Kipp & Zonen presented completely new technology and product to monitor PV panel soiling at Intersolar Europe 2017 in Munich.
Soiling of the panel glass is one of the major problems in the rapidly expanding solar energy market, with the attendant loss of efficiency and reduction in performance ratios. Now, there’s a new, simple and very cost-effective alternative. Based on Kipp & Zonen’s unique Optical Soiling Measurement (OSM) technology, DustIQ can be easily added to new or existing solar arrays and integrated into plant management systems. The unit is mounted to the frame of a PV panel and does not need sunlight to operate. It continuously measures the transmission loss through glass caused by soiling, so that the reduction in light reaching the solar cells can be calculated.
DustIQ measures the soiling ratio (SR), which can be translated to power loss in real time. This enables the plant operation and maintenance staff to know when a critical level of soiling is reached and it has become necessary to start cleaning procedures. Dust IQ needs no maintenance and is cleaned in the same way, and at the same time, as the panels around it.
Large solar parks have different soiling rates across the site, which is why IEC 61724-1 requires multiple measurement points. The significantly lower purchase, installation and maintenance costs of DustIQ compared to traditional systems make this much more economic, so that cleaning can be scheduled when and where it is needed.
DustIQ communicates digitally via Modbus® and has an input for an optional back panel temperature sensor. It can be networked with Kipp & Zonen Smart pyranometers for irradiance measurements and be integrated into a plant SCADA system.
The performance ratio of PV panels is primarily determined by four main parameters; the incoming solar irradiance, the cell (back panel) temperature, the soiling ratio and the power produced. So, DustIQ really is the missing link.