Once they are installed, PV systems are safe (with the usual caveats of any electrical system) and require little maintenance.
During the installation process there are many important safety precautions. Among the considerations is the fact that work is being done on a roof, usually a sloped one, and that solar panels have the potential for generating energy whenever light strikes them. Installers use harnesses in order to maintain a safe working environment and many put a tarp or sheet of cardboard over the panels while the wiring is being connected to reduce the voltage.
All solar modules and inverters meet stringent Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and American Society for the Testing of Materials (ASTM) standards, in addition to extensive European and global standards for safety and integrity. Safe installation is covered by the National Electrical Code (NEC), in which Chapter 690 – Photovoltaic Systems, has been in place for nearly 20 years. Locally enforced structural Codes govern the safe integration into buildings.
Much of the training for solar professionals focuses on safety issues; solar PV installation is not a DIY weekend project.
As with windows, more light gets through when the glass is clean. Those of us who live in areas with high pollen count or other atmospheric pollution might want to wash the panels down once or twice a year. Those with panels at a steep angle and a clean environment might never have to think about it. There are probably more systems that don't get washed than do.
Inverters, disconnect switches and meters for grid tied systems are zero maintenance. Battery based grid tied and off grid systems use batteries for energy storage, and these absolutely must be maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions.
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