How to Clean Solar Panels: Systematic Guide

How to Clean Solar Panels: a Systematic Guide

Given the sizeable investment that a solar panel system represents, you’ll want to take care of it, which may require giving your panels a light cleaning every now and then. Solar panel maintenance is essential to ensuring your long-term benefits because solar panel ownership is an expensive investment. Here are a few pointers for cleaning and maintaining solar panels.

How to Clean Solar Panels: a Systematic Guide

Do Solar Panels Really Need to Be Cleaned?

The majority of dirt will fall off or be washed away as soon as it rains because solar panels are inclined. However, if you live in a dry area or there is a lot of ambient dust or sand, particles can accumulate in enough quantities to seriously reduce output by more than 20%. Bird droppings will also accomplish that!

Therefore, cleaning your panels might be necessary if you notice a change in production.

How to Decide When It’s Time to Clean Solar Panels

When the system’s efficiency starts to drop, that is the most obvious sign that the solar panels need cleaning.

Since cold air traps pollutants closer to the ground than warmer air during the summer, pollution is typically higher during the winter. Since solar panels get too hot to touch in the summer, spring is the ideal season to clean them. Cleaning them is best done in the morning or early evening when it is cooler.

Companies are experimenting with ways to monitor solar panel health using cutting-edge technology to reduce guesswork.

A method that attaches a sensor to the glass surface of a panel and uses an LED light to measure how much dirt has accumulated has been given a patent by researchers in Spain. In order to determine when soiling has started to reduce output, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is also working on a method of tracking the quantity of electricity panels produced each day.

The cloud-based platform from Ecoppia uses sensors and machine learning to track solar PV systems, gather weather information, and travel between trackers to clean panels on an ideal schedule.

How to Clean Solar Panels: a Systematic Guide

How to Clean Solar Panels?

Here are several ways to keep solar panels clean, from manual washing to fully automated technologies. Rainwater is able to wash away some of the dirt that builds up on solar panel surfaces over time, but it can also cause dirt to collect at the bottom of the panels and is insufficient to remove serious pollution.


Robotics technology enables businesses like Italy’s Washpanel to manufacture automatic and semi-automatic robots that are specifically made for cleaning solar panels. For panels installed on locations like carports, greenhouses, and shed roofs, it provides transportable semi-automatic robots. Additionally, it provides fixed roof robots for sizable installations in arid environments that demand routine cleaning.

Ecoppia uses solar-powered autonomous robots in the Middle East to clean PV panels each night with soft microfiber and airflow rather than water because high-pressure washing can harm the panels. The robots also quickly recharge their batteries in between operations and clean their own on-board solar panels.

Soap-less Brushes and Sponges

Solar maintenance businesses like the US-based Bland Company and Premier Solar Cleaning have discovered that using deionized water with a rolling or vehicle-mounted brush enables them to clean panels without using soap, which leaves a residue that not only shades panels but also attracts dirt.

To help water lift off dirt without leaving a film behind, Solar Panel Wash is made by lubricant manufacturer Polywater. SunSystem Technology cleans with a solution of diluted vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.

Additionally, home owners can manually clean their solar panels with a garden hose and a soft sponge without the use of any cleaning solutions.

Waterless Vibration

Scientists at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland and in a NASA-funded project in the United States have created methods to make solar panels vibrate to shake surface dust loose. In the Heriot-Watt solution, a panel with adjustable vertical vibration inducing properties is attached to a direct-current (DC) motor.

Nanoparticle Coatings

A solar panel coating has been developed by researchers at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) division of India’s Department of Science and Technology to keep dirt from building up on solar panels in challenging environments. The combination of high temperatures, high humidity, and high pollution in India has an impact on the efficiency of PV panels.

The nanoparticle-based technology repels dust so that it can be easily removed with water and is highly transparent so that the coating does not lower panel efficiency. The coating is being produced for commercial use by Marichin Technologies in India.

Manual Cleaning Work

A time-tested method is to manually clean the PV panels. While innovative and effective, robots, waterless vibration, and special coatings can also be quite costly and ineffective in certain situations. This is particularly true for small installations that are either residential or commercial in scope, as well as for unique buildings and installations like agrivoltaics.

There are a few tools that will be very helpful when cleaning solar panels to properly complete the task. On the one hand, the soil is removed from the panel using a variety of specialized brushes that rotate. Additionally, any straightforward cleaning tool, like those used on car windshields, could be of assistance.

Using water pressure devices, such as the Karcher High Pressure Washer, on the other hand, would enable us to finish the task much more quickly while conserving a significant amount of water.

Tips for Maintenance of Solar Panels

  • Keep solar panels out of the shade because they produce energy less effectively when prevented from absorbing any sunlight.
  • Check the inverters’ flashing green lights and the solar panels to make sure they are functioning properly. If they are not flashing, you are losing money because your electricity use is no longer being reimbursed.
  • Keep track of daily performance data to facilitate better solar panel maintenance. It’s important to record how much energy was generated at a regular time each day and to take particular note of any days when it’s been very cloudy. There will be some erratic results. (The best monitoring system for your solar panels can be given to you by your manufacturer.)
  • Monitoring systems help you see how much you are benefiting the environment and how much CO2 you are emitting into the atmosphere. They can also assist you in determining how much you could gain from the feed-in tariff program.
  • When you are at home, a wall-mounted display lets you see details about your solar panels’ maintenance.
  • You can install automatic cleaners that function like sprinkler systems or even make appointments with solar panel cleaning companies if you don’t have time to clean solar panels.
  • Fortunately, solar power maintenance might not be necessary because solar panels lack any moving parts that could be corroded or break down.
How to Clean Solar Panels: a Systematic Guide


So now that you are clear about the right way to clean solar panels, follow the steps described in the article to clean it if you need to, to make it work more efficiently. At the same time, pay attention to some maintenance tips.


What Should You Not Do When Cleaning Solar Panels?

Detergents may streak the panel’s glass, so try to avoid using them if at all possible. There is also a chance of scratching the panels when using abrasive powders. Given the characteristics of high-quality solar panel glass, the most difficult grime should be removed with clean water and a little scrubbing with a soft brush or sponge covered in coarse cloth.

What is the Best Thing to Clean Solar Panels With?What is the Best Thing to Clean Solar Panels With?

Use water and a soft, non-abrasive sponge or cloth to remove dirt and debris for best results and to avoid damaging your solar panels in any way. To avoid leaving behind residue, use a squeegee or chamois to dry, just as you would when washing your car or glass windows.

Is It OK to Hose Off Solar Panels?

Use a hose to rinse off the panels from the ground to remove light dirt and dust. The most secure, convenient, and economical way to boost your solar energy output is to hoist the panels down.

What Do Professionals Use to Clean Solar Panels?

A rolling or vehicle-mounted brush and deionized water can be used to clean solar panels without the use of soap, which leaves a residue that not only shades the panels but also attracts dirt. Companies like the US-based Bland Company and Premier Solar Cleaning have discovered this.