So, you decided to get a solar system and join the ranks of thousands of world changers. First of all, congratulations! You are helping reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that harm the environment. Even better, becoming a freedom chaser by embracing clean energy with solar power is a great feeling. But now what? How do you keep that sleek SunPower array producing at top capacity?

The good news for homeowners is that solar panels are fairly low-maintenance. Seasonal rain and snow usually do most of the work, washing off a good amount of external buildup. However, it doesn’t hurt for homeowners to conduct a quick monthly inspection to ensure their system is primed for maximum production.

In most cases, occasional dirt and dust don’t reduce efficiency enough to make a significant impact. However, when built up over a long period of time, these elements can lead to a production loss of over 25%. Add to that debris from seasonal weathering, Saharan dust, pollen, or even ash from wildfires, and homeowners will most likely find a need to clean their panels. Further, for California residents in the midst of rolling blackouts, it is essential to keep solar panels clean so that the power they produce can reduce strain on the electrical grid.

Hands-on homeowners may feel it necessary to clean their solar panels once a year. But how do you clean solar panels? Generally, it’s best to hire a professional for the job; they can use the right tools and techniques to avoid some of the pitfalls, like scratching the glass or voiding the warranty if something goes wrong. They’ll have the equipment to do it safely, and they should have insurance in case something gets broken. We recommend that SunPower homeowners reach out to their local dealer to see if they will clean the panels or provide a referral to a company that can. Prices are usually based per panel, and the job typically takes less than an hour to complete.

But it’s really not too complicated! For many one-story homes, using a soft bristle brush with an extended handle can do the trick. And for rooftops that aren’t as easily accessible, you can use a high-pressure water hose nozzle from the ground at a safe distance. In either situation, you should clean from a safe and stable position, never from the top of the roof or on a ladder. Also, make sure the solar system is turned off before cleaning, and do it in the morning before the heat of the day arrives.

In conclusion, solar energy is well worth the small amount of maintenance that helps it run at maximum efficiency. Plus, homeowners can have confidence in SunPower’s solutions with the most comprehensive complete-system warranty in the solar industry for things that can’t be fixed with a good scrubbing.

This post originally appeared on the SunPower Resource Blog.