5 Things to Consider When Building a Solar-powered Home



You'll need to periodically clean your solar-power setup.
You'll need to periodically clean your solar-power setup.
Photo courtesy of Nassau County

Powering your home using solar energy does require more maintenance than using the regular old grid power. But not much.

Solar panels have no moving parts. They are part of a completely stationary system. So once they're installed, there's not a whole lot that can go wrong. Pretty much the only thing a homeowner needs to do is keep the panels clean. It's an important task, though -- too much dust and bird droppings on the panels can reduce the amount of sunlight striking them. Dust buildup can reduce the amount of electricity produced by the system by as much as 7 percent [source: CalFinder].

This type of maintenance is not something that needs to be done once a week, though. You'd probably only have to hose the panels down anywhere from one to four times a year [source: CalFinder]. You don't need to get on the roof. A hose and nozzle from ground level works fine. If there's construction in your area, you may have to clean the panels more often to avoid the extra buildup of construction-dust residue.

Aside from that, you're just looking at occasional check-ups to make sure all parts are in working order. You may eventually have to have the inverter replaced (and the batteries if you have a battery-storage system), but that's a once-a-decade type of maintenance event.

Up next: Got a lot of trees on your lot?