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How to Clean Your Solar Panels | A Guide for Homeowners

Installing a solar panel system on your home can be an excellent way to support the planet, reduce your energy costs, and ensure you are not reliant on the grid. Yet, there may be a few instances in which you will need to put in a bit of work to ensure these systems are working at their best on a consistent basis. You may have to learn how to clean solar panels and other steps to maintain them. The good news is most systems are easier to maintain than you may think.

How to Clean Solar Panels

Before you learn how to clean solar panels, there are a few things to know. First, realize that solar panel systems are very durable and they can handle most types of weather and environments with good efficiency. You are likely not going to have to do much to keep them operational. You do not always have to clean solar panels either. Sometimes the best way to clean solar panels is to allow the rain to wash them off.

Can Homeowners Clean Their Own Solar Panels?

It is possible to learn how to clean solar panel systems on your own. However, whenever possible, rely on a professional company to do the work for you. When a professional does it, you can ensure the work is done properly to protect your solar panels from any mistakes that could cause damage to them. In addition to this, a professional can help ensure that the process goes well and you remain safe.

Is it safe to clean your own solar panels?

Is it safe to clean solar panels on your own? That really depends on many factors, but primarily on how you do the work. There is a risk of electrocution if you do not eliminate the power to the system. There is also the risk of being on the roof and falling from it. If you plan to do this on your own, learn how to clean solar panels on roof surfaces safely and according to the manufacturer’s warranty.

Manual cleaning work

If you want to learn how to clean rooftop solar panels, a good starting point is with the manual method. This is the only method that is typically safe enough for homeowners to do.

Some other tips include:

  • Turn off the solar panel system at the breaker so you can safely clean it.
  • Start by using a brush with soft bristles to remove any loose dirt and dust. Lightly brush to avoid scratching the surface.
  • Use a garden hose to wet down the surface, rinsing it from top to bottom to allow most of the dirt and debris to wash away.
  • If there are problem areas, such as areas with bird droppings, you may have to scrub the surface a bit. Do this with a wet, soft cloth. Do not aggressively scrub the surface.

When it comes to what to clean solar panels with, keep things gentle. No matter what you do, you do not want to scratch the surface of the panels.

Soap-less brushes and sponges

Another professional service that may be available is one that uses a soap-less brush and sponge system. These are vehicle mounted systems that can move over the surface and carefully remove any debris on the surface.


There are some companies that use robotics systems to clean solar panels. These are often beneficial on larger systems or those on top of parking garages or greenhouses. The robotics system glides over the system to automatically clean the surface.

How Location Affects Solar Panel Cleaning

Do you have to clean solar panels? Not always. It is most commonly a need in a situation where there is a significant buildup of material on the panels. This happens in some areas more than others. You may need to clean the solar panel system more frequently if you live in an area such as the following:

  • Poor air quality with pollution and smog
  • Construction zones where there is a lot of debris in the air
  • Areas where a significant amount of landscaping is done
  • Downdraft from bridges or highways where a lot of people travel
  • Areas with significant pollen buildup are common in the spring or fall months

How to Gauge When It’s Time to Clean Solar Panels

How often should I clean my solar panels? This really depends on where you live, too. Good cleanings are recommended at least twice a year, by a professional if possible: just after winter and just after summer. In addition to this, it is a good idea to clean solar panels in between those periods if you notice they have a significant buildup of material on them.

Will Regularly Cleaning Your Solar Panels Save You Money?

Routine cleaning of your solar panels, especially in high risk areas, is a must for ensuring the surface remains clear and able to absorb as much of the sun’s rays as possible. This contributes to the overall efficiency of the system and makes having and using your solar panel system more worthwhile. If you live in an area with a lot of environmental factors that cause buildup, you will notice efficiency improvements when you clean the panels; otherwise, you may not see a significant improvement in areas where little buildup occurs.

Put the Investment in Your Home and the Planet

Without a doubt, there are benefits to investing in solar panel systems for your home. You can learn how to clean solar panels, but overall, there are very few things you have to do to maintain these systems. Once you have them professionally installed, they will continue to work reliably for you for years to come. Take a few minutes to check out the installation process to see how we can help you. You will find that installing solar panels is easier than you think. Contact Solar Energy World today to set up a free consultation. We’re happy to show you how affordable solar panels can be.