Dust accumulation in photovoltaic installations reduces its efficiency in energy generation. The severity of this problem depends on the physical characteristics of the dust layer and the maintenance of the installation, although it can lead to losses of up to 50% in the most unfavourable cases. It is estimated that the economic impact of this effect could lead to losses equivalent to € 2.9 billion for the energy sector.
As part of the SoilSense project, an experimental research study will be carried out to determine the design parameters of an optical sensor system that will allow monitoring the presence of dust in photovoltaic installations. In addition, data processing models based on intelligent algorithms will be developed in order to predict the impact of dust on the energy performance of the installation from the response of this sensor system. There are currently no satisfactory commercial solutions for this problem, and no tools to optimize clean-up performance to minimize performance losses.
Soilsense is an INNOTEC project funded by ACCIÓ and is entitled “Photonic Technologies for the Monitoring of Dust Particles in Photovoltaic Devices“. It starts in May 2022 and ends in November 2023. The project has a total budget of € 155k, is led by LENZ, in collaboration with Victor Izquierdo from the Solar Energy Materials and Systems group at IREC as a TECNIO technological partner.
Lenz Instruments will develop intelligent algorithms to predict the transmittance of the dust layer, and its effect on the efficiency of solar panels. On the other hand, the role of IREC is to implement an optical system for optical characterization of dust particles.
As a result of this project, IREC plans to generate highly specialized knowledge that will allow to access new opportunities for collaborations in the field of research. The industrialization of the results of the project will allow the development of innovative systems in the field of monitoring and management of photovoltaic installations, favouring the development of new business models aimed at offering these high value-added services.
This project has received the support from ACCIÓ.