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Self-cleaning Photovoltaic (PV) Modules

Noor Hisham, Nur Ain (2017) Self-cleaning Photovoltaic (PV) Modules. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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The effect of soiling accumulation towards photovoltaic (PV) could cause a reduction in the PV system performance. The decrease in PV system output due to soiling has been proven crucial(Jiang, Lu, and Sun 2011). Thus signifies the significance of further research on the effect of soiling on a PV system. This project is a research based on the climate in Murdoch, Western Australia. This project consists of three parts; Photovoltaic (PV) performance testing, Air quality testing, Light transmittance testing. The PV performances were analysed based on three different dust mitigation conditions. The first module labelled as A is washed regularly as part of the dust mitigation strategies applied. The second module, labelled as B has a hydrophobic coating which functions when rainwater fall on the panel, the water would roll off the module at the same time rolling dust off the module. The third module, labelled as C is kept without any dust mitigation method. All three modules were tested out and washing performs the best giving a reduction in performance of 30.8% after 18 days, while B reduces in 47.4% performance and C has a 31.4% reduction in performance. Test 2 involves correlating the air quality with the dust accumulation on the PV modules. An optical dust sensor is used for this test. Test 3 has the same concept as Test 2 but is more closely related to the dust adhering to the PV modules. A glass panel is used to simulate the dust accumulation with a Light Emitting Diode (LED) and an Light Dependent Resistor (LDR) in between. A ratio-based calculation is made for test 3 to correlate the transmittance with voltage output and comparing the value when the glass is clean compared to dirty. The washed module performs the best with an average air quality of 0.025mg/m3. The worst module was the one without dust mitigation strategies, where the light transmittance reduced in 22% after two weeks of dust accumulation.

Consequently, to improve the performance of the PV in the industry, soiling should not be ignored as it should be a big issue in the PV industry.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Parlevliet, David
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