International Journal of Energy Research, Vol.42, No.3, 1298-1307, 2018
Sand erosion of solar glass: Specific energy uptake, total transmittance, and module efficiency
Surface roughness, R-Z, normal transmittance, (N), total transmittance, (T), and photovoltaic (PV) module efficiency, (S), were measured for commercial solar glass plates and PV test modules identically sandblasted with different loads of quartz sand (200-400m), impact inclination angles, and sand particle speed. Measured data are presented versus the specific energy uptake during sand blasting, E (J/m(2)). Cracks, adhering particles, and scratch-like textures probably caused by plastic flow phenomena could be observed after sand blasting. Their characteristic size was much smaller than that of sand particles. After blasting and subsequent cleaning, the glass surface was still covered with adhering glass particles. These particles, cracks, and scratch-like textures could not be removed by cleaning. For sand blasting with =30 degrees inclination angle and E=30000J/m(2), normal transmittance, total transmittance, and relative module efficiency decreased by 29%, 2% and ?2%, respectively. This finding indicates that diffusive transmission of light substantially contributes to PV module efficiency and that the module efficiency decrease caused by sand erosion can be better estimated from total than by normal transmittance measurements.