What to Know About Cleaning Your Solar Panels

Posted on Sep 25th 2023


What to Know About Cleaning Your Solar Panels

Solar panels are an investment in a sustainable future, allowing you to harness the power of the sun to generate electricity for your home. However, like any other investment, solar panels require regular maintenance to operate at peak efficiency. One question that often arises for homeowners new to solar energy is whether or not solar panels need to be cleaned. Read on to learn more about the importance of cleaning solar panels, brought to you by our experts at Custom Energy!

Do Solar Panels Really Need to be Cleaned?

Though the question of whether solar panels need cleaning has become a bit of a debate amongst homeowners, the short answer is yes. Solar panels require a good cleaning every so often to ensure they are still working at full capacity. Dust, dirt, pollen, bird droppings, leaves, and other debris can accumulate on the surface of your solar panels over time, reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches the solar cells and decreasing the panels' energy production. So, while they don't need to be cleaned nearly as often as other areas of your home, neglecting the cleanliness of your solar panels can translate into a significant loss of energy production and potential savings.

How to Clean Solar Panels

Most of the time, regular rainfall is capable of rinsing dust off your solar panels and keeping them at a 95% production of their maximum capacity. However, often, it's more than dust impacting the output of your panels. In this case, you'll need to give your panels a good wash.

Luckily, cleaning your solar panels is a fairly straightforward process that you can often do yourself. Here are a few tips to guide you through the process:

  • Take safety precautions. Before you begin, ensure your safety. If possible, turn off the solar panel system. Ensure you can safely access the panels and use appropriate safety equipment like gloves and a stable ladder.
  • Use gentle tools. Avoid abrasive materials like harsh chemicals, scrub brushes, or abrasive sponges that can damage the panel's surface. Instead, use soft materials like a non-abrasive sponge, a squeegee, or a soft brush with a long handle.
  • Water only. You don't need specialized cleaning solutions; clean water is usually sufficient. Hose down the panels to remove loose dirt and dust. For really stubborn dirt or bird droppings, you can mix a mild detergent with water and gently apply it to the panels. Then, use your soft brush or sponge to clean the surface. Rinse thoroughly with clean water afterward.
  • Choose the right time. It's best to clean your solar panels early in the morning or late in the evening when they are cool to the touch. Washing them when they are hot from the sun can lead to thermal shock and potential damage.
  • Aim for every six months. Ideally, you should clean your solar panels at least twice a year. In dusty or heavily polluted areas, more frequent cleaning may be necessary.
Image of a woman below her solar panels - learn why cleaning your solar panels is important with experts at Custom Energy.

Cleaning your solar panels is essential to their maintenance. At Custom Energy, we strive to ensure our clients are happy with their purchase. While we do not provide cleaning services, our 25-year warranty will give you the peace of mind that your panels will last for years. Contact us today for a free estimation!

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    Mark Lyons


    Very good experience from initial contact, education on solar, competitive pricing, excellent coordination of professional installation and outstanding follow up! Very happy with system!

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    Steve Kaylor


    I had a SunPower system (35 panels and 2 batteries) installed by Custom Electrical (Custom Energy). I found them knowledgeable and easy to work with from the project start to finish. The design and install crews did excellent work and took my concerns into account. Their work was completed on time and on budget. I would use them again in the future and I certainly recommend them.

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    We contacted Custom Energy late in the fall hoping that our system could be installed before year end. They worked quickly with the design and permitting process and installation was completed in December. They did a very professional job and everything works like it is supposed to.