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With an elevation of 1000 m above sea level, once the coastal mountain range is crossed, the Atacama Desert receives the highest levels of solar radiation in the world. Global horizontal irradiations over 2500 kWh/(m(2)year) and a cloudiness index below 3% were determined. However, this index rises to 45% in the coastal area, where the influence of the Pacific Ocean exists with a large presence of marine aerosols. It is on the coastal area that residential photovoltaic (PV) applications are concentrated. This work presents a study of the soiling impact on PV modules at the coastline of Atacama Desert. The current-voltage characteristics of two multicrystalline PV modules exposed to outdoor conditions were compared, while one of them was cleaned daily. Asymptotic behavior was observed in the accumulated surface dust density, over 6 months. This behavior was explained by the fact that as the glass became soiled, the probability of glass-to-particle interaction decreased in favor of a more likely particle-to-particle interaction. The surface dust density was at most 0.17 mg center dot cm(-2)per month. Dust on the module led to current losses in the range of 19% after four months, which in turn produced a reduction of 13.5%(rel)in efficiency.


Olivares, Douglas;  Ferrada, Pablo;  Bijman, Jonathan;  Rodriguez, Sebastian;  Trigo-Gonzalez, Mauricio;  Marzo, Aitor;  Rabanal-Arabach, Jorge;  Alonso-Montesinos, Joaquin;  Javier Batlles, Francisco;  Fuentealba, Edward

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