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Investigating the Technical Effectiveness of Different Photovoltaic Cleaning Methods in Dust-Intensive Climates
F.G. Alzubi, A. Alkandary, A.T. Al-Asfour
Cost Analysis, Soiling Losses, PV Cleaning Methods, Power Regaining
PV Systems - Performance, Applications and Integration
Subtopic: Operation, Performance and Maintenance of PV Systems
Event: 35th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
Session: 6BO.5.2
1514 - 1518
ISBN: 3-936338-50-7
Paper DOI: 10.4229/35thEUPVSEC20182018-6BO.5.2
0,00 EUR
Document(s): paper


In climates that are known for frequent dust events, performance of photovoltaic modules can drop significantly due to dust accumulation. Continuous in-field monitoring of PV modules studied in this work shows a soiling loss of 56 % in the power output over six months. This power loss is minimized by frequently cleaning the PV modules; however, this could lead to higher maintenance and operation costs. In this work we focus on investigating the effectiveness and the techno-economics of cleaning PV modules with de-ionized water, detergent, pressurized water, pressurized air, and self-cleaning coating. Amount of time, energy, and water consumed to clean in addition to recovered power after each cleaning event are evaluated. Results indicate that all cleaning methods were effective in recovering lost power within 3% range except pressurized air which could not recover power. Pressurized water cleaning was the fastest method (less than a minute) with the highest energy (average 13 Wh) and water (4.5 L) consumptions per module. Moreover, for residential system with 10KW in size, the cost analyses of all the cleaning methods are dominated by the equipment capital and replacement costs. Pressurized water cleaning method was the least expensive solution after a 25 years operation period based on the electricity and water prices considered in this study. It is possible to optimize the deionized water cleaning method by using a less expensive filter to a point where it is the most financially attractive. Same analyses were depicted for commercial PV system with100 KW size.