On the morning of Tuesday April 10th I noticed a thin layer of sand on my car. As I was driving to the office I heard the news bulletin mention that the beautiful sun rise was due to Sahara sand in the air. This made me realize that we might have a real soiling event in Delft!
One month ago, on valentine’s day, I got up at 4 in the morning. Not to surprise my wife with a breakfast but to catch a flight to Marrakesh in Morocco to visit the Green Energy Park of IRESEN (Research Institute for Solar Energy and New Energies). With me I brought two new DustIQ’s PV soiling monitoring systems for testing by Dr. Ahmed Alami Merrouni at this excellent site.
I’ve just returned from Spain where I installed a new test setup for DustIQ at Plataforma Solar de Almeria (PSA). This solar research site is located in the Tabernas Desert, 30 km from Almeria and is a perfect location to challenge our DustIQ to a dusty environment.
Last week, I went to the PV Operations conference in Munich, organised by NewEnergyUpdate. Besides pleasant talks with attendees during the networking breaks, I had the opportunity to speak about the importance of irradiance and soiling measurements for utility solar plants.
Measuring dust and soiling ratio is a new field of science. There are many opinions about it, but there is no large history of data and experience in measurements. Although the spot measurement of DustIQ is very precise, it is wise to do interpretation and use common sense when extrapolating the measurement value to the whole PV plant, or a part of it, for decision making. The DustIQ measurement value is true, but the question is whether this value is representative for the whole PV park.
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!
Although the Milan airport Malpensa is not the nicest place to be, it is just an airport and 50km (!) from Milan city centre, it was exciting last week; being the venue of the Solar Asset Management Europe conference. It was also a perfect platform to present our DustIQ Soiling Measurement System.
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.
A month after the official launch of DustIQ at Intersolar Europe the enquiries keep coming in, but we did not forget about the contest. Before and during Intersolar you could register to win a free DustIQ. From the many registrations we received we have selected 3 winners!
Last month I had a very interesting visit to Thailand.
We have a new distributor for the country, Precision Controls (Thailand) Ltd., and they had undertaken to install and operate a Kipp & Zonen ACFR factory-standard automatic calibration facility for pyranometers. Challenge number one was that they were in the process of moving into the first building to be occupied in a very nice new business park, and it was still under construction.
Luckily, some of the Precision Controls (PC) people had visited Delft in April and seen the calibration equipment and understood the preparations needed. The shipment is rather large, two full-size pallets and very heavy, and they could not receive it until the third week of May. They also had to prepare a suitable calibration laboratory and install a 24/7 VPN connection to exchange data with the calibration server at the factory – and there was no fibre-optic cable into the whole technology park.