Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 11

The Effects of Dust and Water

Drops on the Performance of

Photovoltaic Solar Cells: A
Case Study at Shah Alam
Residential Area
Student: Mohd Amiruddin Bin Abdul Aziz
UiTM ID: 2012618852
Supervisor: Dr. Nor Afifah Binti Yahaya Commented [U1]: Format: Follow exactly as example


Solar Photovoltaic(PV) is a well-proven technology for producing electricity,

where the global production has been increasing 370 times since 1992. Commented [U2]: intro
However, the efficiency of the solar cell will drop if there are any deposition
on the top of the solar cell, especially in industrial area such as Shah Alam,
Selangor. Dust is one of major components of particulate matter and rain
drops is one of the general related weather condition in Malaysia. Thus, it is Commented [U3]: Problem with current situation
essential to find the effect of dust and water (due to the rain) drops on the
performance of PV solar cells. The current–voltage (IV) characteristics of Commented [U4]: Significant of the project
photovoltaic panels reveal extensive information to support degradation
analysis of the panels. The solar panels are exposed under sunlight for 150
hours period and fixed 15˚ tilt angle in order to accumulate the dust. The dust
deposition on the panel’s surface results nearly 10 percent of losses in
efficiency. However, for water droplets a negligible effect can be seen as
efficiency of the PV panel reduce to less than 1 percent. Commented [U5]: Our project methodology and signiificant
Keywords: solar PV; natural dust; water drops; efficiency

1.0 Introduction

Malaysia has a strategic geographical location which has a solar

irradiation ranging from 1400 to 1900 kWh/m²/year [1] with an average about
1643 kWh/m²/year [2] and more than 10 sun hours per day [3]. However, air
condition issue in urban area and extreme rainfall may give a challenge for
effective utilization of solar photovoltaic (PV) in Malaysia. There are several
cities that being detected having the air pollution phenomenon included Shah
Alam [4]. The extreme rainfall in Peninsular Malaysia also showed an
increasing trend between the 1975 and 2010 with notable increasing trends in
short temporal rainfall was observed during inter-monsoon season [5]. These
two factors; the accumulated dust and rain droplets on solar PV panels could
be a major factor in the drop of efficiency of the panel. Commented [U6]: problem statement
There were a wide scope of studies carried out on the effect of dust
worldwide although with different setting, environment and time frame.
Generally, recent studies can be categorized by two experimental setups which
are laboratory and outdoor setup.
In laboratory dust effect studies, a controlled environment test
chamber equipped with a solar simulator to provide simulated sunlight and a
pyranometer to measure and control irradiance are used for simulating field
conditions. There were several results that focusing on laboratory soiling
studies of PV panels and glass cover plates, and the effect of dust deposition
on their performance. Normalized power and efficiency losses of PV panel
caused by deposition of three different sizes of limestone particles cement, and
carbon with dust concentration density of 25 g/m2, carbon particulates, found
particularly in urban areas due to incomplete combustion of fuels in industrial
plants and automobiles, have severe deteriorating effect on the performance of
solar collectors [6].
Since carbonaceous particles arising from anthropogenic sources and
forest fires are generally fine particles, they can travel a long way. Three
common air pollutants with relatively high light-absorption coefficients are red
soil containing oxides of iron, limestone, and carbon-based ash (combustion
products). Attenuation of light caused by these particles with different
concentration was studied by depositing test dust on polycrystalline silicon PV
panels [7].
In general, most outdoor studies on dust deposition were carried out
with one module cleaned on a regular basis, and others left unattended to
collect dust. Energy yield losses against time are reported based on
experimental data obtained from the un-cleaned and routinely cleaned
collectors. Syed et al. conducted a study on the effect of dust fouling on the
transmittance of PV module glass cover. The results indicated a 20 percent
reduction in glass transmittance and a 5 g/m2 of dust accumulation on the glass
cover of PV modules tilted at 26˚ (Lat of Dhahran) and exposed for 45 days
[8]. In Singapore, Jia T. W. et al. found that transmission of bare glass reduces
despite the heavy rains over several months. Samples located nearer to the
sources of dust and other contaminant particles such as heavy traffic were more
adversely affected as compared to those which were situated in greenery. After
33 days, transmission through plain glass slides reduced from 90.7% to 87.6%
For outdoor condition, the investigation also was conducted through
data collection from weather station and solar institution. Mejia et al. found
that the change in efficiency of a large commercial site (86.4 kWdc) was found
to be 0.21% per day [10]. Commented [U7]: Literature review;indoor and outdoor
The study in Malaysia that related to effect of dust and rain drops on
PV solar cells’ performance was done by Sulaiman et al.. This indoor
experiment shows between 65% to 74% reduction in output power due to dust
and 0.5% to 4.3% of the power reduction due to water droplets. The data shown
that when PV solar cells covered by water droplets from rain or mist would
result negligible effect on the output power thus no obvious degradation on
performance of PV solar cells [11]. Commented [U8]: Literature review-case study: Malaysia
However, despite the many studies on the impact of obscuring
elements such as dust on solar PV panels, there were no similar study found in
hot and humid tropical countries, where the investigation set up based on
natural outdoor condition especially in industrial area like Shah Alam. On the
other side, the high rainfall rate in Malaysia must be taken into consideration
to investigate the effect on performance PV solar cells. The influence of
weather conditions such as air velocity and humidity are not considered in this
study. Commented [U9]: Significant of this project / in this study what
hv we done

2.0 Methodology

2.1 Investigation of dust effect

The outdoor test-bed installed at the residential area of Desa Alam,
Shah Alam (3.08˚ N, 101.48˚ E) for accumulating the natural dust on the PV
panels. There are several notable dust or contamination sources nearby
including industrial park and construction area as there are parts of still under
development surround the location. The plan view of the dust accumulation
outdoor location is as shown in Fig. 1 below.

Fig. 1: Test-bed location (red circle) in residential area of Desa Alam (blue)
with nearby industrial park and construction area (red). Source: GoogleMaps
The test-bed consisted of two identical open-rack mounted
polycrystalline PV panels installed side-by-side and tilted at 15˚ to the ground
facing southwards [12]. The specifications for the PV panels used are listed in
Table 1. Both panels experienced the same instantaneous irradiation levels,
ambient temperatures, humidity and wind incidence. The duration of this
process is more than three months where it starts from the middle of January

Fig. 2: The test-bed with mounted PV panels for dust accumulation.

At the same time all other weather parameters were taken such as
daily weather condition, temperature, wind speed, wind direction and relative
humidity. The arrangement for the outdoor dust accumulation on the PV panels
is depicted in Fig. 2.2 as shown above.

Table 1
SLP-005-12 panel specifications.
Module dimensions (mm x mm) 305 x 188
Cell dimensions (mm x mm) 50 x 19
Cells per module (units) 36
Cell area per module (m2) 0.0342
Electrical specifications
Rated power, Pmax (W) 5
Rated voltage, Vmpp (V) 17.5
Rated current, Impp (A) 0.29
Open circuit voltage, Voc (V) 22.0
Short circuit current, Isc (A) 0.32
Green Energy Research Centre (GERC), UiTM Shah Alam has been
selected as location for performance measurement. This is because of the
availability of the solar measurement kit. The measurements have been carried
out for every 25 hours of dust accumulation on PV panels.
The IV characteristics for each of the panels are plotted and logged
using TRI-KA solar module analyzers and the plane-of-array irradiation is
measured using the TRI-SEN irradiation sensor. The module surface
temperatures are measured using TRI-SEN and are recorded.

Fig. 3: The equipment’s arrangement during measurement includes the

cleaned (above) and dusty panels.
The equipment’s arrangement during measurement process is shown
in Fig. 3. During the measurement, the weather conditions must remain
constant throughout the measuring process. A significant change in the weather
will produce unreliable results of the characteristic curve measurement.

The equation for the PV panel’s efficiency loss is shown as follows:

𝜂𝑐 − 𝜂𝑑
𝜂 𝐿𝑜𝑠𝑠 = 𝑥 100% (1)

where 𝜂c is efficiency of cleaned panel and 𝜂d is efficiency of dusty panel.

Next, the equation for the PV panel’s Standard Test Condition (STC)
outputs loss is shown as follows:
𝑂𝑆𝑇𝐶 𝐿𝑜𝑠𝑠 = 𝑥 100% (2)

where OSTCc is outputs STC of cleaned panel and OSTCd is outputs STC of
dusty panel. Commented [U10]: Divide your methodology based on your
investigation/objective (if necessary)
2.2 Investigation of water drops effect
The investigation of water droplets effect on PV solar cells’
performance also was conducted at Green Energy Research Centre (GERC) at
similar location with performance measurement for the study on the dust
effect. In this investigation, the quantity of water droplets plays the main role.
At each measurement the water droplets volume will be increased until it
almost fully covered the cells of the tested PV panel. The maximum quantity
was approximately at 25 ml and the increment of water quantity at each
measurement was 5 ml. The cell temperature measured at least 3 different
points before the water was dropped on the panel. This process helps to avoid
a disturbance to the sensor. The cell temperature also measured after the panel
cleaned to ensure no large temperature different between before and after the
test conducted.

Fig. 4: The water dropped on photovoltaic cells. Commented [U11]: Divide your methodology based on your
investigation/objective (if necessary)

3.0 Results and Discussion

3.1 The dust effect Commented [U12]: IN RESULTS n DISCUSSION;

The two identical polycrystalline PV solar panel were exposed 150 First write your results based on WHAT you can see in the graph .
hours to direct sunlight in residential area and natural dust was accumulated on example..minium, maximun, average..incline decline...etc. EVERY
graph MUST have their explaination. YOU can also divide results
the panels during the period. The graph in Fig. 5 shows that efficiency of based on your investigation/objectives
cleaned panel and dusty panel at different exposure time. It shown that as
exposure time increased, efficiency for both cleaned and dusty panels
decreased, however, the dusty panel efficiency drops significantly compare to
cleaned panel with average rate of 0.0116% per hour while cleaned panel
0.0052% per hour.

Cleaned panel
10.00% Dusty panel




0 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200
Exposure time (hour)

Fig. 5: Graph of efficiency against exposure time.

This pattern shows the effect of accumulated dust on the dusty panel
which results greater fall of efficiency. At 150 hours of exposure time, the
efficiency of dusty panel recorded was 8.42% while cleaned panel achieved
Fig. 6 shows the percentage of efficiency loss at different exposure
time. The graph indicates the increased of efficiency loss as exposure time
increased. At 25 hours of exposure time, the efficiency loss increased
significantly and gradually increased at each 25 hours increment of exposure
time. Based on observation, the quantity of dust that accumulated on the dusty
panel was increasing with respect to longer exposure time. Therefore, longer
exposure time leads to higher concentration of accumulated dust on the panel.
The concentrated dust present as external resistance which obscured solar
irradiance to penetrate in PV cells.
𝜂 Loss

0 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200
Exposure time (hour)

Fig. 6: Graph of efficiency loss against exposure time.

To discover the most affected outputs measured by dust accumulation

on surface of PV panel is by comparing the short circuit current and open
circuit voltage at standard test conditions (STC). The resultant data of STC
outputs loss is plotted as shown in Fig. 7. Based on the figure, it could be seen
that the longer exposure time give a greater effect on short circuit current as its
loss increases over exposure time while open circuit voltage loss is fairly
constant. The cleaned panel consistently produced a higher current and voltage
output than the dusty panel. Therefore, the accumulated dust on the panel
contribute to the current loss compared to the voltage loss which is in line with
the results of Rao et al. [13].

STC Outputs Loss

1.00% Isc loss
0.50% Voc loss
0 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200
Exposure time (hour)

Fig. 7: Graph of STC outputs loss against exposure time.

The scanning electron microscope (SEM) image were taken to
estimate the particles size of the accumulated dust. The SEM images show the
morphology with magnifications of x100 and x500. In general, it can be
observed that the particle size is approximately 5 to 50 µm and average of the
20 µm, which is enough to reflect and scatter the incoming solar irradiation
and hence reduce the amount of transmitted irradiation to the PV cells [8]. Commented [U13]: This is discussion about why the efficiency
of the panel drop. SO, Ensure that in your discussion, you write
WHY your results like that..for example; if your graph increased,
then what are the reason behind the increament?

Fig. 8: The SEM images of the accumulated dust. Commented [U14]: IN RESULTS n DISCUSSION;
First write your results based on WHAT you can see in the graph .
example..minium, maximun, average..incline decline...etc. EVERY
graph MUST have their explaination. YOU can also divide results
3.2 The water droplets effect based on your investigation/objectives


0 5 10 15 20 25
Water droplets (ml)

Fig. 9: The reduction of PV efficiency due to the water droplets.

A polycrystalline PV panel was tested to investigate the effect of

water droplets on its performance by different amount of water. Based on Fig.
9, the efficiency of PV panel slightly decreases over the increases as the
amount of water droplets increases. The average diameter of the droplets was
10 mm and the droplets fully cover the surface of PV panel at 25 ml. Table 2
shows the efficiency ratio where the ratio between efficiency at particular
water droplets amount and efficiency at no droplets. This ratio remains close
to 100 percent for all water droplets amounts where the least efficiency ratio is
99.28 percent at 25 ml. Therefore, it is clear that water droplets would result in
negligible effect on output power of the PV panel [11].

Table 2: Percentage of efficiency ratio at different water droplets amount.

Water droplets (ml) 𝜂x/𝜂0 (%)
5 99.79
10 99.73
15 99.63
20 99.43
25 99.28

4.0 Conclusions and Recommendations

In this study, the effects of dust and water drops on the performance
of PV solar cells were conducted and investigated at Shah Alam residential
area. The outdoor dust had been accumulated on the PV panel, and any Commented [U15]: Write what is Your project
conditions that will eliminate the deposited dust (i.e. rain) were avoided. A
long period exposure of PV panel to real outdoor condition shows that the
efficiency decreases significantly with dust accumulation. Nearly 10 percent
of losses in system efficiency could be experienced if no cleaning is performed
on the panel for 150 hours. The finding shows that the loss in power output due
to dust accumulation on PV panels is largely effect the output current. Unlike
the dust, water droplets result in negligible effect on the efficiency of the PV
panel. Water droplets results show that less than 1 percent of efficiency loss. Commented [U16]: Your significant results and discussion
The results of current investigation are necessary to evaluate the efficiency
drop due to the dust which the economic loss to the users. Therefore, the
implementation of self-cleaning system on PV is a crucial for better
performance. Commented [U17]: Why your results is important? Or your
recommendation to future works


The author would like to acknowledge the support of Green Energy Research
Centre (GERC) at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Shah Alam in
conducting this study.

[1] S. Ahmad, M.Z.A.A. Kadir, and S. Shafie, “Current perspective of the

renewable energy development in Malaysia,” Renewable and Sustainable
Energy Reviews 15 (2), 897–904 (2011).
[2] A.H. Haris, MBIPV Project: Catalyzing Local PV Market, Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia, Finance & Investment Forum on PV Technology (2008).
[3] N. Amin, C.W. Lung and K. Sopian, “A practical field study of various
solar cells on their performance in Malaysia,” Renewable Energy 34 (8),
1939-46 (2009).
[4] S, Nurazlina, “Bandar beracun ancam penduduk,” Utusan online 2011; 3
[5] A.H. Syafrina, M.D. Zalina and L. Juneng, “Historical trend of hourly
extreme rainfall in Peninsular Malaysia,” Theor Appl Climatol 120, 259-
285 (2015).
[6] M.S. El-Shobokshy and F.M. Hussein, “Effect of dust with different
physical properties on the performance of photovoltaic cells,” Solar
Energy 51 (6), 505-511 (1993).
[7] J. Kaldellis and M. Kapsali, “Simulating the dust effect on the energy
performance of photovoltaic generators based on experimental
measurements,” Energy 36 (8), 5154-5161 (2011).
[8] M. A. Syed and H. M. Walwil, “Fundamental studies on dust fouling
effects on PV module performance,” Solar Energy 107 , 328-337 (2014).
[9] Y.H. Jia, L.V. Kumar, A.J. Danner, H. Yang and C.S. Bhatia, “The Effect
of Dust on Transmission and Self-cleaning Property of Solar Panels,”
Energy Procedia 15, 421-427 (2012).
[10] F. Mejia, J. Kleissl and J.L. Bosch. “The effect of dust on solar
photovoltaic systems,” Energy Procedia 49, 2370-2376 (2014).
[11] S.A. Sulaiman, A.K. Singh, M.M.M. Mokhtar and M.A. Bou-Rabae,
“Influence of Dirt Accumulation on Performance of PV Panels,” Energy
Procedia 50, 50-56 (2014).
[12] “Renewable Energy; Data on Renewable Energy Reported by
Researchers at University of Technology” Energy Weekly News,
NewsRx, 272, 2014; Feb 7.
[13] A. Rao, R. Pillai, M. Mani and P. Ramamurthy, “Influence of dust
deposition on photovoltaic panel performance,” Energy Procedia 54, 690-
700 (2014).