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.
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!
Since starting at Kipp & Zonen and my first encounter with solar energy in 2015 the industry has been booming. Although important strides have been made, the industry continues to struggle with some basics as it develops into maturity.Many practical issues such as “how should I wire my solar panels across the plant?”, “how many pyranometers do I need?” and “when should I clean my solar panels?” are still not well answered. For me, this last question particularly struck a spark of inspiration; there seemed to be room in the market for finding new and simple solutions.