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980 Whiteville Rd NW, Shallotte, NC 28470
Shelia Smeltzer

Owner/ Operator

Your satisfaction is our ultimate goal while our workers will leave your home or building in great condition and can take care of all your window cleaning & pressure washing needs.

Your Reliable solution for SOLAR PANEL CLEANING services for your home or business

Solar panel cleaning is a young and growing industry. As solar is adopted, so is the need for solar panel cleaning. Solar panel cleaning is limited to a standard solar panel and is applicable to the residential, commercial, industrial, and utility-scale segments.

Disruptive innovations like Ubiquitous PV transparent windows, Envelon’s PV facades, and GAF Energy’s first nailable shingle are disrupting the solar panel cleaning industry. How will the solar panel cleaning industry be segmented in the very near future?

How is the solar panel cleaning industry segmented

As we can see in the video, solar panel cleaning is quickly evolving into a space that could be more appropriately called PV surface cleaning. As technology advances, photovoltaic energy can be produced in more ways than from a traditional solar panel Examples include:

  • Transparent Photovoltaic Windows
  • Colored Photovoltaic Facades
  • 1st Nailable Roof Shingle by GAF energy
  • Others

Most solar panel cleaning projects are for tilted angles, not vertical ones. Cleaning vertical surfaces bring multiple challenges like technique, safety, and liability. Safety Hazards include electrocution and roof access requiring proper PPE and a Job Hazard Analysis and Safety Work Plan.

A key differentiator between solar panel cleaning and other cleaning services is that revenue loss is the main driving force behind the growth of this industry. Dirty solar panels produce less power and hence less revenue.

These estimates are for standard solar panel cleaning services and not the new and up-and-coming ones which we should start to see in 2030 which include:

  • Transparent Photovoltaic Windows
  • Colored Photovoltaic Facades
  • 1st Nailable Roof Shingle by GAF energy
  • Others

What are the challenges in solar panel cleaning?

The IWCA President Sheila Smeltzer communicated that the drivers for solar panel cleaning are different than for window cleaning. While window cleaning is primarily done for aesthetic reasons, solar panel cleaning is done for economic reasons.

One of the biggest challenges we have as an institution is to bring transparency to how much dirty panels are costing Americans and the world. The IWCA has partnered with Soilar Technologies, a NextGen PV Soiling Mitigation company that is dedicated to understanding the financial impact of photovoltaic (PV) soiling and solving PV soiling challenges.

According to IEA-PVPS Task 13, PV soiling is estimated to cost 4 – 5% of energy production or the equivalent of and €4 billion to €7 billion this year. Other PV Soiling cost estimates state 20 billion as an annual loss. “While it is nice to have estimates, the IWCA seeks to have actuals to help give this segment a good foundation for success.”

Another very important challenge we have to face in this industry is Safety. Cleaning solar panels is a very dangerous job and the IWCA is well-established in safety for the window cleaning industry. Our organization is very effective in mitigating risks with our highly qualified set of certified safety instructors

  1. Stefan Bright, IWCA Safety Director, Certified No. 220-000
  2. Jorge Aguilar, Empire High Rise, Certified No. 220-002
  3. Michael Draper, Expert Safety Services, Certified No. 220-003

As we tackle safety, it is vital that we incorporate people specialized in solar panel cleaning safety as Steve Williams founder of ISCA. He will be participating in the solar panel cleaning safety committee.

Another challenge we face is having a profound understanding of this industry. The window cleaning industry is over 150 years old and the solar panel cleaning industry is at most 20 years old.

Last but not least, solar is growing and solar panel cleaning will as well.

There is clear evidence that there is growth in the industry. The demand for solar panel cleaning has had a consistently growing trend for 14 years worldwide. 306 gigawatts of solar energy will be installed by 2030 in the USA.

The United States is estimated to add 306 Gigawatts of solar by the end of 2030.

The solar panel cleaning service market is estimated to be on par with the window cleaning industry by 2030.

2021 Window Cleaning Service Market Size = $1.9 Billion

2030 Solar Panel Cleaning Service Market Size = $335 Million – $2.2 Billion

As the world races to net zero, it is clear that solar energy is not limited to a standard solar panel and that photovoltaic energy can be produced from multiple surfaces. As these surfaces get dirty or more accurately “Soiled”, they underperform. The option not to clean does not exist. Brandi Harper, who serves on the IWCA Board of Directors, sums it up this way: “Since the invention of glass, window cleaners have dutifully gone about their work of cleaning glass surfaces for reasons of safety, security, health, and visual appeal. Now the stakes are raised with the necessity of solar panel cleaning, a service critical to protecting and preserving our energy infrastructure.” Both industries will be converging and have challenges that need to be addressed.