PV Evolution Labs Introduces New Soiling Measurement System for Solar Photovoltaic Modules

Standalone or integrated Soiling Stations reduce uncertainty in measuring energy output in the field

BERKELEY, Calif.--North America's premier PV module testing lab, PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), today introduced a new Soiling Station program for measurement of power and energy loss due to module soiling in the field. Soiling is the accumulation of dirt on PV modules, which can reduce annual energy output of a plant by up to 10% depending on the site location. Rather than guess about the level of soiling occurring, PVEL customers can now be certain about the performance of an existing site, or the expected performance at a proposed site.


"The measurement of soiling is essential if a project owner or developer wants to truly understand measured or expected performance," said Evan Riley, a PV Specialist at leading global consultancy Black & Veatch. "When done with a prospecting station, soiling measurement reduces uncertainty in forward looking production estimates. At operational plants, soiling measurement allows for more accurate performance testing and performance assessments, and frequently a higher return on O&M dollars."

Available as a standalone unit or integrated with a plant's existing monitoring system, PVEL's Soiling Stations use two full-sized modules, with one allowed to soil naturally while the other is cleaned with an automatic washing system. Power and energy are monitored for both modules and additional modules can be added to the system and cleaned at varying intervals, allowing for O&M staff to determine optimized cleaning schedules for their system. On modules that have coatings designed to repel dirt, the soiling station can be used to compare and evaluate the effectiveness of those coating technologies.

"Solar project developers rely on PVEL's ability to reduce or eliminate uncertainty when it comes to PV power plant output. Measuring soiling is gaining attention because, as solar assets become a greater part of investor portfolios, accurate modeling and measuring of performance are critical to solar project investment," said Jenya Meydbray, CEO of PV Evolution Labs.

About PVEL

Headquartered in Berkeley, CA, PV Evolution Labs (www.PVEL.com) was founded on the principle that understanding PV module performance and aging behavior through rigorous testing is fundamental to reducing risk in solar investments. For solar project development, PVEL provides unique data driven technical advisory services.

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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.