Skip to content
Home > Blog > How to Clean Solar Panels on Roof?

How to Clean Solar Panels on Roof?

person cleaning solar panel on roof

Wondering how to clean solar panels on your roof effectively? This guide walks you through the necessary steps to ensure your panels operate at peak efficiency. From preparing for cleaning to the actual washing process, learn how to maintain your solar panels and enhance their lifespan and productivity.

Why Clean Your Solar Panels?

Keeping your solar panels clean is crucial for ensuring they operate at peak efficiency. Over time, solar panels can collect dust, dirt, and other debris like leaves and bird droppings. These can create a layer over the panels, blocking sunlight and significantly reducing their ability to generate electricity. Research, including studies from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has shown that dirty solar panels can lose percentage of their energy efficiency.

Regular cleaning not only helps in maintaining energy production at optimal levels but also extends the overall lifespan of the panels. By removing these obstructions, you ensure that the maximum amount of sunlight hits the panels, which boosts the energy they can generate. This means you get the most out of your investment in renewable energy.

Watch this YouTube video to see the power output comparison between clean and dirty solar panels.

Dirty vs Clean Solar Panel - Power Output Comparison and HowTo

Safety Considerations

Before you start cleaning your solar panels, it’s important to prepare properly to ensure both safety and effectiveness. Safety is crucial when cleaning solar panels, especially since they are often installed on roofs. Working at heights increases the risk of falls, so it’s essential to use appropriate safety gear. Always wear a harness, non-slip shoes, and a helmet. Additionally, ensure that the ladder you use is sturdy and securely placed. If you’re not comfortable working at heights or don’t have the necessary safety equipment, consider hiring professionals to do the job.

Checking the Manufacturer’s Guidelines for Cleaning Recommendations

Before cleaning solar panels on your roof, it’s important to check your solar panels’ manufacturer guidelines. Each brand may have specific recommendations for cleaning their products safely without causing damage. These guidelines can provide information on suitable cleaning materials, such as the type of soap that’s safe to use and whether certain cleaning tools should be avoided. Following these instructions helps ensure that you clean your panels effectively without compromising their integrity or warranty.

Tools and Equipment Needed

Having the right tools and equipment is essential for effectively cleaning your solar panels without damaging them. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Soft Brush: This is used to gently remove loose debris like leaves and dust without scratching the panels.
  • Mild Detergent: A mild, biodegradable soap will help remove grime without harming the panel’s surface or the environment.
  • Squeegee: After washing the panels, use a squeegee to remove excess water and prevent streaks.
  • Hose: A hose with a spray nozzle will help rinse the panels thoroughly. Make sure the water pressure is not too high to avoid any damage.

Importance of Using Non-Abrasive Materials to Prevent Scratches

It’s important to choose tools that won’t scratch or damage the solar panels. Scratches can significantly affect the efficiency of your panels by obstructing sunlight from fully reaching the cells. Always opt for soft, non-abrasive brushes and cloths. Avoid using harsh abrasive tools like steel wool or scouring pads, which can leave permanent marks on the panel surface. By choosing the right materials, you can ensure your solar panels remain in top condition and continue to operate efficiently.

DIY Cleaning Process

Cleaning your solar panels yourself can be straightforward if you follow these simple steps:

  • Preparation
    • Turn Off the System: Before you start cleaning, make sure to turn off your solar panel system. This is for safety and to prevent any electrical issues while they are wet.
    • Check for Debris: Inspect the panels for any large debris like leaves or branches that can be removed by hand. This makes the cleaning process easier and prevents scratching the panels during washing.
  • Cleaning
    • Rinse the Panels: Begin by gently rinsing the panels with water to remove any loose dirt and dust. This helps prevent scratching the surface when you start scrubbing.
    • Gentle Scrubbing: Use a soft brush or a sponge along with a mild detergent to carefully scrub the panels. The key is to be gentle to avoid damaging the panel surface. Avoid using any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could scratch or damage the panels.
  • Rinsing and Drying
    • Thorough Rinse: After scrubbing, rinse the panels thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue. Make sure all detergent is washed off to avoid streaks or residue that can reduce efficiency.
    • Drying: Allow the panels to air dry if possible. If you’re in a hurry or there are water marks, use a squeegee to gently remove excess water from the panels. This helps prevent mineral deposits from the water from leaving marks on the panels.

How Often Should Solar Panels Be Cleaned?

dirty solar panel

When it comes to maintaining your solar panels, the frequency of cleaning can vary depending on several factors. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Environmental Factors: Solar panels in dusty or dry climates may require more frequent cleaning compared to those in cleaner or rainy environments.
  • Local Conditions: Areas prone to bird droppings, pollen, or debris may necessitate more regular cleaning.
  • Manufacturer Recommendations: Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific cleaning intervals to maintain warranty and efficiency.

Regular cleaning, typically recommended every six months to a year, helps ensure your solar panels operate at peak performance and maximize energy production. Adjust cleaning frequency based on local conditions and visual inspection of panel cleanliness.

Hiring a Professional

While cleaning solar panels yourself is possible, there are several advantages to hiring a professional, especially if you’re not comfortable working at heights or lack the necessary safety equipment. American Home Contractors offer a comprehensive service that goes beyond just installation. Our team of certified solar professionals is equipped to handle the maintenance and cleaning of solar panels safely and efficiently.

Our trained technicians use specialized equipment and techniques to clean your solar panels. This not only ensures that the panels are handled safely but also guarantees that they operate at peak efficiency without any risk of damage.


Keeping your solar panels clean is key to making sure they work well and last a long time. Over time, things like dirt and leaves can build up and block sunlight, which makes your panels less effective. Cleaning them regularly helps them catch more sunlight and produce more power, which means you get the most out of your investment in solar energy.

In conclusion, taking care of your solar panels by cleaning them properly and often can make a big difference. Whether you decide to clean them yourself using the steps provided or hire professionals to handle it, the goal is to keep them in good shape. This not only ensures they continue to work efficiently but also helps you save on energy costs over time. Remember, clean solar panels mean more power and better savings.

Are you considering making the switch to solar energy? Contact us at American Home Contractors to begin your journey towards a greener and more energy-efficient home.

Fact checked by Adrian Catolico – 6/28/2024