Surface acoustic wave (SAW) technologies have been widely utilized for sensitive surface cleaning and particle steering applications in micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS). This study investigates application of SAWs for cleaning of solar PV panel surfaces. Spoiling of photovoltaic (PV) solar panel surfaces is one of major problems that can reduce energy efficiency of PV solar energy systems in outdoor conditions. Rough mechanical cleaning methods can easily damage surface of panels and hence they can reduce efficient working life-span of panels. Therefore, sensitive and electronically controllable self-cleaning techniques are needed to keep PV panel surface cleaner. This study presents a theoretical analysis for detachment phenomenon of dust particles in interaction with SAWs. These analysis considers adhesion forces and effects of gravity in cleaning process and results reveal underlying mechanisms involving in particle detachment process. We derive sufficient conditions that are required for removal of a dust particle from inclined panel surfaces in case of SAW interactions. Experimental studies are conducted with spoiled PV solar panels, and cleaning effects of SAWs on solar panel surface are demonstrated. (C) 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.