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Dew as a Detrimental Influencing Factor for Soiling of PV Modules

: Ilse, K.; Figgis, B.; Khan, M.Z.; Naumann, V.; Hagendorf, C.


IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics 9 (2019), No.1, pp.287-294
ISSN: 2156-3381
ISSN: 2156-3403
Bundesministerium fur Wirtschaft und Energie BMWi (Deutschland)
0325735C; FI-DELITAS
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF (Deutschland)
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IMWS ()
Fraunhofer CSP ()

Soiling of photovoltaic (PV) modules can significantly reduce their energy yield by reflecting or absorbing the incident light and is of great importance for operation and maintenance of PV systems in dusty environments. In this paper, we examine the influence of dew-which is formed on PV modules during night and early morning hours-on soiling processes. Outdoor experiments were performed in desert conditions in Qatar using unheated and heated glass samples supplied with different heating powers, as well as outdoor microscopy studies. In addition, laboratory soiling experiments were performed using different dust types, controlled dust removal by centrifugal forces at different relative humidity levels, and defined dew cycles. Results from both the field tests and laboratory soiling experiments showed a significant impact of dew on particle adhesion, removal, and corresponding soiling rates, which was independent of the dust type. Microstructural investigations using electron microscopy were performed to determine the cause of increased particle adhesion. Heating of glass surfaces during the night can significantly reduce the processes of cementation, particle caking, and capillary aging and, thus, reduce soiling. This study indicates that the prevention of condensation can be a method to mitigate soiling.