How to Clean Solar Panels

Solar panels don’t need to be cleaned often, but they might need an occasional rinse.
Written by Heather Bernhard
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Jun 01, 2022
The best ways to clean your solar panels are with a hose, a good-ol’ cloth and soapy water, or a professional cleaning service. In general, most solar panels don’t need to be cleaned very often. But if you notice that your panels are putting out less power than usual, it might be time for a scrub.
Dust and dirt can result in energy losses of up to 7%. Depending on the size of your panels, that could add up to quite a bit of lost power.
This simple guide from car and home
broker app
will tell you everything you need to know about how (and when) to clean your solar panels.
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Why do you need to clean solar panels? 

In general, solar panels don’t need to be cleaned frequently. In areas that receive a lot of precipitation, rain and snow can wash away much of the dirt and dust that accumulates. However, grime does build up over time, no matter where you live—and eventually, you will have to clean your solar panels. 

Location affects when you need to clean

Where you live plays a huge role in how often you need to clean your solar panels. For instance, if you live in an area where it regularly rains, you won’t need to clean very often. 
However, some locations may require more frequent cleaning: 
  • Dry, dusty environments, like the US Southwest
  • Wooded areas, especially if there is a lot of bird activity
  • Polluted or smoggy regions, such as those near factories and highways
As a general rule, your panels should be wiped down about twice a year, no matter where you live. 

How to clean solar panels

Solar panels might be big and bulky, but they’re actually quite delicate. Handle them the wrong way, and you’ll end up with a broken piece of equipment—and a hefty repair bill. 

Cleaning methods

There are a few safe and effective ways for you to clean your solar panels. With a few simple tools you probably already have around the house, you can quickly boost their efficiency. 
  • Use a hose if your panels are mostly just dusty. After a quick spray down, let them dry in the sun. Remember to use a regular garden hose, not a pressure washer or high-pressure nozzle.
  • Scrub them down if the mess is more substantial, including things like tree sap or bird droppings. Use warm water, a soft scrubber or brush, and a cleanser that includes no harsh chemicals. After washing, rinse with a hose.
  • Hire a service if you don’t feel comfortable cleaning the panels on your own. 
Key Takeaway Cleaning your solar panels shouldn’t take a lot of time or effort. Typically, a quick rinse with the hose will do the trick. 

Safety considerations

If you’re cleaning your solar panels on your own, safety should always be your number one priority. After all, working with soapy water on a steep
requires a bit of caution. 
There are several ways to help maintain safety while you clean: 
  • Shut off your panels before working on them (remember, they’re electrical equipment)
  • Always wear gloves—even unplugged, a charged solar panel can shock you
  • Use a hard hat, harness, and ladder support if you’re working on the roof
  • Avoid working in the middle of the day, as
    solar panels
    can get quite hot

Hiring a service

Sometimes, it’s just better to hire a pro. For example, if your solar panels are too high off the ground for you to work on safely or too dirty for you to clean on your own, it’s time to call a service. 
If you purchased your panels from a local business, check your contract to see if it includes a service plan. If not, the provider will likely have a list of recommended vendors they can share with you. 
Remember: solar panel professionals have all the necessary equipment to get the job done quickly and with a minimum amount of inconvenience to you. There is no reason to risk your own safety.
Key Takeaway Not all solar panels have the same maintenance requirements, so be sure to read the owner’s manual before you attempt to clean. Mistakes can be costly.

Does home insurance cover solar panels?

Because rooftop solar panels are considered a permanent attachment to your home, most homeowners insurance policies cover them. That means that you likely don’t have to buy any additional insurance. 
Panels not attached to your home, such as ground-mounted panels or solar panel carports, may not be covered. In addition, your solar panels may not be covered if specific
, such as
wind damage
It is essential to check the fine print of your policy to verify these and other details, including making sure you have enough coverage to replace or repair your panels if they are damaged. 
Have a question about your coverage? Jerry’s friendly agents are here to answer your questions and provide advice on the best coverage options. As your life changes, your
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