How often should solar panels be cleaned?

Fast read

Regular cleaning is advised to keep solar panels operating at their peak effectiveness and efficiency. Unfortunately, rain rarely entirely cleans panels; some stains require specific cleaning methods or removing substances.

On a sunny day, cleaning solar panels can be dangerous because electric shock is possible. However, some solar panel warranties also call for routine maintenance, and professionals can identify and fix small issues before they worsen.

The placement and condition of the panels will dictate how frequently they require cleaning, but every two to three years is a decent rule of thumb.

Should I get my solar panels cleaned regularly?

Solar panel maintenance is essential to ensure your panels perform optimally and efficiently. As this is so important, getting your panels professionally cleaned at regular intervals is always best. Debris, dust and other marks on panels can harm a solar system’s performance, so below are the top five reasons you should get your panels professionally cleaned.

Rain does not always clean properly

Many homeowners assume, and many solar salespersons claim, that when it rains, the solar panels are cleaned via the short sharp shower. But, unfortunately, bird or bat poo, the sap of nearby flowering trees, and built-up dust need more than a shower to be removed from the surface of a solar panel. This is particularly true for panels on flat roofs, such as pergolas, or on large commercial systems, which are regularly installed with an angle of fewer than 10 degrees. 

Therefore the common assumption that rain cleans solar panels for you is false. Rain can make the panel dirtier as rainwater regularly has dust, minerals and chemicals in it, creating a layer of debris on the panel instead of what people think the rain would be removing.

Some customers opt for a DIY cleaning approach to save some money. Unfortunately, it is not that simple, as working on roofs can challenge a Do It Yourself handyman. In addition, it is not worth waking up in the hospital after a bad fall to save a relatively small fee for solar panel cleaning.

solar panel being cleaned
Always get a professional to clean your panels

Know how to remove any stains on panels

One needs to know what type of stain is on the panel to remove strong stains on the glass surface of the panels. An experienced panel cleaner will know and be able to identify the glass blemish successfully, meaning they will learn how to remove it. Depending on the substance, one might need to soak the area or might even need to use special chemicals or tools to remove the blemish. 

Cleaning solar panels can be dangerous

Another reason you should get your solar panels cleaned by professionals is safety. Solar panels are situated on your roof so they can be tricky.

You can probably use a ladder to access your roof easily, but risks are involved. For example, if your roof is small, does not have much room to walk around, has a steep angle, or is a 2nd story roof, the risks outweigh the opportunity to save a few dollars.

A professional is used to these working conditions and will have the right tools and methods to undertake this task safely.

Dangerous if washed on a sunny day

Unlike most other electrical products, switching your solar system “Off” on the safety switch does not entirely remove the electrical hazards the panels pose. For example, when you try to wipe the wet panel, the panels may still possess a DC electrical charge, which could end in disaster.

Yet again, a professional would be aware of this and know how to work around it via the correct isolated ladders and equipment, potentially disconnecting panels. When you combine these safety risks of height, water, and electricity, you should realise cleaning your solar panel is not as easy as you think and is much better suited for a professional.

Some solar panel warranties do not want a handyperson near them

Warranty specifications can be another important reason for cleaning your panels professionally. It is becoming more common for solar companies and manufacturers to include in their warranty terms that regular maintenance is needed. If you encounter an issue with your panels within the warranty period but have not cleaned and looked at your panels for many years, you may not be able to claim the issue. 

Having a cleaning and check-up regime every 2 to 3 years is a good idea and another reason you should have a professional look over your system.

That way, they can identify a minor issue, such as a loose panel clamp on a solar panel, before the matter becomes more significant, to the point that a very loose panel could endanger a loved one. 

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