Catalog Home Page

The contribution of dust to performance degradation of PV modules in a temperate climate zone

Tanesab, J., Parlevliet, D., Whale, J., Urmee, T. and Pryor, T. (2015) The contribution of dust to performance degradation of PV modules in a temperate climate zone. Solar Energy, 120 . pp. 147-157.

PDF - Authors' Version
Embargoed until 3 August 2017.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


This research investigates the contribution of dust to the long-term performance degradation of various photovoltaic (PV) modules that have been operating for almost eighteen years without any cleaning procedures at the Renewable Energy Outdoor Testing Area (ROTA), Murdoch University, Perth, Australia. A solar module analyser was used to assess the PVs' electrical performance, while a combination of spectrophotometer, scanning electron microscope, electron dispersive spectroscope and X-ray diffraction were used to exam the properties of the dust on the panels. The study found that the degradation of the PV modules' power output, ranged from 19% to 33%. The degradation is mostly due to non-dust related factors such as corrosion, delamination, and discoloration, which account about 71-84%, although the contribution of dust is still significant at 16-29%. Anova analysis shows that the dust has a fairly uniform impact on the performance degradation of all PV technologies at ROTA. This is in line with the results of spectral transmittance curves for different dust density samples that essentially flat over the wavelength range of the PV modules. An investigation of the properties of dust revealed that dust particles deposited on PV modules' surface at ROTA were dominated by fine particles built of large amounts of quartz (SiO2), followed by calcium oxide (CaO) and some minors of feldspars minerals (KAlSi3O8), which are the main factors in transmittance losses that affect PV module performance.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
Item Control Page Item Control Page