Cleaning of photovoltaic farms

The number of photovoltaic panels used in the construction of photovoltaic farms, and the resulting large area requiring attention, cause owners of photovoltaic farms to use the services of specialized photovoltaic panel cleaning companies 99% of the time!

The accumulation of dust and dirt on the photovoltaic surface reduces the penetration of solar radiation into the photovoltaic cells and ultimately to drops in energy production from the photovoltaic system. Preventing losses due to dirty photovoltaic panels, photovoltaic farms and photovoltaic installations require frequent cleaning and washing. Its frequency depends on geography and location.


Research on yield losses at larger PV farms is quite interesting. Delving into the paper “The Influence of Cleaning Frequency of Photovoltaic Modules on Power Losses in the Desert Climate,” for example, we see that dust-induced power losses have been measured for four selected cleaning frequencies of photovoltaic installations (10 days, 20 days, 1 month and 3 months). The study found that up to 13% power loss occurred in photovoltaic panels that remained dusty for 3 months, compared to panels that were cleaned daily. PV cleaning after 15 days brought losses down to 4%, which was considered the most cost-effective PV cleaning time in this study, given the reasonable balance between cleaning costs and energy wasted due to fouling. Someone, however, may say that the research involved desert areas.

Studies by other scientists and research centers (from research by the Department of Materials Science at the Gdansk University of Technology, to institutes in Germany, Switzerland, Italy or Egypt) show losses associated with the lack of cleaning of panels and photovoltaic farms between 5 and as much as 25%. So it is worth educating investors that cleaning is not an invention and very visibly translates into their profits!

At large photovoltaic farms, our Lighthief service technicians use three types of equipment to wash the surface of photovoltaic panels:

  • are arms that wash photovoltaic panels (usually with a number of different sensors and cameras) attached to various types of vehicles
  • self-propelled robots cleaningphotovoltaic panels applied to rows of photovoltaic panels
  • kits for manual cleaning of photovoltaic panels that work with reverse osmosis filters or other devices that produce demineralized water necessary to properly perform the service

It all depends on the construction of the photovoltaic farm, its degree of dirtiness, location, size(a 1MW photovoltaic farm and a 10MW one are cleaned logistically differently) Farms of different sizes have different needs and are subjected to different washing processes.

Farms and larger photovoltaic installations located in the following areas may require more frequent cleaning:

  • Photovoltaic farms near industrial areas
  • Photovoltaic systems near agricultural or heavily dusty areas
  • photovoltaic installations near seaports
  • Photovoltaic farms near forests, mines, coal-fired power plants,gravel pits

In these locations, photovoltaic systems are exposed to increased loads of soot, dust, sand, agricultural mist and pollen. Depending on the level of contamination, this will require several system cleanings per year.

It is also common for photovoltaic farms to provide a range of other services to their owners from grass cutting to drone inspections or audits from thermal imaging photos

Large quantities of demineralized water must also be delivered to the PV farm and they are often located in areas that are difficult to access or without paved access!

The photovoltaic farm cleaning services performed by Lighthief are secured by appropriate third-party liability contracts with insurers. Insurance covers not only accidental damage to photovoltaic panels but also yield losses generated because of it.

Photovoltaic farm cleaning is always a service that stems from a clear challenge posed by the investor! A photovoltaic farm is a financial investment that is expected to bring tangible and measurable results in the form of profit from the sale of electricity to the final consumer. Cleaning photovoltaic farms generally improves their yield and the life of individual photovoltaic modules.

The result obtained from cleaning a photovoltaic farm is ultimately a percentage value that indicates that the efficiency of a photovoltaic system increases over the course of a year, thanks to the cleaning and washing of the photovoltaic panels that make up the system. This value, not only amortizes the cost of washing photovoltaic panels but increases the return on investment in photovoltaic modules and farms!

Check also:

Cleaning of small photovoltaic installations

O&M services


Lighthief is innovation, technology and science in the service of recycling photovoltaic panels and wind farms. The company's topics of interest touch on recovery and recycling in the broadest sense, mainly in the field of RES, or renewable energy sources.


St. Kazimierza 2B, 42-226 Częstochowa, Poland

+ 48 797 897 895

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+48 797 897 895