Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Photovoltaic Cleaning Frequency Optimization Under Different Degradation Rate Patterns

Micheli, Leonardo and Theristis, Marios and Talavera, Diego L. and Almonacid, Florencia and Stein, Joshua S. and Fernandez, Eduardo F. (2020): Photovoltaic Cleaning Frequency Optimization Under Different Degradation Rate Patterns. Published in: Renewable Energy , Vol. 166, No. April 2020 (13 November 2020): pp. 136-146.

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Abstract

Dust accumulation significantly affects the performance of photovoltaic modules and its impact can be mitigated by various cleaning methods. Optimizing the cleaning frequency is therefore essential to minimize the soiling losses and, at the same time, the costs. However, the effectiveness of cleaning lowers with time because of the reduced energy yield due to degradation. Additionally, economic factors such as the escalation in electricity price and inflation can either compound or counterbalance the effect of degradation. The present study analyzes the impact of degradation, escalation in electricity price and inflation on cleaning frequency and proposes a methodology than can be applied to maximize the profits of soiling mitigation in any system worldwide. The energy performance and soiling losses of a 1 MW system installed in southern Spain were analyzed and integrated with theoretical linear and nonlinear degradation rate patterns. The Levelized Cost of Energy and Net Present Value were used as criteria to identify the optimum cleaning strategies. The results showed that the two metrics convey distinct cleaning recommendations, as they are influenced by different factors. For the given site, despite the degradation effects, the optimum cleaning frequency is found to increase with time of operation.

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