Measuring cleanness of solar photovoltaic systems with Soltell's Sensorless technology
Updated: Jun 20
The impact of soiling, including dust and dirt, can accumulate in a matter of weeks to over 20% in terms of solar PV performance reduction across the Mediterranean region, susceptible to dust from Middle Eastern and North African deserts. A similar effect is also observed in the South-Eastern and Southern US states. Furthermore, in urban and industrial environments an even more dramatic impact is made by fast accumulation of dust and soot. Manual or automatic cleaning is hence required to bring solar photovoltaic (PV) performance to optimal values. The means and the frequency of cleaning is of course a function of several variables, including system size, electricity generation tariff and local soiling factors.
However, the timing of PV system cleaning and its effectiveness for rooftop solar facilities has so far mostly been a matter of an educated guess. Soiling measurement hardware is expensive and requires frequent calibration to provide accurate results, which makes the vast majority of rooftop PV facilities to give up on this costly solution. Now, novel solutions are reaching the market to resolve the issue. The cleanness measurement capability of Soltell's Sensorless technology is a unique predictive maintenance tool for rooftop PV in terms of cleaning schedule, as well as optimizing other aspects of maintenance. It is powered with an Industrial IoT approach, allowing an ability to measure soiling ratio (SR) of individual solar PV plants, with no need for any add-on hardware sensor installation and calibration.
Fig 1. Cleanness factor (soiling ratio inverse) of solar PV systems with different system cleaning schedules in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Soiling effect measurement of rooftop solar PV systems - ability to detect the precise soiling impact on PV system performance with no extra hardware, utilizing Sotlell's Industrial IoT capability. Above in figure 1, you can see the comparison of automatically cleaned PV system (cleaned daily), periodically cleaned PV systems (once 2-3 weeks) and rarely cleaned PV system (once a season). There is an obvious trend of linear soling accumulation during the dry season with different soiling rates for each location, requiring a quantitative assessment for cleaning schedule optimization.