Skip to content

Trends: Solar panel cleaning robot

  • by
Trends: Solar panel cleaning robot

Window cleaning, a $5 billion industry, typically declines during recessions. But now, the rise of residential solar panels is making window cleaning companies more recession-resistant, by creating a new service they can sell that has the potential to do better during a recession.

Solar panels can get dirty, and as they do, their efficiency declines by up to 25% from the accumulation of pollen, dust, and residue. As a result, solar panel cleaning is often framed as a way to avoid losing money.

Much of the cleaning is still done manually, but larger commercial solar power installations are already switching to robots. As long as one panel is much like any other, a special-purpose robot can be an efficient way to get the job done at scale. More affordable robotic models are making their way into other markets, too, in the same way that the Roomba famously changed residential cleaning culture.

Window cleaning companies already have the sales infrastructure to reach homeowners, and the physical equipment for cleaning hard-to-reach areas, so they’re well-equipped to add solar panel cleaning to their roster of services. And while only 6% of US households have solar panels, adoption is rising quickly.