Maintaining solar panels at their highest efficiency is crucial as the use of solar energy increases globally. We often consider everyday dangers such as dust, bird droppings, or tree shade. However, lichens, a less known environmental offender, can drastically lower the efficiency of solar panels.

Lichens are complex creatures made up of the connected coexistence of fungal and algae or cyanobacteria. They can withstand extreme environments thanks to their incredible resistance, and they can be found all over the world. Unfortunately, they pose a serious problem when they get on your solar panels due to their strength.

What is The Effect of Lichen on Solar Panel Efficiency

Anything that prevents sunlight from reaching the solar cells can have a major impact on the efficiency of the process. This includes lichens, which can develop on the panels’ surface and physically block sunlight from reaching the cells.

Depending on the size of the growth and how much of the panel’s surface is covered, estimates indicate that lichen growth can impair solar panel efficiency by up to 5–6%. This may not seem like much, but over time, especially for larger solar installations, it can build up to a considerable loss in energy production.

For example, a residence with a 5 kW solar system may experience power losses of between 225 and 300 watts. This could result in hundreds of kilowatt-hours of energy being wasted over the course of a year, just because of a tiny covering of lichen on the panels.

Helping Manage and prevent lichen growth

1/ Regular maintenance and cleaning your solar panel are crucial, not only to keep your warranty in order, but also to preventing the accumulation of lichen and other debris on your panels. This includes visually inspecting the area for any indications of lichen growth, especially in humid environments or during periods of intense rain.

2/ Professional cleaning services are typically advised to be used at least once a year on your panels. Lichens can be removed by experts safely and damage-free thanks to their equipment and knowledge of solar panels.

3/ Use of Surface Protective Coatings: The surface of the panels can also be treated with Surface Protective coatings. These coatings are made to help with lichen spores from sticking to the panels, thus limiting their ability to thrive.

4/ Proper Panel Installation: Solar panels should be positioned so that water will run out of them naturally, cleaning them and preventing the growth of lichen.


Even though lichen damage to solar panels is less well known than other things that can lower efficiency, it is a problem that can have serious consequences for your solar Panels and their efficiency. – Panel care and protection