Techno-Economic Assessment of Soiling Losses and Mitigation Strategies for Solar Power Generation

Elsevier, Joule, Volume 3, 16 October 2019
Ilse K., Micheli L., Figgis B.W., Lange K., Dassler D., Hanifi H. et al.
Soiling consists of the deposition of contaminants onto photovoltaic (PV) modules or mirrors and tubes of concentrated solar power systems (CSPs). It often results in a drastic reduction of power generation, which potentially renders an installation economically unviable and therefore must be mitigated. On the other hand, the corresponding costs for cleaning can significantly increase the price of energy generated. In this work, the importance of soiling is assessed for the global PV and CSP key markets. Even in optimized cleaning scenarios, soiling reduces the current global solar power production by at least 3%–4%, with at least 3–5 billion € annual revenue losses, which could rise to 4%–7%, and more than 4–7 billion € losses, in 2023. Therefore, taking into account the underlying physics of natural soiling processes and the regional cleaning costs, a techno-economic assessment of current and proposed soiling mitigation strategies such as innovative coating materials is presented. Accordingly, the research and development needs and challenges in addressing soiling are discussed.