Do I Need to Clean My Solar Panels?

Reasons to clean panels and how to get them clean.


To clean or not to clean.


There are a lot of questions about solar panel upkeep and maintenance issues from people looking into purchasing solar to those who currently have solar panels already installed. Questions like: Do I need to clean my solar panels? are among the most common.

Did you know: Many factors such as where you live, infrequent rainfall, high winds, and other weather conditions may indicate a need to clean more than areas with frequent rain or snowfall.

While there are many differing perspectives there is no right or wrong answer per-se. In fact, looking into the facts about solar panel maintenance really comes down to what the benefits are to having your panels “clean” vs. needing them cleaned. Understanding these aspects can help you decide if cleaning is in fact needed.


The benefits and reasons why keeping solar panels clean come down to one major aspect: Solar production.

See, what many customers do not remember is that the panels are up there, rain and shine, sometimes even snowfall, hail-storm, wind-a-blowing kind-of conditions for 365 days a year. That is a lot of element exposure to withstand. Rarely do customers worry about their solar panels …until their energy production drops. Then customers start asking, what culprit could be behind the loss of production?


What kind of production are we talking about here? Great question.

While there is no exact number, ballpark estimates have shown that production can drop anywhere from 5-12% due to dirty panels.

Luckily there are a few methods to clean solar panels whether you hire a service such as 1st Light Energy or if you decide to go at it alone. Either way we want to highlight some things to consider before you head up on the roof and have your panels cleaned.


Did you know: fully functional solar panel systems could offset 70–90% of your monthly electricity bill?

Cleaning considerations to ask:

Is it really worth it?

That solely depends on the customer and their feelings about the process. If losing 5-12% of your production is worth the time to clean the panels, it may be worth it. While the percentage may seem small, the actual financial impact can vary depending on the size of your solar panel system.


Did you know: China is home to the largest solar panel field in the world with solar panels covering 1200 km!

Doesn’t weather like rain or snow “wash” the panels?

Yes and no. See rain can be a good thing for solar panels. It can wash off the majority of dirt and stuck on grime causing elements (we’re talking about you, post-apocalyptic flying dinosaurs) and thus no cleaning is needed. However at times, dirt and other debris from the air can get stuck on the panels, block the sun and result in a loss of power. If only rain came with some soap, right?


Do I have to have it professionally done?

You do not HAVE to have it professionally done but we would advise you to weigh the options of doing it yourself vs. having them professionally cleaned.

Now let’s go over how to clean your panels should you choose to clean them yourself.


How to clean solar panels:

  1. Determine what manufacturer recommendations are for your specific solar panel system. Each manufacturer may have specific recommendations for cleaning.
  2. Determine the best time of day to clean the panels- Pick a time when they are not too hot from the sun (just like a car this can dry the soap too fast).
  3. Speaking of soap- grab household dish soap, a bucket, and the garden hose. No need for a pressure washer.
  4. Fill the bucket with soap, get a good suds going, and gently wash the panels with a soft rag, sponge, or soft brush.
  5. Rinse and let air-dry. No need for drying off or washing anywhere else.
  6. Get off the roof safely. We’d appreciate that.


While some customers have preferred to clean them regularly, you can clean them around each season change. With spring upon us, now may be the perfect time to get into the “spring cleaning” mode.

Not feeling the self-clean process? No problem. We are here to help educate you on all things solar and also offer services to keep your system running.


How to have them professionally cleaned:

You can contact local solar companies for a quote or you can have a trusted 1st Light Energy trained professional come out and complete a Solar Panel Cleaning for all types of solar panels installations- regardless if we installed them or not. Our team knows the ins-and-outs of all solar panel systems and can get your panels’ sparkling clean in no time. To set up your service you can schedule that online with our easy to use appointment form.

While solar panel cleaning may not be needed for every solar energy customer, knowing the reasons why having panels cleaned and who can/should clean them can help you determine what steps to take for your system.

No matter what you decide you can always reach out to us and ask anything that comes to your mind regarding solar.

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