While finalizing the last details of DustIQ I’m also getting ready to show it at some key events in solar energy: Intersolar South America in Sao Paolo, Solar Power International in Las Vegas, the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition in Amsterdam and Solar Asset Management in Milan. What I’ve learned so far at events is that we can talk about it for hours, but DustIQ is actually fairly simple in principle.
Hassle-free soiling measurement
Our recently announced DustIQ Soiling Measurement Solution takes the hassle out of PV panel soiling measurements. It doesn’t need AC power, brushes or water, or maintenance - and it supplies you with two separated sensor measurements. This is a valuable asset because they can be used to validate each other and to identify if one has an unusual reading; caused by bird droppings, for example.
Soiling measurement principle
The principle behind the DustIQ is clever, but elegantly simple.
- Kipp & Zonen’s newly developed Optical Soiling Measurement technology accurately measures the amount of pulsed blue LED light reflected from the surface of the panel glass and detected by a photodiode. More soiling reflects more light.
- DustIQ is Smart. Using its internal polynomials and calibration tables for different dust types it calculates the transmission loss. TL represents how much light is not getting through a PV panel to the solar cells below.
- From the transmission loss, it’s a simple step to the soiling ratio. SR is proportional to loss of power generated, reduced yield and lower performance ratio.
The real challenge is in achieving accurate measurements from -20°C to +60°C, representing conditions from a very cold night to scorching daytime heat in arid, desert-like environments - and maintaining this over a period of many years without maintenance or recalibration.
It’s here that Kipp & Zonen’s long experience with making high end instruments is exploited to the full.
Decades of experience in harsh climates
It was the very first thing I noticed when I started working at Kipp & Zonen; the products are deployed all over the world. And by all over, I mean from very very cold to very very hot climates. Humid, dry, at sea, in the air, they are used for so many different climate studies. I’ve talked to customers who had their pyranometers mounted on a ship for a mission to the Arctic, in the desert in Qatar and Mauritania, high-up on glaciers and upside-down under a drone.
What to do about dust?
Measuring solar radiation in dusty areas has its challenges too, but we offer the CVF4 ventilation unit to solve that problem with pyranometers.
Keeping PV panels clean would require immense ventilators and amounts of energy, so PV park owners rely on costly robotic or manual cleaning. We at Kipp & Zonen can’t solve that problem, but we can measure the amount of dust, with the new DustIQ, and help operation and maintenance people to make informed and cost-effective decisions about when and where to clean.
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