When I was in the middle of preparations for field tests of DustIQ, Solarplaza published the whitepaper ‘Soiling - origins, measurements, analysis & solutions’. A subject that is the focus of a large team of Kipp & Zonen colleagues at the moment, soiling. It’s nice to see that we are not the only ones researching this matter!
What is soiling?
Soiling is the covering of the surface of PV panels by dirt, dust or other particles. It is one of the components, such as irradiance and temperature, which influences your PV plant performance. What makes soiling different from the other components is that you can do something about it, by cleaning your PV panels. But, when do you clean your panels? Measuring the panel soiling can give you the answer.
When I read the whitepaper, I immediately liked the nice overview that is given of the different aspects of soiling. It describes soiling on PV panels, how to measure the amount of soiling, and how and when to clean the panels.
One of my takeaways from the whitepaper is that “to measure soiling is of utmost importance to both operational PV plants and pre-construction site surveys”. This is in order to anticipate future plant performance and to assess the actual performance and optimize the cleaning schedule for operating PV plants. Another takeaway is the nice overview of the pros and cons of three different cleaning strategies; manual, mechanized manual and robotic.
Things that were new for me are the experimental research into preventive measures such as electrodynamic dust shields.
Things that confirm our research are that for the conventional clean/dirty two PV panel soiling monitors “the soiling loss measurement varies depending on the time of day”, as well as that “it is crucial to wash the clean PV reference frequently”. DustIQ does not have these issues, delivering a reliable soiling ratio at any time of the day or night, and not requiring frequent cleaning.
The DustIQ solution
DustIQ is mentioned in the whitepaper as a smarter method. I fully agree. Benefits of DustIQ are, as mentioned, a constant soiling measurement throughout the daytime (solar zenith angles) and no requirement for cleaning. This is thanks to the unique Kipp & Zonen Optical Soiling Measurement (OSM) technology. DustIQ is a smart soiling monitor with on-board digital electronics which communicates via Modbus® RTU protocol with your SCADA system or data logger.
A further benefit of DustIQ compared to the conventional method is the relatively small size and weight of around 4 kg as well as the more moderate price.
Download the whitepaper
The whitepaper ‘Soiling - origins, measurements, analysis & solutions’ is available to download from the Solarplaza website with this link. I highly recommend that you read it if you are not yet acquainted with the subject of soiling.
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