Design, Characterization and Indoor Validation of the Optical Soiling Detector “DUSST”

Álvaro Fernández-Solas, Leonardo Micheli, Matthew Muller, Florencia Almonacid, Eduardo Fernández

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus Citations


Nowadays, photovoltaic (PV) technology has reached a high level of maturity in terms of module efficiency and cost competitiveness in comparison with other energy technologies. As PV has achieved high levels of deployment, the development of devices that can help to reduce PV operation and maintenance costs has become a priority. Soiling can be cause of significant losses in certain PV plants and its detection has become essential to ensure a correct mitigation. For this reason, accurate and low-cost monitoring devices are needed. While soiling stations have been traditionally employed to measure the impact of soiling, their high cost and maintenance have led to the development of innovative low-cost optical sensors, such as the device presented in this work and named “DUSST” (Detector Unit for Soiling Spectral Transmittance). The thermal characterization of DUSST's components and the methodology used to predict soiling transmittance losses are presented in this study. The results show that the losses can be predicted with an error lower than 1.4%. The method has been verified with an experimental campaign with naturally soiled coupons exposed outdoors in Jaén, Spain.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1459-1468
Number of pages10
JournalSolar Energy
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 International Solar Energy Society

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-78490


  • Monitoring
  • Reliability
  • Sensor
  • Soiling
  • Thermal characterization
  • Transmittance losses


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