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Solar Panel Cleaning

a dirty solar panel with "clean me please" written on it

You should clean your solar panels at least once per year

A professional cleaning costs £100-£150

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You’re here because you want to know how to make sure your beautiful, money-saving solar panels stay gleaming and fully functional.

You’re here because in a moment of sudden panic, you asked, out loud to an empty room: “Wait, do solar panels need cleaning?”

Yes, yes they do.

Dust and particulate matter can reduce a solar array’s production by as much as 25% (source: American Chemical Society, 2017).

And while the cost of solar panels has fallen by 70% since 2010, a solar panel system is still a significant investment – costing £4,000-£6,000 for a family of three.

So you don’t want to extend the amount of time it takes to start profiting from your shiny new source of green energy, simply by failing to give it a quick clean.

If you want to save money on your energy bills, fill in this form and get free, bespoke quotes from solar specialists.

a dirty solar panel with

Why do you need to clean solar panels?

Obviously, you want your panels to be spotless – it keeps them working at full strength and looking gorgeous. But the rain will clean them, surely? Unfortunately, no.

Rain may wipe away some of the dust and debris, but your panels need a proper clean – particularly as your solar energy generation is only as strong as your weakest cell, if you’re using a string inverter.

If you abandon your panels to the ways and whims of nature, they’ll end up defaced and blighted by leaves, dust, pollen, and other particulate matter – not to mention bird droppings.

This will look bad to you and your neighbours, and feel worse – especially when you receive your energy bill. 

The occasional clean will keep your solar array looking wonderful, and working at peak efficiency.

If you want an eco-friendly roof that's supposed to have animals on it, why not consider a green roof?

How do you clean your solar panels?

So, how do you actually do it? Do you wipe them down with bleach? Turn on a high-powered leaf blower? Cast a spell? Read on to find out.

Top Tips

1. Use soapy water

2. Wipe with a non-abrasive sponge to avoid scratches

3. Do not clean the wiring underneath

4. Clean on an overcast day so you don’t get smears

5. Early in the day is ideal, as dew will soften the grime and make cleaning easier

6. Clean your panels from the ground

7. If you can’t from the ground, don’t go on the roof – hire a professional instead

How to clean them on a roof

The short answer is simply: don’t. It’s far too dangerous for anyone who hasn’t been trained to work on a sloped surface, several metres up in the air, next to expensive, breakable solar panels.

If you accidentally fall on them, you’ll both suffer – and you could also fall off the roof. No-one wants that.

So if your solar panels are on the roof, clean them from the ground. Get a hose, a high-pressure stream of water, and a nozzle that can handle that power – then take aim.

You can then wipe off this cleansing stream with a squeegee.

Make sure your squeegee has a plastic blade on one side, and a non-abrasive sponge on the other – and of course, it needs to come with a lengthy extension, so you can reach the panels.

If there’s no way you can reach the roof, get an expert to do the job for you. It’ll be worth it.

Did You Know?

You can save more than £400 each year, just by switching your home’s energy supplier. If you’re looking to cut down your bills, this one’s a bit of a no-brainer.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Switchd. With four different price plans (including a free option), Switchd will find you cheaper, greener energy suppliers in no time.

How much does solar panel cleaning cost?

A domestic solar panel cleaning will generally cost £100-150, assuming you can’t reach the roof and do need to hire a professional.

This price is typical for solar arrays of 20 roof panels or fewer, which is the situation for an average family of three in the UK.

How often should you clean your solar panels?

Manufacturers generally recommend that you clean your solar panels twice per year.

If that’s beyond you, that’s fine – but make sure you at least give them an annual clean.

If you wash them at the end of summer, you’ll ensure you have a fully functioning solar array, ready to take on whatever cold spells winter can throw at you.

For free solar panel quotes from local experts, just fill in this form.

josh jackman
Josh Jackman Senior Writer

Josh has written about eco-friendly home improvements and climate change for the past three years. His work has featured on the front page of the Financial Times; he’s been interviewed by BBC Radio; and he was the resident expert in BT’s smart home tech initiative.

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