Course paper / final thesis

Image-based soiling measurements of solar power plants

Starting date


Duration of contract

6 months


Allowance when receiving ERASMUS+

Type of employment


Would you like to contribute to a successful energy transition through your thesis at DLR’s Institute of Solar Research, one of the world’s leading institutions in the field of solar technology? And you are passionate about solar energy and energy transition? Then join our team!

The efficiency of solar power plants is reduced by dust deposited on the module surfaces. In the operation of solar power plants, the resulting efficiency and the costs spent on cleaning play an important role. To optimise the cleaning schedules and to be able to detect other errors, it is essential to measure the soiling losses of the solar collectors. This will be done using a drone-based camera while flying over a solar power plant. In the photos, soiling is visible even with the naked eye, as it increases the brightness of the collector surfaces by scattering light.

The reflected diffuse irradiation and the radiation scattered by the dirt overlap in the drone photos. To determine soiling from the photos, the diffuse component must be separated from the scattered light caused by the soiling. This separation is to be investigated and implemented in the thesis. Cloud movements and changes in sun position will be considered in the measurements.
Your work environment will be at our offices in Almería in sunny Southern Spain.

Your tasks will be:

  • You model the sky brightness for cloudless conditions based on measurements of solar irradiance.
  • You detect clouds in the drone photos of the collectors.
  • You implement and validate the model for the soiling measurement.
  • You document and present your work, if possible also in a scientific publication.

Your qualifications:

  • You are studying for a degree with a scientific background.
  • You can show good to very good academic performance.
  • You have skills/experience in MATLAB or Python.
  • You have the ability to work in a structured way independently but also as part of an international team.
  • You convince us with good communication skills.
  • German or English language skills are necessary for team coordination, scientific research and documentation.

Your benefits:

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalleled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Our human resources policy places great value on a healthy family and work-life-balance as well as equal opportunities for persons of all genders (f/m/x). Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

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Technical contact

Dr. rer. nat. Natalie Hanrieder
Institute of Solar Research

Phone: +49 2203 601-4226

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Rone Yousif
Institute of Solar Research

Phone: +49 2203 601-1256

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Vacancy 78805

HR department Cologne

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To location

DLR Institute of Solar Research

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