Date of Award
Master of Electrical Engineering (MEE)
Dr. Mohammad Shakeel Laghari
Dr. Addy Wahyudie
Tapas K. Mallick
Dust accumulation on the photovoltaic (PV) surface decreases the solar radiation penetration to the PV cells and eventually the power production from the PV system. In order to prevent the dust-based power losses, the PV systems are required to be cleaned frequently depending upon different geographical locations, PV integration schemes, and the scale of the PV power plant. In large-scale power plants, the PVs are periodically cleaned traditionally by water sprinkling that requires sophisticated equipment mobile equipment that at the best involves robotics and hence calls for substantial capital investment as well as water consumption. Since most of the largescale PV plants are located away from the urban centers, water transportation required for PV cleaning incurs tremendous overheads thus increasing the electricity production cost. The desert environment that houses utility-scale PV plants in UAE poses a three folds challenge to keep the plant cleaned namely
1. The increased dust accumulation on the PV surface due to sandstorms that requires more frequent cleaning.
2. The lack of water supply infrastructure in the non-populated spaces.
3. The water scarcity that eventually renders water being the most precious resource.
The current project attempts to overcome the grave problem facing PV plant in the desert by proposing an onsite water production employing a PV customized atmospheric water generation (AWG) system. The research involved at first determining the optimal frequency of cleaning within the UAE indicating a minimum of 13 % power loss in UAE within non-sandstorm conditions. The radiation loss due to dust accumulation was calculated by a measured difference in the incident and transmitted radiation through a transparent glass surface. The radiation loss reached up to 27 % within three months during non-sandstorm winter clean sky conditions that represent yet the best-case scenario. The findings enabled designing the optimal capacity of the AWG system.
At a second phase, the AWG designed incorporating diurnal dew point drop, adiabatic air expansion in porous media, radioactive cooling over a sky exposed surface, and Peltier cooling in sequential order to achieve an autonomous AWG system. The proposed AWG was constructed and tested with an average water production of 110 ml per night (2-3 hours) having average night-time humidity of 66 % with average electricity consumption of 1.17 kWh/day. The water produced over seven-night reached an average value of almost 1 liter that was sprinkled over the panel and wiped of that achieved completely cleaned PV surface.
Shah, Ali Hasan, "Determination of Cleaning Frequency and Power Enhancement of Photovoltaic Panels Using Novel Cleaning Approach" (2019). Electrical Engineering Theses. 8.