Soiling Related Abrasion and the Development of a PV Abrasion Standard

David Miller, Chaiwat Engtrakul, Helio Moutinho, Matthew Muller, Bobby To, Sarah Toth, Lin Simpson, Asher Einhorn, Clare Lanaghan, Leonardo Micheli

Research output: NRELPresentation


The natural soiling and consequent cleaning of photovoltaic (PV) modules result in abrasion damage to the cover glass. The durability of the front glass has important economic consequences, including the use of antireflective and/or antisoiling coatings as well as the method and frequency of cleaning-maintenance. The abrasion of glass and coated glass has been explored in a field study, including the soiling-prone locations of: Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Kuwait city (Kuwait), Mesa (Arizona), Mumbai (India), and Sacramento (California). Dry brush cleaned specimens will be compared to those subject to artificial brush testing or falling sand abrasion. The characteristics of material integrity, optical transmittance, surface energy, surface roughness, and scratch size were examined using an optical microscope, spectrophotometer, contact goniometer (for water), interferometer, and atomic force microscope, respectively. The findings of this study will be used to provide feedback regarding the cleaning equipment, cleaning methods, and coatings used in the PV industry. The study here will also be used to aid the development of an abrasion standard for the PV industry.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NamePresented at the International PV Soiling Workshop, 30 October - 1 November 2018, Golden, Colorado

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5K00-72850


  • brush testing sand abrasion
  • cleaning methods
  • modules
  • optical transmitttance
  • photovoltaic
  • PV
  • solar panels
  • standards
  • surface energy


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