Impact of soiling on Si and CdTe PV modules: Case study in different Brazil climate zones

Suellen Silva Costa, Lawrence Kazmerski, Antônia Sônia Diniz

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12 Scopus Citations


Soiling, particulate accumulation on photovoltaic (PV) module surfaces, reduces the available solar resource and the resulting generated device power. This case-study summarizes initial results of 5-year research on the contrasting soiling conditions in the tropical, subtropical, and semi-arid climates in Brazil. A major objective is to present a case study of the effects of soiling on PV module performance in different Brazil climate zones that represent the primary areas for the current and expanding Brazil solar installations. For this, the paper presents methodologies to quantify the soiling ratio (SRatio) and soiling rate (SRate) for two representative commercial technologies, polycrystalline or multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) and thin-film cadmium telluride (CdTe) modules, through soiling monitoring stations deployed in the selected climate regions. An aim is to add to the growing soiling-research knowledge base through addressing these key factors and their relationships to critical electrical, solar resource, thermal, and local meteorological and environmental parameters. This paper presents, evaluates, and compares soiling rates and losses in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais (Equatorial Tropical: 19.92° S, 43.99° W), Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul (Humid-Subtropical: 30.05° S, 51.17° W), and Brotas de Macaúbas, Bahia (Semi-Arid: 12.00° S, 42.63° W). The results show that soiling is moderate in all 3-regions, for example with 0.1%/day < SRate < 0.2%/day for Belo Horizonte. Precipitation dominates the cleaning of the modules in the summertime in this climate zone, while it is the major factor year-round in Rio Grande do Sul. Wind is the major issue mitigating the soiling accumulation for the Bahia installation. The methodology incorporates several key refinements, including the normalization and adjustment for the meteorological parameters (temperature, irradiance, wind, precipitation). The evaluations include the region-specific differing effects of non-uniform soiling, natural cleaning, and ambient temperatures.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number100084
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management: X
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-80330


  • Climate
  • PV Modules
  • Soiling rate
  • Soiling ratio
  • Soiling station


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