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REG.NO: 17BEM0142


* Rishvanth yokesh (17BEM0142)
B.Tech Mechanical Energy, School of Mechanical and Civil, Vellore
Institute of Technology

Many environmental parameters have an effect on the production of photovoltaic systems
(PV) and dust may be one of the most reasons of degradation of PV panels. The buildup of
dust particles deteriorates the performance of solar cells and leads to considerable losses in
the generated power due to the sun irradiance scattering effects on the surface of the solar
panel. The dust contents, which represent a combination of various pollutants are site

There are several studies centered on the effect of PV performance, however few studies have
investigated the effect of dust pollutant type on the performance. Mainly, the effect of dust
has been investigated indoors and outdoors.

We experimentally studied the electrical efficiency effects of naturally forming atmospheric

dust deposits on commercial photovoltaic panels. The variable considered for measurements
was the electric potential for three commercial silicon modules: monocrystalline,
polycrystalline, and amorphous. A mathematical model was developed to determine
maximum potential as a function of temperature and of total incident radiation. The study
presents two essential parts: the naturally deposited dust particles and the variation in
maximum electric potential between clean and dusty modules.

In the present review paper, the consequences of pollutant types has been investigated both
indoors and outdoors. The effects of some cover plate materials on the photovoltaic
performance by dust deposition and some cleaning ways to eliminate the dust deposition are
also briefly discussed. The entire experiment is conducted in the city of Hermosillo, Senora.

Electricity is mainly generated by the use of a variety of sources such as fossil fuels
which play a vital role in meeting the demand for energy. The impact of greenhouse
gases (GHG) on the environment and global warming is enormous and arduous on
the people. A suitable solution to reduce these effects and save the environment is
the use of solar PV as a renewable energy source.
In a PV, the sun light energy is absorbed by the semiconductors as photons after
which they are converted into a voltage. In 1960, researchers conducted
experiments on semiconductors (III–V and VI) while a new technology for
polycrystalline Si (pc-Si) and thin film solar cell was established in order to lower
the materials cost and energy input but increase the production capacity.
In addition to the investment of money and time in the development of materials
used in the production of solar cells, there are many factors which need to be
investigated and understood. For example dust pollutant types need to be
investigated as they have not been studied intensively. Dust is defined as any
particulate matter less than 500 μm in diameter, which enters the atmosphere from
different sources such as dust lifted by wind, vehicular exhaust, volcanic eruptions
and air pollution. Dust may contain small amounts of pollen and also fungi,
bacteria, vegetation, microfibers, and, most commonly, organic minerals such as
sand, clay, and eroded limestone.
The dust pollution effect strongly depends on the local area where the PV system is
mounted, so it is difficult to apply a general model in all cases. In urban and other
environments many types of pollution emitted from different sources can be faced.
For example limestone is formed from precipitation of calcium carbonate (CaCO3),
ash is emitted from vehicular exhaust while red soil is moved from African deserts.

• To characterize the deposition of dust (pollutant type) and their effect on PV
system performance.
• To discuss the effect of different pollutant types on current, voltage, power
and efficiency and to present a comparison between different pollutants in
term of effect on PV current, voltage, efficiency, power, etc. is presented.

Dust pollution is composed of small solid particles that are borne by the air
currents. Such particles are produced by a variety of ways, such as splitting of the
solids into small pieces, by means of milling or other ways. Dust has been
described by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) as finely divided
solids in air from the initial state, without any chemical or physical changes other
than fracture. Dust particle size is generally measured in micrometers. Over time,
the thickness of dust on the solar panel increases.
Several studies are investigating the impact of dust on PV output. The factors that
determine the characteristics of dust accumulation in PV systems are the properties
of the materials and the local environment. The environment consists of local site-
specific factors influenced by natural human activities, built environment (surface
finish, orientation and installation height), environmental factors, and weather
In urban areas, the effect of air pollution is severe due to the high population
density and growth in industrial activities, particularly dust and particles produced
by combustion of fossil fuels and construction activities. Deposition at the front of
the photovoltaic panels can significantly reduce the amount of solar energy
absorbed by the PV. Therefore, due to the remarkable performance degradation of
the PV panels, a significant change in the output voltage and current of PV panels
is expected.
The below given figure shows the result of X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis to
identify the chemical composition of dust layers where it is found that the major
elements are silicon from desert sand (quartz, or silicon dioxide, SiO2) and calcium
from the mineral calcite (calcium carbonate, CaCO3): minor elements included
iron, potassium, aluminum, and sodium.


Three types of commercial photovoltaic modules were used in an arrangement:
amorphous, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline. A circuit has been designed and
built to determine the total electrical power produced for each module. To track
temperature and solar radiation, an automated data acquisition system was created.
The modules were mounted on a solar monitor so that the radiation still entered the
plane of the modules in a normal direction.
In order to measure the incident radiation on plane of the modules, a solid state
radiation sensor was mounted to the solar tracking platform. A thermocouple type T
was adhered to the back of every module as well.
Two control circuits were designed to measure the voltage and current: one to
simulate a variable charge and the other for the sequential selection (commutation)
of the modules. The circuits are controlled by a data acquisition system through a
program created for this project. Once a module has been selected, the circuit load
simulator performs a current “sweep” from zero (open circuit) to the short-circuit.
Upon finishing the sweep, the circuit commutator changes to the next module and
repeats the current sweep of charge. The program that controls the circuits and
acquisition of data repeats in 15 min intervals and every run has duration of
approximately 2 s.
Every run of the program gathers the following parameters:
• Ambient temperature

• Solar radiation in the modular plane

• Temperature of modules
• Voltage and current of each module

In addition, the program reports the date, hour, and minute of every charge carried
out. The maximum potential is calculated from current-voltage (I-V) curves. The
current-voltage curves were measured with a charge simulator device, which sweep
in 22 points, and the data are recorded. The below given figure depicts an example
of the sweep. Each day the process starts up at eight o’clock in the morning and
stop 12 h later. The tests were made during 90 days, from August to December
(summer to autumn).

In order to measure the range in sizes of the dust particles, an LS Particle Size
Analyzer was used. A microscope was used to study the morphology of the dust.

• The density of accumulated dust was determined to have an average value of
2.59 g/cm3.
• The dust was analyzed with the LS particle size measurement system (Laser
diffraction technology), which determined the distributions of the numerical
fractions, surface area, and volume as a function of the particle size (diameter of
• The below given figure shows the relative distribution of the number of
particles. The size of the particles’ diameter measures between 0.4 μm and does
not reach 400 μm (356 μm to be precise).

• The distribution of the fractions of the surface area of the particles is presented
in the figure below. There are two maxims values, the greater near 0.829 μm
and the other at 13.61 μm.

• The below given figure presents the distribution of the fraction of particles per
volume. In this case, particles that have a diameter around of 19.76 μm have
major influence on the total volume.


Photographs off the dust are taken at 20x and 40x magnification. By examining
these particles, we can conclude that the dust particles are spherical. Also, the
dust particles have distinct transmittance indices. Some are completely opaque,
while others have a specific degree of transparency. The principal components,
in order of importance, of the dust collected are clay, sand, soot, mushrooms,
spores, and vegetable fibers.

The three photovoltaic modules(amorphous, monocrystalline, polycrystalline)
were left to collect dust for long periods of time (around 20 days), such that the
maximum power performance could be evaluated with naturally formed dust
deposits. The modules were cleaned at noon (when the solar radiation varies the
least) and the quantity of dust deposits was measured. The figure below shows
the electrical performance of the maximum power of the amorphous module
during a day in which it was cleaned. There is a jump in power at 12:30 h, after
the cleaning was made. At the moment of increased power, the solar radiation
value did not change significantly. Therefore, the change in power is almost
solely due to the removal of dust. The quantity of power measured just before
12:30 h was 20.13 W corresponding to the dusty conditions, the next data after
the cleaning were 23.46 W. The difference between readings is an increase in
power of 14% (including correction for change of temperature or solar
The maximum power vs Day Time graph is plotted for all the amorphous,
monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar modules.

A mathematical correlation is proposed that can be utilized in the calculations

of photovoltaic systems,
PMax = aRb(TMod)c
where PMax is the maximum power of the module, R is the solar radiation
incident to the normal plane of the surface of the modules, and TMod is the
temperature of the module in which a is a factor that multiplies the radiation
and temperature, b is the exponent of radiation, and c is the exponent to the

The constant ‘b’, is approximately 1, which means that the solar radiation is
directly proportional to the maximum power. In contrast, the constant ‘c’
(exponent of the temperature) has a negative value, which indicates an increase
in temperature reduces the power. Finally, the constant ‘a’ is related to the
characteristics of each solar module manufacturing.
The average change of parameter ‘a’ in monocrystalline module was 4.74%, it
was the lower value of change for three modules. The polycrystalline module
was affected in 4.94% and 10.42% for amorphous module. Both mono and poly
modules showed almost the same behavior with a maximum of around 6% and
minimum of 4%, in contrast, amorphous module had a maximum of around
12% and minimum of 8%.



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