Environmental Stress Assessment

Project Development

Soiling risk map for the MENA region, developed at Fraunhofer ISE.
© Fraunhofer ISE

Soiling risk map for the MENA region, developed at Fraunhofer ISE.

The local environmental conditions play a key role in the energy yield and operating life of a PV power plant. We analyze the local conditions based on satellite data and continual measurement data from various geographical information systems (GIS). For example, we can accurately forecast the amount of mineral dust accumulation on PV modules, with which we estimate the expected degree of soiling. From this, we can determine the costs required for the module maintenance (e.g. cleaning interval).

Independent of the climate zone and conditions at the site, operational risks due to environmental stress can also occur and influence the power plant performance. We consider the following risks in our analyses:

Extreme Weather Events

  • sand storms
  • heavy snowfall
  • flooding

Continuous Climatic Loads

  • UV exposure
  • humidity and temperature cycles
  • salt content in the air
  • atmospheric corrosivity
  • soiling
  • abrasion from sand

Natural Hazards

  • global risks (earth quakes, volcanic eruptions, etc.)
  • local risks  (moving sand dunes, avalanches, etc.)