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Correlating photovoltaic soiling losses to waveband and single-value transmittance measurements

Micheli, Leonardo, Caballero, Jose A., Fernandez, Eduardo F., Smestad, Greg P., Nofuentes, Gustavo, Mallick, Tapas K., Almonacid, Florencia
Energy 2019 v.180 pp. 376-386
energy, glass, solar energy, transmittance, wavelengths, Spain
This paper presents the results of an investigation on the spectral losses of photovoltaic (PV) soiling. The transmittance of a glass coupon exposed to natural soiling outdoors in Jaén, southern Spain, has been measured weekly and used to estimate the soiling losses that various types of photovoltaic materials would experience if installed in the same location. The results suggest that measuring the hemispherical transmittance of the soiling accumulated on a PV glass coupon can give enough information to quantify the impact of soiling on energy production. Each PV technology is found to have a preferred spectral region, or a specific single wavelength, for which the transmittance through a PV glass coupon could be used for the best estimation of soiling losses. Overall, considering the average spectral transmittance between the extreme wavelengths of the material-specific absorption band, or the transmittance of soiling at a single wavelength between 500 and 600 nm yields the best estimations for different PV technologies. The results of this work can lead to innovative approaches to detect soiling in the field and to estimate the impact of spectral changes induced by soiling on PV energy production.