Virtual Reality Simulation of Dust Accumulation on the Surface of Solar Panel

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

2017 International Conference on Computer Systems, Electronics and Control (ICCSEC)



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Dust accumulation on solar photovoltaic (PV) panels has been one of the major concerns, as the accumulated dust on the surface of PV module can significantly decrease the amount of solar irradiance reaching the cells. In the literature, there have been quite a few studies to build analytical or empirical models to understand the impacts of dust on solar power generation, but few studies have been conducted to “observe” and thus model the process of how dust gets to solar cells in the first place and appreciate the major ambient factors that could impact dust accumulation. This paper attempts to bridge that gap by building a virtual reality (VR) model that immerses users into an environment surrounded by solar panels; all perceived environmental factors, such as the sunlight illumination, external force on dust particles, have been considered to render the dust accumulation effects over any time scale of choice. The real-world environmental data, over the course of 30 years, obtained from NREL, are fit into the VR model, and the dust accumulation effects can be visualized. This work clearly demonstrates how latest VR technologies can play a central role in manipulating and displaying a large set of long-term, complex, incomplete, and irregular data.


Dust accumulation; Simulation; Solar panel; Virtual reality


Power and Energy



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