Debunking Common Myths About Solar Panel Cleaning

Debunking Common Myths About Solar Panel Cleaning
Eco Shine Solar Robotic Cleaning

Maintaining solar panels is crucial to ensure their efficiency and longevity. Yet, several myths about solar panel cleaning persist, leading to confusion and poor maintenance practices. This article aims to debunk common myths surrounding solar panel cleaning, providing clarity and guidance for solar panel owners in New Zealand.

Myth 1: Solar Panels Don’t Need Regular Cleaning

Reality: Contrary to the belief that solar panels are ‘self-cleaning,’ regular maintenance is vital. While it’s true that panels are relatively low-maintenance compared to other energy systems, they are not immune to the accumulation of dirt, pollen, bird droppings, and other debris. These can significantly reduce the panels’ ability to absorb sunlight, thereby decreasing their energy output. Studies have shown that dirty solar panels can suffer from up to a 25% decrease in efficiency compared to clean panels. Regular cleaning ensures that panels operate at peak efficiency, translating to more electricity generation and greater savings on energy bills.

Myth 2: Rainwater is Enough to Keep Solar Panels Clean

Reality: While rain can help rinse away some surface dirt, it’s not enough to thoroughly clean solar panels. Rainwater often leaves behind a residue of dust and pollen. In areas with heavy pollution or a lot of bird activity, rainwater alone is insufficient to remove all the accumulated grime. Over time, without proper cleaning, this residue can become baked onto the panel surface, necessitating more intensive cleaning measures to restore the panel’s efficiency.

Myth 3: You Need to Turn Off Your System for Cleaning

Reality: There’s a common misconception that solar panel systems need to be powered down completely before cleaning. However, this is not the case. Solar panels are designed with safety in mind and can be cleaned while they are operational. Even when turned off, the panels will still be live in sunlight, as they continue to generate electricity. Professional cleaners are trained to handle live panels safely, using appropriate tools and techniques to avoid any risk of electric shock or system damage.

Myth 4: Cleaning Solar Panels Can Damage Them

Reality: If done correctly, cleaning solar panels poses no risk of damage. The key is to use the right tools and techniques. Soft brushes and pure water are typically sufficient for cleaning solar panels without causing scratches or other damage. High-pressure hoses or abrasive cleaners should be avoided, as they can indeed cause harm. Professional solar panel cleaners are well-versed in the appropriate methods to ensure thorough and safe cleaning.

Myth 5: Cleaning Panels in the Middle of the Day is Harmful

Reality: A common myth suggests that cleaning solar panels in the middle of the day, especially with cold water, can cause thermal shock and damage. However, in New Zealand’s temperate climate, the risk of thermal shock is minimal. The moderate temperatures mean that the panels do not reach the extreme heat levels that might make them susceptible to rapid temperature changes during cleaning. While it’s generally advised to clean panels during cooler parts of the day to ensure optimal safety and cleaning effectiveness, midday cleaning in New Zealand is not the hazard it might be in hotter climates.

Myth 6: DIY Cleaning is Just as Effective as Professional Cleaning

Reality: While DIY cleaning can be somewhat effective, it does not match the level of cleanliness achieved by professional services. Professional cleaners use specialised equipment and have the expertise to identify and address specific issues such as stubborn stains or areas needing repair. Without the proper tools and knowledge, DIY cleaners might not only fail to clean the panels thoroughly but also risk damaging them or, more importantly, injuring themselves.


Demystifying these common myths underscores the importance of informed maintenance practices for solar panel owners. Regular, professional cleaning ensures that solar panels operate efficiently, extend their lifespan, and continue to provide sustainable energy. In New Zealand, where environmental conditions are conducive to safe and effective solar panel maintenance, it is particularly advantageous to engage professional cleaning services to maintain your solar energy system.

Don’t let myths hinder the performance of your solar panels. Ensure they’re getting the care they need to operate efficiently. Contact Eco Shine Solar today to schedule a professional cleaning service or to learn more about best practices in solar panel maintenance. Trust the experts to help you maximize your solar investment while contributing to a cleaner, greener New Zealand.