Modeling and Displaying Dust Accumulation Process on Solar Panel and Impacts on Photoelectrical Conversion in a Virtual Reality Environment

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Journal of Advanced Optics and Phontonics





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Dust accumulation on the surface of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels can significantly decrease the amount of solar irradiance reaching the cells, and consequently, can negatively impact the amount of electricity generated. In the literature, there have been quite a few theoretical or empirical studies to model the impacts of dust on solar power generation, but little has been done to “observe” and model the process of how dust gets to solar cells in the first place and appreciate the major ambient factors that are related to dust accumulation. This paper attempts to bridge that gap by building such a photoelectrical conversion model that immerses users into a virtual reality (VR) environment made of solar panels, sun radiation, and dust particles. In specific, the photoelectrical conversion of solar panels is modeled by taking into account of four contributing factors: 1) relationship between solar angle and light incidence angle; 2) the impact of environment parameters on the effective irradiance, including temperature, wind speed, sun position, date, geographical location of solar panels; 3) statistics of accumulated dust, dust accumulation rates, and the effect of accumulated dust on the panel; and 4) solar panel cell equivalent circuit. The real-world environmental hourly data, over the course of 20 years, obtained from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), are fit into the VR model, and the dust accumulation effects on solar electricity production can be visualized. This work clearly demonstrates how latest VR technologies can play a central role in manipulating and displaying a large amount data from long-term, complex, incomplete, and irregular data sets.


Solar panel; Dust accumulation; Virtual reality; Simulation


Electromagnetics and Photonics | Power and Energy



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