policy that specifically covers the solar panels.

Those panels are cheap, and getting cheaper. We’re talking a couple hundred bucks a panel, tops. Probably be cheaper to just climb up to your roof with a wrench and screwdriver and swap the panel at night if this happens.

If they’re on the roof, the biggest cost is that you have to take them all off (and then later put them back) when the roof gets replaced (e.g. re-shingled). Most roofs need replacing every 20-30 years or so.

The panel removal/replacement is a big enough cost that it’s generally not recommended to get rooftop panels unless the roof is moderately new.

There’s the cost of the daily suiting up and EVA to sweep the red dust off the panels… Oh, sorry, wrong planet.

Technically you could have integrated CO2 sprayers that blast the panels with C02 to clean em, or a robot to wave a CO2 sprayer across each panel. (you get the C02 from compressing the martian atmosphere)

I checked this with my insurance co (travelers). Their answer was that rooftop panels are considered ‘part of structure’. There is no special insurance for them, they are covered automatically by the regular policy. If a storm damages the panels, insurance replaces them. If the roof is damaged, insurance covers removal and re-install of the panels.

I also checked how likely it is the panels are damaged. An errant baseball is not going to break them. The standard rating for solar panels is 1" hail at 50 mph. Hail that damages the panels will also destroy a shingle roof, so it all needs replacing anyway (and insurance covers it).

So if you get solar panels on the roof of your two-storey house, you are expected to go up and clean them reguarly? No thanks. I also assume they stop working if they get covered by snow and ice.

And when it gets dark. :smiley:

They stop working if covered in snow. However I was never told anything about cleaning them and will expect the rain to take care of that. Maybe panelling over there is different ?

No - they won’t work at all when covered with snow.

Professional cleaning shouldn’t cost more than around $50.

Cleaning is optional and only if you live in an area that sees long periods with no rain. After 1.5 months of no rain I see a 5% production reduction. Not that big of a deal. As soon as it rains they’re clean again.

As they are permanentely attached as part of the structure, they are automatically covered by your homeowners insurance policy. So far, most insurers don’t increase the charge for your policy when you add solar panels. Presumably they think the increased protection for your roof shingles offsets it. Or there aren’t enough people doing it for the insurers to have caught on yet that they could use this to milk more money from their customers.

Rain takes care of normal cleaning. Sometimes falling leaves can get blown to cover them, and stay there blocking sunlight – Then spraying with a hose or brushing with a long-handled broom is needed.

Snow is seldom a problem, since they are mounted at a slant – the snow just slides off. Better than it did on shingles, since the panels are smooth glass compared to rough asphalt shingles.

One advantage not mentioned is that they currently seem to be a desirable feature, increasing the sale price when you sell the house, especially if you can show documented decreases in electricity purchases. But the Legislature has tried to encourage solar generation, by prohibiting local assessors from increasing your property taxes when you install solar panels. So you get an increased value of your house, without an increase in property taxes.

My panels are now 10 years old and they pretty much self clean between rain and snow. No extra costs, this original set has actually more than paid for itself. My second smaller set is paying off slower and the angle of the roof is less steep so the snow does not slide off they same day for these panels. The original panels always self clean as soon as the sun is out.

That is not true, they work at a reduce rate as snow allows sun through to the panels. I still generate electricity while the panels have snow, it is just reduced quite a bit. I think I run at only about 30-40% when the panels still have snow on them. It varies by the amount of snow though too.