The importance of cleaning your solar panels

Last updated on October 3rd, 2017 at 09:10 am

“One very important factor often overlooked by solar panel owners is cleaning.”

Just like your car, the dirt and dust in the atmosphere can leave your pride and joy with an unsightly layer of grime attached. This can have a negative effect on your panels’ performance if left unchecked.

The importance of cleaning your solar panels

The importance of cleaning your panels.

With your feed-in tariff revenue for photovoltaic panels being reliant on producing the maximum amount of energy to gain the maximum amount of revenue, then the importance of keeping your panels clean seems obvious.

Solar panels do work well, even when dirty. This has been demonstrated by NASA’s Rovers on Mars. With an expected lifespan of six months when first launched in 2004, the success of the rover’s longevity on the Martian landscape has been down to their extraordinary solar panels, which have kept the rover powered, despite their accumulated layers of red dust.

So not keeping your solar panels clean, will not stop them from producing power, but if you want to keep the maximum rate of power feeding down into your generation meter, then cleaning periodically is advised.

You will know this if you have a free solar panel system on your roof. These types of companies regularly pay contractors to keep their panels cleaned, to gain the maximum benefit from their investment. Private owners should do the same.

If you own your own panels, then maybe keeping your system clean may not have occurred to you, but just like the Mars Rovers, the atmospheric layers will of dust, dirt and bird poo, will begin to take its tole on the amount of power being generated over time.

Solar panel farms around the world, also have regular cleaning crews whom regularly inspect and clean the panel surfaces.

A six monthly clean will not only pay for itself with the extra revenue it generates but will keep your system looking aesthetically pleasing throughout the varying seasonal changes.

There are some window cleaning companies which specialise in solar panel cleaning and will probably clean your windows as part of the deal too.

Don’t miss out on your system’s full earning potential. The grime in most cases cannot be seen from ground level, so be wise, stay clean and maximise your power generation and ultimately your investment.


"Feel the pride."
April 25, 2013
Founder of Power My Home.

  • Yes, they are designed to be somewhat resistant to dirt, but from my experience, time and atmospheric dust eventually takes it tole with the exceptionally long lifespan that these systems have.

  • Gerald Brady

    I cleaned my panels recently but apart from a couple of bird droppings there was nothing to wash off. My roof is very steep (55 degrees from the horizontal) and the rain cleans the panels very well.

  • Companies who own panels always keep them clean with a 6 monthly scrub with soft brush attached to high reach pure-water fed pole system. No detergents.

    If you can imagine how much bird poo would hit them over that period and also over their 30 year lifespan. Anyone whom like to keep their car polished will know the frequency of direct hits from above.

  • muggins

    Its no good trying to clean them with a hose pipe from the ground as the water pressure will penetrate the roof tiles an water will get inside your loft.
    is there a cleaning sponge similar to that used for cleaning fish tanks. ie a magnet on either side and you push it up and down.