Your solar roof tiles are being used constantly for energy. With that comes exposure to the elements. This leads to the inevitable; routinely scheduling in time to clean solar roof tiles.

You might be wondering something simple like how to clean bird poop off solar panels. Perhaps there’s been a lengthy period of dry weather and no rainfall, resulting in a build-up of dust and debris. Maybe a light that used to flash isn’t flashing anymore. What does this all mean?

Read on to find out more about maintaining and cleaning your solar roof tiles, as well as your solar roof panels. Learn how and what you need to clean them safely, and whether rain is really an effective way to keep roof tiles clean without manual labour.

Table of contents

How to maintain solar panels

There are ways for you to help maintain your solar roof tiles yourself. Here we’ve broken down what maintenance is required for solar panels.


This one may seem obvious, but really think about how often you look at your roof unless you think there could be an issue, or you are certain there is some damage.

Some solar roof tiles have inverters with lights that flash green. If they’re flashing green, great! They’re working as intended. If not, get that sorted as soon as possible. No green flash means you’re losing money because something’s not working as it should be and you’re not compensating for your use of electricity as a result.

Another form of monitoring is checking the day-to-day performance of your solar panels. So, what can you do about that?

First, note down the amount of energy used at a specific time of day every day. Note the cloudy days and check for inconsistencies. Consider speaking with your manufacturer to learn what the most suitable monitoring system is for your solar solution.

You can also opt to display a mounted monitor on your wall. Great for quick checks since it’s easy to view.

Check if you can benefit from the ‘Feed-in Tariff’ (FIT) scheme

This is part of your monitoring process. By monitoring, you’ll see how much you benefit from the environment and the level of CO2 you emit into the atmosphere. This will, in turn, show you how much you could benefit from the FIT scheme.

Although the scheme closed to new applicants in 2019, you could be eligible to apply under specific circumstances. You can learn more about eligibility and the scheme on the Ofgem ‘Feed-in Tariffs’ page.

How to clean solar panels

There are multiple things to consider when you clean solar panels yourself. So, if you have decided not to use a cleaning service to help you clean your solar panels, you must be mindful of the following points. This includes knowing what to clean solar panels with.

Safety first – get yourself suitable PPE and tools

You’re working with chemicals, so you must protect yourself with suitable clothing.

Now, are you working from the ground or the roof? This will affect how you clean the panels.

If you’re working from the ground, grab yourself a long-handled wiper.

If you’re working on the roof, obtain safety ropes or a harness to support you. This is especially important during the roof’s cleaning as it could become slippery. This risks you sliding off the surface as you move. So, you must take proper precautions before performing any roofing task.

Turn off the system

This is also a safety priority. How you turn off the system will depend on the type of system you have. You can find out more under ‘Do I need to turn off solar panels to clean?’

Tools – Be careful with what you use

You may not know this, but solar panel cleaning kits do exist and are extremely useful. They typically come with all suitable products needed to perform a proper clean. You’ll likely find the following items:

  • Soap (biodegradable)
  • A wiper
  • A small brush or long-handled brush

With this, you’ll likely only need a bucket and water. Make sure to read manufacturer instructions to ensure you use the tools properly. With most kits, simply dip the brush into the bucket with the soap and gently wipe the solar panels to clean.

If you need to buy tools and soaps, do not (ever) use an abrasive sponge or soap. Things like this that use harsh chemicals or materials can damage the solar panels. This can result in costly repairs. So, always make sure you use soft rags or biodegradable soap to clean up asap.

If you’re cleaning regularly, running a hose along the panels can help remove dirt. This can also help minimise the number of maintenance calls you need to perform.

Busy schedule? Choose automated cleaning

If you know about sprinklers for gardens, this is similar. Automated cleaners work by cleaning as and when needed. So, you can ensure your solar roof tiles are regularly taken care of while you carry out other important tasks.

There is always, of course, choosing to go with a solar panel cleaning company too. Typically, the best option as they’re more likely to know what solar panels need.

Do you need to clean and maintain solar tiles?

Though durable and likely to need minimal maintenance, you must perform some form of service during their lifetime. Especially when it comes to dirt, leaves and debris. These can block the sun’s rays from reaching the panel’s surface.

Now, the level of maintenance and cleaning will depend on the level of grime and general wear and tear your solar solution is exposed to. So, do you need to clean solar panels often? Let’s find out.

How often do you need to clean solar tiles for a roof?

Most solar roof tiles need cleaning at least once a year. Maybe up to four times if you want to ensure they’re looking good all year round. This is because many types are designed with a special type of film that prevents rainwater from staying on the surface.

If you want to keep the roof tiles clean all year round, keep an eye out for bird droppings. These might be your most likely problem. In that case, contact a specialist who can clean the solar tiles with suitable equipment.

To prevent birds in future, invest in a bird deterrent! We have plenty for you to choose from. Don’t wait to prevent birds from leaving their mark and keep your solar tiles squeaky clean.

Hawk Kite Replacement

Does rain clean solar panels?

You’ll be pleased to know any excess dirt can indeed wash away thanks to rainwater. The UK is blessed with enough rainfall to the point that you can avoid constant cleaning of your solar tiles.

Now, rain does not occur all year round, so it’s not the best way to clean solar panels. In times when there is excessive dryness in the year, you will need to opt for cleaning them yourself or contacting professionals with suitable equipment.

With all that said, the degree to which your solar panel tilts will have an effect. The more tilted they are, the more likely dirt will be able to wash off with the rainwater.

Do I need to turn off solar panels to clean?

Yes. You must make sure you shut down the system before cleaning. You can do this using the procedure in your user manual or manufacturer’s operating manual for the inverter.

Not turning off your solar panel system can increase the risk of electric shock when the water meets the wiring.

You’ll also need to identify which type of system you have – AC or DC. No, this doesn’t refer to the famous band founded in Sydney, Australia.

What’s the difference between AC and DC?

AC and DC refer to the current flow of an electric charge. More specifically, they represent what form an electric current can take.

AC = Alternating current. This means the current changes directions quite frequently. Despite this, the back-and-forth motion of the electrons will still provide energy to the device at the end. If you have this type, you need to shut down the system via the solar supply main switch.

DC = Direct current. This means the current moves in the same direction. So, essentially it is a straight line from one end to the other. If you have this type, you will need to shut down the system completely.

Can you walk on solar panels to clean them

You can, but you’ll likely cause damage to them and void the warranty. You can also be at risk yourself as walking on them incorrectly can risk electric shock or electrocution. With this in mind, we advise not walking on your solar panels.

To minimise the risks, it’s best to contact a professional. If you insist on cleaning them yourself, refer to the above sections regarding how to clean your solar roof tiles safely.

Where to buy solar roof tiles

You can buy solar roof tiles right here at our Superstore! Whether you’re fitting a brand-new system or replacing an existing tile, we’ve got you covered.

Was this guide useful?

Thanks for rating this article.

Mentioned in this project guide: