It seems obvious that any asset with a 25-year working life will need maintenance. Solar systems are no exception, even if they have no moving parts. But the answer about who maintains the system is in the solar contracts. No need for you to get on the roof.
Two-thirds of solar systems installed are not owned by the resident. If you signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) or a solar lease, you don’t own your system. The owner is responsible for all maintenance and repairs. The contract should detail their terms of service.
If you bought your system (with cash or a loan), you are the owner and are responsible for maintaining the system. But there’s good news: your solar contract will cover most items. Here are the common maintenance issues and how they are addressed in the contract.
Washing the panels: Many solar contracts assume the panels are not washed, and the system performance degrades every year. The production rates are guaranteed with the degradation included. So no need to make a special rooftop visit to wash panels.
Panel Repairs: Most panels come with a 25-year warranty, meaning free repairs. Make sure repairs and replacements are noted as “on-site.”
Inverters: Inverters have a shorter life than the panels, and typically have a 10-year warranty. You can expect to replace an inverter once, or possibly twice, during the 25-year operating life of the solar system. The cost is $1500 – $3000 installed.
Third-Party Backing of Warranties: Companies come and go, but you’ll still have your solar system. Make sure there is a third-party backing up the warranties in case your solar installer goes out of business.
Annual Site Check-Ups: Sometimes solar contracts include an optional term covering an annual site visit and panel washing. This service isn’t necessary and will eat into your savings. We advise skipping it.
With these contract features, you’re all set. Maintenance-free solar!