NREL Efforts to Address Soiling on PV Modules

Lin Simpson, Matthew Muller, Michael Deceglie, Helio Moutinho, Craig Perkins, Chun Sheng Jiang, David Miller, Mowafak Al-Jassim, Govindasamy Tamizhmani, Sai Vasista Tatapudi, Leonardo Micheli

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

5 Scopus Citations


Natural soiling has reduced the energy output of PV systems since the technology was first used. Projecting even a small ~4% average annual soiling loss (found in some places in the U.S.), translates to ~10 GW of power loss worldwide, which correlates today to ~$2 billion in lost revenue annually, worldwide. Production losses due to soiling may be even higher in high soiling environments, substantially increasing the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). Furthermore, while soiling has been discussed in the literature for more than 70 years, solutions to many problems are still needed. NREL is working with the PV industry to develop the tools/knowledge so that the effects of soiling can be predicted for different environmental conditions and cost effective mitigation can be implemented. For this paper, we will describe our efforts to (1) predict PV module soiling rates based on environmental factors at a PV installation and from its energy production data, (2) quantitatively measure the adhesion forces to understand the physics enabling soiling, and (3) develop related standards on PV module coatings and artificial soiling. For example, NREL has used soiling station data to identify the most important environmental factors that are correlated with average soiling losses, and is using this information to develop models that accurately predict soiling losses at prospective sites without the need for local soiling stations. Furthermore, by providing a detailed understanding of soiling mechanisms and the corresponding requirements for PV module coatings, we are providing valuable information about what improvements in performance may be possible at a given PV site. Ultimately, this effort will help reduce the uncertainty in PV plant power output and maintenance requirements, and thus reduce costs.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2018
Event2017 IEEE 44th Photovoltaic Specialist Conference (PVSC) - Washington, D.C.
Duration: 25 Jun 201730 Jun 2017


Conference2017 IEEE 44th Photovoltaic Specialist Conference (PVSC)
CityWashington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5K00-68920


  • electronic packaging
  • photovoltaic cells


Dive into the research topics of 'NREL Efforts to Address Soiling on PV Modules'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this