Novel software to optimize PV cleaning strategies


Germany-based Virtuous-Re GmbH has developed the new PVradar Cleaning App to optimize cleaning strategies in PV systems. The software is reportedly able to model soiling losses and cleaning benefits, while reducing cleaning costs and maximizing the overall economic performance of projects.

“PVradar is developed by a team of photovoltaic engineers and software engineers with many years of experience in the field of soiling estimation and cleaning optimization,” CEO Thore Müller told pv magazine. “PVradar is the software we wish we have had in our previous jobs.”

Developers can reportedly import detailed designs or run quick scans based on high-level descriptions of a plant. It is possible to later revise the app's settings. The next step is to assess the ambient conditions of a plant.

“To avoid teams having to analyze and format data from various sources, PVradar supports automatic import of both soiling, rain, and irradiation data from public databases,” Müller explained. “If no soiling measurements are available, the soiling conditions are estimated from satellite measurements of airborne particulate matter suspended in the air and 20 years of historic precipitation.”

The third step involve s selecting the cleaning systems and operation models. Each cleaning system is described by a set of technical parameters.

“The model includes lifetimes for each system and sub-components such as brushes, tanks, and batteries,” said Müller.

Users of the app can also choose different operating models for each cleaning technology.

“With this, the user has already completed their tasks. The software now takes over and optimizes the optimal cleaning strategy of each of the selected alternatives,” Müller said. “Based on data from the past 20 years, the algorithm first simulates the soiling level the plant would have experienced if it was only cleaned by rain. Then, and for every year individually, it finds the optimal cleaning schedule that maximizes additional revenues after additional costs.”

Virtuous-Re said it plans to eventually expand its approach to other technologies such as bifacial modules, albedo enhancers, and battery storage.

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