Do Solar Panels Need to be Cleaned? Explained

Solar panels have become a popular source of renewable energy for homeowners and businesses. However, there is a common question that arises: do solar panels need to be cleaned? The answer is yes, but the frequency of cleaning depends on various factors.

In general, solar panels need to be cleaned about twice a year. However, if you live in an area with lots of rain or where your panels are tilted, you may only need to clean them once a year. Regular cleaning can help ensure that your solar panels are operating at maximum efficiency and producing the most energy possible. In this article, we will explore the reasons why solar panels need to be cleaned, how often they should be cleaned, and the best practices for cleaning them.

Solar Panels cleaning close up

Do Solar Panels Need Cleaning?

When it comes to solar panels, one question that many homeowners have is whether they need to be cleaned. In short, the answer is yes, they do need to be cleaned. However, the frequency and methods of cleaning will depend on a variety of factors, such as the location of the panels, the climate, and the amount of debris build-up.

Why Clean Solar Panels?

Dirty panels can lead to a decrease in energy output and efficiency, which can ultimately result in higher energy bills. Dirt, dust, leaves, bird droppings, and other debris can accumulate on the panels, blocking sunlight and reducing their performance. Regular cleaning can help to maintain the panels’ efficiency and prolong their lifespan.

What Are the Best Ways to Clean Solar Panels?

There are several ways to clean solar panels, but the most common methods include using a soft brush or sponge with soapy water, a squeegee, or a garden hose. It is important to avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that can damage the panels. For more stubborn grime or debris, a vinegar solution can be used.

DIY vs. Professional Solar Panel Cleaning

Homeowners can choose to clean their solar panels themselves (but we don’t recommend you do this) or use a professional cleaning service. While DIY cleaning can be cost-effective, it is important to consider safety considerations when climbing on rooftops or using ladders. Professional cleaning services have the necessary equipment and training to safely and effectively clean solar panels.

commercial solar panel cleaning

Why Clean Solar Panels?

Maintaining solar panels is crucial to ensure optimal energy output and performance. While solar panels are designed to withstand various weather conditions, they are still susceptible to dirt, debris, and other forms of soiling that can accumulate over time. In this section, we will discuss the reasons why cleaning solar panels is important.

Improved Efficiency

Dirty solar panels can reduce their efficiency and energy output. Dirt, dust, bird droppings, and other debris can block sunlight from reaching the solar cells, which can lead to a decrease in energy production. A visual inspection can help determine if your solar panels need cleaning. Regular cleaning, at least twice a year, can help maintain the efficiency of your solar panels and ensure they are operating at their full potential.

Cost-Effective Maintenance

Cleaning solar panels regularly is a cost-effective way to maintain their performance and extend their lifespan. Professional solar panel cleaning services can be expensive but you mitigate the risk of injuring yourself by not cleaning them yourself. If you are addement on doing the cleaning, a soft brush, a sponge, or a squeegee with a soft cloth can be used to clean solar panels. A mixture of soapy water or vinegar can also be used to remove grime and dirt.

Warranty and Upkeep

Manufacturers of solar panels often require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep their warranties valid. Neglecting your panels can result in a voided warranty, which can be costly in the long run. Regular cleaning and inspection can also help identify any potential issues with your solar panels, such as cracks or damage.

Safety Considerations

Cleaning solar panels can be dangerous, especially if they are located on a rooftop or tilted at a steep angle. Safety should always be a top priority when cleaning them. Homeowners should consider using professional solar panel cleaning services or using safety equipment such as a hard hat and harness when cleaning solar panels themselves.


solar panel output

What Are the Best Ways to Clean Solar Panels?

When it comes to cleaning solar panels, it’s important to use the right techniques to avoid damaging them. Here are some of the best ways to clean solar panels:

  1. Use Deionized Water

Using deionized water is one of the best ways to clean solar panels. This type of water has all its impurities removed, which means it won’t leave any residue on the panels. You can use a rolling or vehicle-mounted brush to scrub the panels gently.

  1. Clean Panels in the Morning or Evening

It’s best to clean solar panels in the morning or evening when they’re cool. If you clean them during the middle of the day when they’re hot, the water will evaporate quickly, which can leave behind mineral deposits.

  1. Use a Soft Brush or Sponge

When cleaning solar panels, it’s important to use a soft brush or sponge to avoid scratching the surface. Don’t use abrasive materials like steel wool or scouring pads.

  1. Avoid Using Detergents

Avoid using detergents or harsh chemicals to clean your panels. These can damage the surface of the panels and reduce their efficiency.

  1. Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your panels clean and efficient. Clean them at least once a year, and more often if you live in a dusty or dirty area.

soft sponge

People Also Ask

How often should solar panels be cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning your solar panels depends on factors such as the location, weather, and amount of dust and debris in the air. In general, it is recommended to clean solar panels at least once or twice a year. However, if you live in a dusty area or experience heavy rainfall, you may need to clean them more often.

Can I clean my solar panels myself?

Yes, you can clean your solar panels yourself, but it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can scratch or damage the panels. It is also recommended to clean the panels early in the morning or late in the evening when they are cool to avoid any thermal shock.

Does rain clean solar panels?

Rain can help to clean solar panels to some extent, but it may not be enough to remove all the dirt and debris that accumulate on the surface. In fact, rainwater can sometimes leave mineral deposits on the panels, which can reduce their efficiency. Therefore, it is still important to clean your solar panels regularly.

What happens if you don’t clean solar panels?

If you don’t clean your solar panels regularly, the dirt and debris will accumulate on the surface, which can reduce their efficiency and output. This can result in a lower energy production and higher electricity bills. Moreover, if the panels are covered with snow or ice, they may not generate any electricity until they are cleared.

How much to clean solar panels in the UK?

The cost of cleaning solar panels in the UK varies depending on the size of the system, location, and cleaning method. On average, it can cost around £100 to £200 for a standard domestic solar panel system. However, it is recommended to get a quote from multiple professional cleaning services to get an accurate estimate.