Do Solar Panels Need To Be Cleaned?

A man cleaning a part of a solar panel. It is necessary to clean your solar panels

Look, I get it. You want cheap, if not free energy from solar power but you also don’t want to deal with the trouble of maintaining equipment. So, now you’re asking: Do solar panels need to be cleaned?

Getting straight to the point, no, solar panels generally don’t need to be cleaned because rain and gravity do that for you most of the time. However, there are situations where it could be necessary – and that opens up a whole new can of worms.

So, to clear up all your worries about solar panel cleaning, I’m covering a multitude of topics I’m sure you’re wondering about today. Tap on the bullets below to jump sections. Or, better yet, start reading from here.

Do Solar Panels Need Regular Cleaning?

Like I said, no. Solar panels rarely need cleaning as long as they are positioned to get enough rain and snowfall. If the solar panels are installed at a tilt of over 10°, water from rain and melted snow should be able to wash away dirt.


Cleaning solar panels would become a necessity if they were installed flat.

For one, water pools above your panels instead of sliding down. Mixed with dirt, this becomes grime that blocks sunlight. This ultimately lowers your system’s efficiency.

Recommended: Can you install solar panels on a flat roof?

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Regularly cleaning solar panels is also recommended if they gather dust more frequently.

For example, let’s say your solar panels are right below a tree where birds are nesting. Your array would get bird droppings all the time and it will decrease your system’s efficiency.

Another example would be if your house is right next to a construction site. You’d have dust all over your solar panels then, too.

Of course, there are other situations where your solar panels more frequently gather dust and other litter. In those times, yes, you will have to clean your solar panels regularly.

This brings us to the next question.

Does cleaning solar panels make a difference?

According to NREL, you can lose as much as 7% to 50% of the power you generate if your panels are dirty.

This range depends on where you live but, yes, cleaning solar panels can make a difference. And, yes, clean solar panels will have better efficiency.

Another source, the University of Wollongong here in Australia, described a seemingly small improvement of 3.7% as a “considerable increase”. I agree, especially since even modern solar panels have a rated efficiency of just 15-22%.

Now that we’ve established that clean solar panels are better, you might be asking:

Should you hire professional cleaners or do it yourself?

That all depends on you.

Hiring a professional team is safer. These servicemen will more than likely clean your solar panels better because they’re trained to do that. The downside is that they’re not free. So, if you’re willing to pay for convenience and safety, go right ahead.

Should you opt for professional cleaners or clean them on your own?

On the other hand, you can do it yourself. There are many ways to clean your solar panels but, generally, all you need is a garden hose. Just point your hose at your solar panels and let water and gravity do the cleaning for you. Climbing your roof isn’t necessary. Plus, it’s free.

Recommended: How to clean solar panels

How much does it cost to clean solar panels?

The cost of cleaning solar panels depends on a few things, including the size of your system (how many panels you have) and where your solar panels are installed.

Typically, though, a relatively small 2kW system in Australia will cost $100 to $300. Some cleaners will charge on a per-panel basis, too. Regardless, the harder to reach and larger your solar system is, the more expensive it gets to clean them.

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How to tell if your solar panels need cleaning

1. Your panels need cleaning if they’re visibly dirty.

This much should be obvious but if your solar panels appear darker than usual, or you can visibly see a good amount of dirt, bird poo, and other debris, then it’s time for maintenance. 

Most Australians have their solar panels installed on their roofs, though, and I assume yours is (will be), too. If that’s the case, how dirty they are won’t be readily visible. This brings us to the next sign.

2. You should clean your solar panels if the power output declines.

As previously stated, excessive dust build up will have a negative effect on your solar panel’s performance. This is true in terms of both efficiency, power output, and the consequent increase in your electricity bills. 

After a while of monitoring the performance of your solar system, you will have a rough average of how much power it generates in certain weather conditions. If it falls below that average, then it might be time to clean your solar panels.

P.S.: A reduced power output doesn’t always mean your solar panels are dirty. It could mean problems elsewhere on your system, too, so be sure to keep an eye out for your other components.

What type of solar panel need regular cleaning?

The type of solar panel you have won’t make a difference in its cleaning frequency.

So, whether it’s monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film, you will only have to worry about cleaning them if their condition affects your system’s efficiency.


Is cleaning solar panels difficult?

If you want to clean your solar panels, no, it doesn’t have to be difficult. There are various ways to get it done but, generally, all you need is to shower your solar panels using a regular hose. Alternatively, you can hire professionals.

How often should I clean my solar panels?

You should look to clean your solar panels every 6 months or so. However, this only applies to solar panels installed at an angle of fewer than 10 degrees or if they’re at a place where they frequently gather dust, pollen, bird poo, and others. Otherwise, the occasional strong rains do the trick.

What happens if I don’t clean my solar panels?

Generally, nothing. Unless your system gathers dust faster than average, the decline in performance will barely be noticeable. But, if your panels become excessively dirty, they lose their efficiency.


So, to recap, no, you generally don’t need to clean your solar panels regularly. You will only have to under certain conditions. Like if they were installed flat for example.

That being said, if you wanted more power, adding more solar panels to your system is a better option than constant cleaning. It makes you less reliant on the grid, so you save more money in the long run. But, more importantly, it offsets the need for constant cleaning. 

So, if you decide on increasing the size of your system, we can get you 3 FREE quotes from our network of pre-vetted installers right away.