The history of solar soiling measurement can be traced back to the early days of solar energy research in the 1960s and 1970s. The first studies on solar soiling, also known as photovoltaic (PV) soiling, were conducted by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in the United States.
During this time, researchers found that dirt and dust on solar panels could greatly reduce their efficiency. They discovered that the accumulation of soiling on the surface of solar panels could reduce the amount of sunlight that reached the cells, resulting in a loss of power generation. This led to the development of methods for measuring and monitoring the soiling on solar panels.
One of the earliest methods for measuring solar soiling was the use of a light sensor. This sensor would measure the amount of light that was reflected off the surface of the solar panel, and from this measurement, researchers could calculate the amount of soiling present on the panel. This method was used for many years, but it had some limitations, such as the fact that it could not accurately distinguish between different types of soiling (i.e. dust vs. bird droppings).
Another early method entailed measuring the electrical resistance of the solar panel, and from this measurement, researchers could calculate the amount of soiling present on the panel. This method was more accurate than the light sensor method, but it was also more expensive and required more maintenance.
One emerging method for solar soiling measurement is using machine learning algorithms. These algorithms can automatically detect soiling rates and predict wash times, without the need for human intervention. The ARES soiling station uses this method by running sophisticated software to analyze soiling loss patterns and projections.
Solar soiling measurement has seen a progression from simple, low-tech methods to more advanced techniques that make use of modern technologies. As the solar energy industry continues to grow, we will continue to see improved soiling monitoring methods. With ongoing research and development, the future of solar soiling measurement looks promising, with the potential to make solar energy even more efficient and cost-effective.