An In‐Depth Field Validation of “DUSST”: A Novel Low‐Maintenance Soiling Measurement Device

Matthew Muller, Leonardo Micheli, Alvaro F. Solas, Michael Gostein, Justin Robinson, Kenny Morely, Michael Dooraghi, Yusif A. Alghamdi, Zeyad A. Almutairi, Florencia Almonacid, Eduardo F. Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus Citations


This study presents indoor and field validation results for two versions of the “DUSST” optical soiling sensor, intended to be a low-cost and low-maintenance device for measuring photovoltaic soiling losses. Indoor testing covers irradiance calibration and temperature dependencies, which are necessary to achieve high accuracy, low uncertainty field measurements. Field testing includes an array of different environments including Saudi Arabia, California, Utah, and Colorado. DUSST versions include a configuration with a 530-nm light emitting diode (LED) (discussed in previous work) and a unit with seven white LEDs and a polycarbonate collimating optic. The new design increases light intensity fivefold and demonstrates a single linear calibration coefficient is effective to measure soiling losses as high as 75%. Field data from Utah and California demonstrate that daily soiling loss measurements and soiling rate calculations closely match both reference cell and full-size module measurements of soiling losses and soiling rates. Corrective methods employed on the Utah DUSST sensor suggest that it is possible to achieve measurement errors as low as ±0.1% at two standard deviations. Field data from both Colorado and Saudi Arabia demonstrate that LED lens soiling can occur and that further design optimizations are needed. The lesson learned from all the field deployment locations suggests directions for future design improvements.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)953-967
Number of pages15
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-78792


  • field testing
  • photovoltaics
  • sensor
  • soiling
  • thermal characterization


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