How to Clean Under Solar Panels

Cleaning solar panels is important because dirty glass shades your solar panels, significantly limiting the energy you can produce from your system. Although some panels may easily be cleaned by rainfall, a thicker layer of dirt may require some hands-on scrubbing. Cleaning under your solar panels can be even more work, as you may need to break up the debris that’s gathered under the panels. 

Just like servicing your car or air conditioner, cleaning and servicing your solar panels regularly will ensure optimal performance, which means lower power bills for you. 


What dirt can collect on top of a solar panel?

How dirty your solar panels will get, and the source of the dirt, will vary based on your location. Common sources of dirt include ash, dust, bird droppings, leaves, and fungus dropped from trees. 

Solar panels at a greater than 10-degree angle are less likely to gather a large amount of dirt. If you’re located near a large number of birds or trees, however, you may find your panels need more regular cleaning. 


What dirt can gather under a solar panel?

If your solar panels are on a flat roof, a variety of dirt and animal matter may collect underneath. Some common things we see under solar panels include leaves, bird nests, piles of dirt from airborne dust, and moss or lichen.

The type of dirt under your panels will vary based on your location. Bushfires, pollution, trees, birds, and animals can all play a part in causing buildup under your panels.  


How to clean under solar panels:

Although cleaning the top of your solar panels can be fairly straightforward, cleaning under them can be a little more fidgety and require a little more work. Depending on what’s gathered under your panels, there are a range of options for cleaning them:

  • Leaf blower – if you have a pile of leaves collecting under your panels, the fastest way to get rid of them is by utilising a purpose-built leaf blower.
  • Gutter whisker – designed to clean leaves out of gutters, these are also an excellent solution to cleaning out leaves under your solar panels. 
  • Extendable broom – to dislodge engrained patches of dirt and leaves, specially designed extendable brooms can help break up debris. 
  • Hose – a gentle hose under the panels can also help dislodge debris. 

Note: you should never use a pressure washer on your solar panels. They can remove the silicon on the solar panel (which is a waterproofing barrier) which will eventually lower the life span of your solar system, and void the warranty. 


How to keep the area under your solar panels clean

Cleaning your solar system is never a fun job, so we recommend a few key steps to keep the area under your panels clean if you’re finding dirt and debris a regular issue. 

  • Bird mesh – placed around the outside of your panels, this is one of the best options if you have regular visits from wild animals. 
  • Empty your gutters – depending on the style of roof and placement of panels, overflowing gutters can end up pushing more debris under your panels. 
  • Trim back overhanging trees – tree branches are the leading cause of debris, and also attract birds. Keeping tree branches trimmed back is the best way to keep your solar system clean and producing efficiently. 


Get the professionals

A number of companies these days offer a cleaning service. The advantages of a professional cleaning service include:

  • You don’t have to do it (one of the biggest perks).
  • They have seen dozens and dozens of installs. They can often judge beforehand if they see something out of the ordinary with your system. 

If you’re looking for a professional clean or solar inspection, we can help. Reach out to our friendly team to find out what’s involved.