Have you ever looked up at a roof and seen solar panels covered in dust, dirt, or even pollen? It’s easy to think that these panels can’t possibly be generating much electricity. While they might be working better than you’d expect, keeping them clean can still be a great idea. Hi everyone, Let`s break down how much is it worth cleaning your solar panels. Let’s get started!

The Basics of Solar Panel Cleaning

First things first, most of panels are made from incredibly durable materials like hydrophobic tempered glass and Aluminum. They are designed to withstand decades of harsh sun and weather. As well as, normally solar arrays are tilted as rain and snow could wash away most of the dust and dirt.

Sure, some grime might build up over time, but the power output losses are generally minimal. So, for most people, cleaning home solar panels isn’t necessary.

Research indicates that solar panels in moderate climates experience just a 3% annual loss from soiling. However, if you live in a particularly dusty environment, like the Middle East, North Africa, or India, your solar panels could see their output reduced by 40% or more over a year.

In the U.S., areas like the desert Southwest and Southern California can get pretty dusty too. If you’re in one of these regions, or if your panels are tilted less than 15°, they might start resembling a Mars Rover after a few years.

Dusty Solar Panel

How to Clean Your Solar Panels

So, how do you clean them? First and foremost, avoid anything abrasive. For most dust and dirt, a simple stream of water from a garden hose will suffice. Always clean early in the morning because spraying cold water onto hot panels can cause the glass to crack. If you need a bit more scrubbing power, use a soft-bristled flow-through brush with a long extension handle. These brushes spray gentle streams of water from behind the brush head, allowing you to clean carefully while the dirt runs down the surface of the panels.

If you are not much familiar in height works, never get on the roof to clean the panels yourself; it’s dangerous and best left to bonded and insured professionals. Speaking of professionals, you might have seen ads for solar panel cleaning services. Are they worth it? Let’s break down some numbers.

Is Professional Solar Panel Cleaning Worth It?

Imagine it’s been several dusty years since your 8-kilowatt rooftop solar system was installed in Southern California, and the panels are producing 20% less than they did in the first year. Given that electricity costs about 35 cents per kilowatt-hour from Southern California Edison, the annual loss of that 20% of energy would equal approximately $1,000 in missed savings.

Professional cleaning services typically charge around $15 per panel, amounting to $300 for a roof with 20 panels. So, you could spend $300 to save $1,000 in a particularly dusty year. However, the loss of energy is probably closer to 5% after just one year, making the savings much smaller or even negative if you pay for annual cleanings. Plus, once your panels are clean, they’ll start getting dirty again right away.

In places with cheaper electricity, like Arizona, the missed savings from a year of dusty solar panels might only be around $50. Not enough to justify the cost of a professional cleaning. But you can slightly improve the situation with just a spray of water at dawn every now and then.

DIY Solar Panel Cleaning Tips

Keeping an eye on your solar production is key. Use your solar panel monitoring app, which should be provided by your installer or the company that makes your solar inverters. If your panels look dirty and energy production is down from the year before, give them a quick rinse. We’ve included a link in the description to our article about the best solar monitoring systems.

To sum it up, regular cleaning probably isn’t necessary as long as your panels are tilted and you live in a temperate climate. If you do need to clean them, just use water and a very soft brush if necessary. Avoid getting on the roof and be cautious about hiring professionals, as the return on investment might not be worth it.

Do I Need to Turn Off Solar Panels to Clean?

This is a common question that many DIY enthusiasts ask. The short answer is: yes, it’s safer to turn off your solar panels before cleaning them. Solar panels generate electricity whenever they are exposed to sunlight. While they are designed to be safe and durable, water and electricity can be a dangerous combination.

Turning off your solar panels helps to avoid any risk of electric shock and ensures that you won’t accidentally short-circuit your system. Most solar systems have a designated shut-off switch or breaker that you can use to safely power down your panels before you begin cleaning. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for shutting down and reactivating your system.


Solar panel cleaning might not be as crucial as it seems, but it’s always good to know the best practices to keep your system running efficiently. Have you cleaned your solar panels and noticed a significant increase in power output? Share your experiences in the comments below. And while you’re here, don’t forget to like this post and subscribe for more solar tips and tricks. Thanks for reading!

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