solar panel cleaning

Cleaning a solar panel means removing dirt, dust, and other material from its surface in order to keep its efficiency as well as its power production. Although solar panels are usually made to require little care, with time dust, grit, and other irritants may gather on the panels’ surface, reducing their capacity to absorb sunlight and produce electricity.

Solar panel cleaning is carefully cleaning the surface of the panels using water and soft cleaning tools like a brush, microfiber cloth, or towel. It’s crucial to prevent from using anything abrasive or harsh that might scratch or harm the panels’ surface. Solar panels should be cleaned on a regular basis to maintain their optimal performance and power production. Cleaning routines may vary depending on the location, temperature, and quantity of dust or debris present. Professional solar panel cleaning services could be required in particular situations to guarantee that the panels are properly maintained and cleaned.

solar panel cleaning

Solar Panel Cleaning

An oil- and serviced-up vehicle runs better and lasts longer. We desire our windows to be crystal clean, just like we want our set of wheels to be dirt-free. We should to approach solar panels in the same way. By keeping our solar panels, we can be sure that they will operate at their peak, be risk-free, and keep supplying electricity to our home or place of business for many years to come.

How location affects solar panel cleaning

Location can have a significant impact on the frequency and method of cleaning solar panels. Here are some ways that location can affect solar panel cleaning:


Solar panels in areas with high rainfall may need less frequent cleaning as rain can help to rinse away dust and debris. Conversely, in arid regions with low rainfall, dust and debris can accumulate more quickly, requiring more frequent cleaning.

Dust and debris

The amount of dust and debris in the area can impact how often solar panels need to be cleaned. In areas with high levels of air pollution or dust, panels may need to be cleaned more frequently to maintain their efficiency.

Proximity to trees and vegetation

 Solar panels located near trees or vegetation may require more frequent cleaning as leaves, sap, and bird droppings can accumulate on the surface of the panels.

Height and accessibility

Solar panels that are installed on rooftops or in hard-to-reach areas may require more specialized equipment and techniques for cleaning, increasing the cost and difficulty of maintenance.

Orientation and tilt angle

 Solar panels that are installed at a steeper tilt angle may require less frequent cleaning as rainwater can help to wash away debris. Panels that are installed at a lower tilt angle or in a horizontal orientation may require more frequent cleaning as debris can accumulate more easily.

Overall, the location of solar panels can impact the frequency and method of cleaning required to maintain their efficiency and maximize their power output. It’s important to consider these factors when installing solar panels and planning for their maintenance.

How to clean solar panels

Solar panels may be cleaned using a variety of methods, including fully automated systems and hand cleaning. Rainwater is capable of washing away some of the dirt that builds on solar panel surface over time, but it can also cause dirt to collect at the bottom of the panels and is enough to remove major pollution.

Non-Automated Cleaning

Cleaning modules in this category actually rarely employ automation. About all of the activity is done by hand. In order to clean dirt from the modules, a brush or cloth is often utilized. In nations where labour is cheap, this kind is typically used for small-scale roof top systems, such as commercial and residential systems or small-scale power plants. Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are designed to last 25 to 30 years and require little maintenance after installation. Nevertheless, maintaining them clean is still necessary to maintain maximum power production.

In some areas of the US and as much as 50% in the Middle East, energy losses due to accumulated dust and grime on solar panels can reach 7% yearly. So how should dust be cleaned from solar panels? Let’s examine the best methods for preserving PV panels’ cleanliness as well as a few elements that have an impact on their maintenance and cleaning.

  • Robotics

Companies like Italy’s Wash Panel are now able to make automatic and semi-automatic robots that are specifically made for cleaning solar panels due to advances in robotics technology. For panels put on places like carports, greenhouses, and shed roofs, it supplies moveable semi-automatic robots. Moreover, it provides permanent roof robots for significant installations in dusty settings that need frequent cleaning.

While cleaning PV panels in the Middle East at night, Encolpia uses solar-powered autonomous robots that use soft micro fibber and airflow rather than water since high-pressure washing might damage the panels. The robots instantly recharge their batteries in between tasks and clean their own on-board solar panel

solar panel cleaning
  • Soap-less brushes and sponges

A traditional soap, which leaves a coating that not only colours panels but also wants to attract dirt, solar maintenance companies like the US-based Bland Corporation and Prime Solar Cleaning have found that using detail in this chapter water with a rolling or vehicle-mounted brush can successfully clean solar panels.

A Solar Panel Wash from lubricant manufacturer Poly Water helps water take off filth without leaving a film behind. To get rid of grime, Sun System Technology combines diluted vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Also, homeowners may manually clean their solar panels with a garden hose and a soft sponge without the need of cleaners.

  • Waterless vibration

Researchers at Herriot-Watt University in Scotland and a NASA-funded program in the United States have based approaches to vibrate solar panels in order to shake surface dust off.

  • Manual cleaning work

The old way of manually cleaning the PV panels works well. Although innovative and effective, technologies like robots, waterless vibration, or special coatings can also be highly expensive and fail in some situations.

Semi-Automated Cleaning

In this category, cleaning PV modules includes both a sizable amount of automation and an equally significant manual input. Work is done either by moving vehicles and cleaning machinery to clean the panels directly, or by applying robots manually put on the modules. A few of these sorts have been around for some time. The categories that it may be further split into are as follows:

Robotic Cleaning System (Semi-Automated)

Robots identical to those used in fully automated cleaning may be used in this sort of cleaning, but in order to clean every row of the power plant, these bots must be manually moved from one row to the next, from one end of the tracker to the start of the next, or as the situation may require. Although there are many various machine designs on the market, there are rarely any bridges linking the robot parking spaces and rows.

Vehicle Driven Cleaning System

The cleaning device, typically a brush with controls, is attached to a tractor or other appropriate human-driven vehicle in this sort of cleaning. To prevent any damage to the panel surface, each machine features a safety system that controls the pressure that the driver or operator applies to the brushes when using the PV panels. As the vehicle needs a large turning radius at the ends of the rows in order to turn around without wasting precious cleaning time, the latter option often requires more land.

Here are a few examples of various kinds of cleanings and service providers, without any hint of preference.

solar panel cleaning

Fully Automated Cleaning

This kind works well and amazingly consistently thanks to the Electronic Robotic Cleaning System (ARCS). Compared to the other two categories, automation is often at a higher level.

Cleaning tasks are completed with the aid of robots, also known as bots, which are currently located on each row in the power plant. From one end of the modules’ row to the other and back, these robots travel along the panel edges. On one side of each row, they are parked or docked at a Docking Station. These stations might also be located inside the rows if they stretch far beyond robot’s range of motion in one direction. Bridges that fill in the gaps make it easier for robots to move from one array or tracker to another. The robots turn back towards their respective docking stations when they discover Return Stations installed at calculated locations.

How to clean solar panels without water

In areas with limited water resources, a novel cleaning method may be able to remove dust from solar arrays, enhancing performance.

By 2030, it’s anticipated that solar energy would contribute for 10% of all power generation globally, with a large portion of it likely taking place in desert regions where sunshine is abundant. Regular cleaning is necessary for such installations since the build-up of dust on solar panels or mirrors is already a major problem and may decrease the output of photovoltaic panels by up to 30% in only one month.

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