Meteorology Division of OTT HydroMet

Mastering the Sand in the Arabian Desert with DustIQ and NOMADD’s Cleaning Robots

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Dust poses one of the biggest challenges for solar energy in desert regions. The wind raises dust and sand daily, covering the PV modules with a lightproof blanket. On average, locations on the Arabian Peninsula are experiencing daily output losses of 0.6 % caused by soiling. In cases of strong sandstorms, losses can grow to a reported 60 % at a time. 

NOMADD Desert Solar Solutions at the King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, (KAUST) near Jeddah has developed a unique cleaning robot system for PV panels in desert locations. In 2019 we’ve partnered with NOMADD to evaluate product cleaning performance in real desert conditions.

The test design comprised three setups each consisting of a PV panel and a DustIQ sensor, and the results couldn’t be more satisfactory. We could prove that NOMADD’s cleaning robots do a great job in replacing manual cleaning, which is not only a physically demanding but also water-wasting way to clean the module surface. Beyond that, our DustIQ soiling sensors provided accurate measurements of the actual soiling ratio over the whole testing period, making them an essential tool for solar plants in dusty areas. Read our newest case study to learn more about the project and its results.

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