Solar panels, the eco-friendly, low-maintenance solution to your costly energy bill problems. Now that you've got your shiny new panels installed, it can be tempting to want to clean them often. The good news is that solar panels are generally self-cleaning, so fight the urge to give them a weekly bath. Mother Nature is providing you with the solar power; she can also help keep those panels clean!

How Often Should I Clean Solar Panels?

Unless you live in a particularly dry area with high amounts of dirt, dust, sand, or smog and, in said area, your panels have minimal tilt to them, it's rarely necessary to clean your home solar panels. Sure, debris can build up over time. If you've noticed an unusual decrease in panel performance and can see dirt that isn't being blown off by the wind, then yes, it's time to break out the squeegee.

As you can see, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to cleaning solar panels. Just be mindful of their performance and the environment you live in. If there ever does come a time for a quick wash, here are some solar panel cleaning do's and don'ts to follow.

Do

  • Check in with your provider to see if they have cleaning guidelines specific to your solar panels.
  • Clean panels from the ground. If that isn't possible, it's best to find a solar panel cleaning service.
  • Approach the cleaning like how you would wash your car - pull out the hose and a bucket.
  • Stick with just water. If soap is needed, choose something very mild.
  • Find a quality squeegee, particularly one that offers a long extension.
  • Pick an overcast day to clean.
  • Tackle the job early in the morning or later in the evening.
  • Carefully brush off any loose material before wetting the panels.

Don't

  • Climb onto the roof without the necessary training or safety equipment. If on the roof, don't walk on the panels.
  • Attempt to clean a damaged or cracked panel.
  • Use abrasive cleaning material.
  • Use harsh detergents, as they may damage the panel glass.
  • Put a cleaning agent directly onto the panels. If needed at all, mix with water first.
  • Scrub the panels while they are dry.
  • Make use of a high-pressure water sprayer, as it can damage the panels.
  • Leave mineral-rich or "hard water" to dry on its own, as it could leave mineral deposits or streaks.

Safety First

Generally speaking, it's best to let rainfall keep your panels sparkling clean. You'd rarely need to give the panels a scrub but should you decide to do so, remember, your safety is the most important thing to consider.