Natural soiling is responsible for about 4% output power loss and may be adding one cent per kilowatt hour to the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) depending on the site. Soiling is a complex problem that increases uncertainty and drives up the LCOE through lost energy production, increased operation and maintenance costs, and financing rates. For this project, NREL will develop a predictive soiling model and a soiling rate map of the U.S. based on the available and, if necessary, additionally collected data and use it to provide O&M guidance to industry.
This project will determine criteria to help predict site-specific soiling losses and examine basic soiling mechanisms in order to develop accelerated testing. Researchers will expand the available field data and quantify complex soiling mechanisms, comparing the data to accelerated tests. The goal is to validate a new model for soiling loss, characterize various coatings, provide site-specific guidance to avoid and reduce soiling, and develop a set of standards with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
This project will provide the PV industry with improved performance prediction modeling that includes the effect of soiling based on the system location. That will allow the PV industry to determine the best soiling mitigation strategies.