Dew as a Detrimental Influencing Factor for Soiling of PV Modules

Klemens Ilse, Benjamin Figgis, Muhammad Zahid Khan, Volker Naumann, Christian Hagendorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Soiling of photovoltaic (PV) modules can significantly reduce their energy yield by reflecting or absorbing the incident light and is of great importance for operation and maintenance of PV systems in dusty environments. In this paper, we examine the influence of dew—which is formed on PV modules during night and early morning hours—on soiling processes. Outdoor experiments were performed in desert conditions in Qatar using unheated and heated glass samples supplied with different heating powers, as well as outdoor microscopy studies. In addition, laboratory soiling experiments were performed using different dust types, controlled dust removal by centrifugal forces at different relative humidity levels, and defined dew cycles. Results from both the field tests and laboratory soiling experiments showed a significant impact of dew on particle adhesion, removal, and corresponding soiling rates, which was independent of the dust type. Microstructural investigations using electron microscopy were performed to determine the cause of increased particle adhesion. Heating of glass surfaces during the night can significantly reduce the processes of cementation, particle caking, and capillary aging and, thus, reduce soiling. This study indicates that the prevention of condensation can be a method to mitigate soiling.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2018



  • Photovoltaic systems
  • solar energy
  • solar panels
  • surface contamination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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