How Often Should You Clean Your Solar Panels in New Zealand?
Lichen growth on solar panels.

Installing solar panels is a big investment in renewable energy and saving on electricity bills. But to get the most out of your solar investment, regular maintenance including cleaning is crucial. This article explores whether solar panel cleaning is worth it and looks into the factors that affect their performance.

Why Clean Solar Panels Matter

Maximise Energy Output:

  • Dirt and Debris Impact: Solar panels are exposed to the elements and over time dirt, dust, bird poo and other debris can accumulate on the surface. This buildup blocks sunlight from reaching the solar cells, reducing their efficiency by 20-30%
  • Annual Cleaning Benefits: Regular cleaning ensures your panels are running at their best. For many installations an annual clean is enough to keep them efficient.
  • Fewer Maintenance Issues: Regular cleaning can help identify potential issues early, reducing the likelihood of unexpected system failures and downtime.

Factors To Consider

Environmental Conditions:

  • Urban vs. Rural: Panels in urban areas will be more polluted and dusty, while rural areas will have pollen and agricultural dirt.
  • Weather: Areas with lots of rain will get natural cleaning, but areas that are dry and dusty will require more frequent maintenance.

Proximity to Trees and Wildlife:

  • Bird Droppings and Pollen: Panels near trees or high bird activity areas will accumulate more debris and will need regular cleaning to prevent efficiency loss and damage.
Solar panels covered in bird droppings.
Solar panels covered in bird droppings.

Type and Angle of Installation:

  • Flat vs. Tilted: Tilted panels shed dirt and debris more naturally than flat panels. Flat panels will need more frequent cleaning to maintain optimal performance

Economic Benefits

Cost Savings:

  • Efficiency and Savings: Clean panels produce more energy which means lower electricity bills. The cost of professional cleaning is often covered by the savings generated from increased efficiency
  • Preventing Damage: Regular cleaning can prevent long term damage to the panels, such as scratches and corrosion which can cost thousands to repair or replace.

Professional Solar Panel Cleaning Services

Why Hire Professionals?

  • Specialised Equipment: Professionals use pure water systems and soft brushes designed specifically for solar panels, so a thorough and safe clean.
  • Safety and Efficiency: Cleaning solar panels, especially those on roofs, can be dangerous. Professionals are trained to handle these risks safely and efficiently.

Additional Solar Panel Maintenance Tips

Inspection and Monitoring:

  • Regular Checks: Do a visual inspection at least twice a year to check for visible damage, such as cracks or discolouration. Monitoring systems will alert you to big drops in energy production
  • Inverter and Wiring Maintenance: Check the inverter and wiring for signs of wear and tear. Make sure all connections are secure and not damaged.

Vegetation Management:

  • Prune Trees: Make sure no trees or vegetation are shading your panels, shading can reduce efficiency by up to 20%. Trim any branches that grow too close to the panels.


So is solar panel cleaning worth it? The answer is yes. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your solar panels is critical to get them running at their best, producing the most energy and lasting the longest. Some homeowners may choose to clean their panels themselves but hiring professional cleaning services ensures the job gets done safely and correctly.

For more information and professional services contact a solar panel service provider. Cleaning your panels is a simple but important part of looking after your renewable energy investment.

Follow these tips and your solar panels will be running efficiently and saving you thousands on your energy bills for years to come.