The Abrasion of Photovoltaic Glass: A Comparison of the Effects of Natural and Artificial Aging

David Miller, Bobby To, Joshua Morse, Paul Ndione, Helio Moutinho, Lin Simpson, Chaiwat Engtrakul, Aaesha Alnuaimi, Jim John, Asher Einhorn, Clare Lanaghan, James Newkirk, Derek Holsapple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus Citations


Natural soiling and the subsequent requisite cleaning of photovoltaic (PV) modules result in abrasion damage to the cover glass. The durability of the front glass has important economic consequences, including determining the use of antireflective and/or antisoiling coatings as well as the method and frequency of operational maintenance (cleaning). The abrasion of coatings and 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 with those subjected to artificial-brush testing. The characteristics of material integrity, surface energy, optical transmittance, surface roughness, and scratch size were examined using an optical microscope, contact goniometer (for water), spectrophotometer, interferometer, and atomic force microscope, respectively. The findings of this article 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 in developing an abrasion standard for the PV industry.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number8902042
Pages (from-to)173-180
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011-2012 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-73164


  • Abrasion
  • antireflective (AR) coating
  • antisoiling (AS) coating
  • erosion
  • operations maintenance


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