This is a two-part thesis. Part 1 presents the seasonal and tilt angle dependence of soiling loss factor of photovoltaic (PV) modules over two years for Mesa, Arizona (a desert climatic condition). Part 2 presents the development of an indoor artificial soil deposition chamber replicating natural dew cycle. Several environmental factors affect the performance of PV systems including soiling. Soiling on PV modules results in a decrease of sunlight reaching the solar cell, thereby reducing the current and power output. Dust particles, air pollution particles, pollen, bird droppings and other industrial airborne particles are some natural sources that cause soiling. The dust particles vary from one location to the other in terms of particle size, color, and chemical composition. The thickness and properties of the soil layer determine the optical path of light through the soil/glass interface. Soil accumulation on the glass surface is also influenced by environmental factors such as dew, wind speeds and rainfall. Studies have shown that soil deposition is closely related to tilt angle and exposure period before a rain event. The first part of this thesis analyzes the reduction in irradiance transmitted to a solar cell through the air/soil/glass in comparison to a clean cell (air/glass interface). A time series representation is used to compare seasonal soiling loss factors for two consecutive years (2014-2016). The effect of tilt angle and rain events on these losses are extensively analyzed. Since soiling is a significant field issue, there is a growing need to address the problem, and several companies have come up with solutions such as anti-soiling coatings, automated cleaning systems etc. To test and validate the effectiveness of these anti-soiling coating technologies, various research institutes around the world are working on the design and development of artificial indoor soiling chambers to replicate the natural process in the field. The second part of this thesis work deals with the design and development of an indoor artificial soiling chamber that replicates natural soil deposition process in the field.
- Seasonal and tilt angle dependence of soiling loss factor and development of artificial soil deposition chamber replicating natural dew cycle
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by Shalaim Virkar