New standard for soiling test sets quality benchmark for PV module surfaces

Verstaubungstest im Soiling-Teststand
© Fraunhofer CSP
Die Performance von Anti-Soiling-Beschichtungen lassen sich in der Verstaubungskammer des Fraunhofer CSP entsprechend der VDI-Richtlinie 3956 standardisiert testen.

Qatar, Dubai, Morocco: New solar parks are currently being built in many desert regions. The heavy soiling of the photovoltaic modules with sand and dust in these places special demands on the properties of the module surfaces. A standard published by the VDI (Association of German Engineers) with Klemens Ilse from Fraunhofer CSP as the lead contributor now sets a uniform standard.

»The new VDI guideline gives us the opportunity to compare the performance of anti-soiling coatings for arid and semi-arid applications and now offer customers the tests in our dust chamber as standardized tests,« says Klemens Ilse. His research findings on the high levels of exposure to airborne mineral dust in desert regions formed one of the scientific foundations for the development of the standard. The guideline thus reflects the current state of knowledge of experts from a wide range of fields. 

According to Ilse, both manufacturers and users benefit from the new standard in equal measure: »Manufacturers could advertise with the norm-tested quality of their products; for users, in turn, it is a further step towards improved quality control of their plants.« 

Because the growing demand for photovoltaic solutions for desert regions made uniform standards for soiling tests necessary, the Association of German Engineers VDI and the German Institute for Standardization had founded a standardization committee in 2017. The resulting VDI guideline 3956 has been available in German and English since September 2020.

Further information on soiling issues and test in photovoltaics