Solar panels are low maintenance. Really, really low maintenance. With no moving parts, most installations can go decades with minimal upkeep. And thanks to high-impact protective casing, some panels are durable enough to withstand hailstones shot at 260 mph. And if this weren’t enough, most solar panels sold in Maryland come with 20- to 25-year warranties that cover you in the event of equipment malfunctions and breakages.

But as durable as solar is, there are steps you can take to extend the lifetime of your photovoltaic (PV) system beyond 25 years. Some lucky Maryland homeowners and businesses are still generating free electricity from solar installations from the 1970s.

So how can you keep your own home solar installation going strong for years to come? Here’s a solar panel maintenance checklist to keep your system in tip-top shape.

1) Only Use Quality, Made-in-America Solar Parts

This may sound obvious, but only use quality solar components from trusted brand names. At the very least, stick with components that have been tested and listed by Underwriters Laboratories. These parts will usually have the letters UL followed by some number (ex: UL 1703 or UL 4703). Here’s a hint: Renewable Energy Corporation uses solar panels made in the USA.

2) Avoid DIY Solar Installations

Do-it-yourself solar panels are usually more expensive in the long run. They often deliver less power than high-quality, professionally installed solar panels, and frequently require more repairs. Hiring a licensed solar installer is the best way to ensure a properly installed, well-designed solar energy system.

3) Remove Potential Dangers

Solar panels from SolarWorld USA are extremely durable. However, they’re not 100% indestructible. Falling tree limbs can sometimes crack solar panels, which is why homeowners occasionally remove or trim nearby trees.

4) Clean Your Solar Panels

In most cases, a simple rinse with a garden hose will suffice. In a state like Maryland that enjoys an average of 42″ of rainfall a year, Mother Nature does most of the work. Still, a quick hose-down to clean your solar panels will help remove leaves, twigs, pollen, and other debris.

5) Track the Performance of Your PV System

Thanks to recent technological advancements, it’s now possible to monitor your solar system’s performance 24/7 and in real-time. Monitoring your solar energy system lets you catch problems sooner and make repairs if necessary.

With this quick and easy solar panel maintenance checklist, you can extend the life and improve the performance of your solar panels. Some simple upkeep goes a long way to protecting your solar investment.