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The day of your solar PV system installation shouldn’t be the last time you give any thought to your solar panels. Cleaning your solar panels and keeping them well-maintained is important when looking after your solar PV system.

Over time, dust, dirt and debris can build up on your solar panels. This means that less sunlight may get through to the solar cells which could affect your solar power production, meaning that you might miss out on some of the potential cost-savings you could enjoy from having solar power.


Is it time to consider solar panel cleaning?

If you’re not sure whether you need to think about cleaning solar panels at your place, there are generally two main ways to tell if your solar panels need to be cleaned:

  • Physical inspection:

    You might be able to see how clean your solar panels are from the ground, depending on where your solar panels are positioned. Alternatively, if you cannot see your panels from the ground and are concerned about them, you could consider organising an inspection with your solar PV system installer or hiring a solar panel cleaning professional to take a look for you. 
    Be on the lookout for thick layers of dust on your solar panels, bird poo, or debris, including bark, leaves or other litter. If you spot any of these on your solar panels, they may benefit from being cleaned.
  • Monitoring your data:

    By closely monitoring the data and performance of your solar PV system, you can keep track of how much power your solar PV system is producing. If the amount seems to have dropped and you can’t think of any obvious reasons such as a stretch of cloudy or rainy weather, the cause could be solar panels which need to be cleaned.

If you find, through a physical inspection or monitoring your production data that your solar panels are not performing as well as they could, you might want to consider learning how to wash solar panels.


Guide to cleaning solar panels

If you think your solar panels are in need of cleaning, here are some solar panel maintenance tips to help you get things back on track to make the most of that solar energy production.

  1. Always think safety first

    It is important to make sure that any inspection or solar panel maintenance you do is done safely. If it’s not safe for you to access your rooftop, or you think there’s an issue with how your solar panels are operating or something which needs to be repaired, always call a licensed electrician or accredited solar installation expert to help. 

  2. Check your stats

    Knowledge is power if you’re interested in learning how cleaning your solar panels can make a difference to your solar power generation. Check your solar data dashboard to learn how much power your system is generating before you clean. This way, you can compare this data to your solar power generation (in similar weather conditions) after you’ve cleaned your panels.

  3. Read your manual

    Check and always follow the instructions provided by your solar panel manufacturer. They may have information and recommendations on how to clean your specific solar panels.

  4. Follow manufacturer instructions when washing 

    If washing your solar panels is recommended by the manufacturer, make sure you always follow your manufacturers' instructions on how to wash your solar panels.  If washing is recommended, a garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle is usually enough to wash off the dirt, dust, leaves and salt which could have built up on your solar panels. Where possible stay safely on the ground and position yourself where you can reach your solar panels with a spray of water. 

    Generally, the best time of day to wash solar panels is to clean them in the early morning or on cooler days, as solar panels can become incredibly hot in the sunshine. 

    If you’re not able to clean your solar panels yourself from ground level, or you can’t access your roof safely, there are a number of third-party providers who clean solar panels for a fee. Consider ask your solar installation company for a recommendation on a reputable solar panel cleaner.

  5. Think ahead

    The main reason for cleaning your solar panels is to allow them to convert as much of the solar energy they receive to electricity to power your home. Part of your solar panel maintenance plan should be to think ahead and consider if there’s anything you can do to help your solar energy production levels in future. 

    For example, look at where your solar panels sit on your roof, and whether the surrounding trees or structures have changed since you first had your solar PV system installed. Your solar panels can’t generate solar power effectively in the shade, so you might need to consider trimming tree branches which might be shading your panels during the day. 

Cleaning your solar panels may not be something you have to do regularly, but it is important to keep on top of to help your solar panels operate at their best. This way, you can make the most of your solar PV system. For more ways to get more from your solar, get a glimpse into the daily life of a solar super user