Influences of dust deposition on ground-mounted solar photovoltaic arrays: A CFD simulation study

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Dust pollution and deposition processes on ground-mounted solar PV array were studied.

The peak deposition rates are 18.89%, 12.35%, 9.62%, 6.83% and 5.71% for different rows of PV panels.

The main deposition mechanisms were studied for different dust sizes and different rows of PV panels.

The influences of dust deposition on PV efficiency were analyzed for different panel rows.


Dust deposition processes and behaviors on ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays were investigated by shear stress transport k-ω turbulence model and the discrete particle model. Inlet velocity and turbulent kinetic energy distributions fitted from experimental data were imposed in the simulation to improve prediction accuracy. After mesh independent test and numerical verification, air flow fields over the solar PV array, dust deposition rates for different rows of PV panels and different dust diameters were investigated. It was found that dust deposition rates on solar PV panel array are declined from the front to the back row. Maximum deposition rate from the first to the fifth row of PV panels is 18.89%, 12.35%, 9.62%, 6.83% or 5.71% respectively. The corresponding dust diameter for the peak deposition rate is 350, 250, 200, 150 or 150 μm respectively. The main deposition mechanisms were investigated by analyzing dust motion trajectories on PV panel arrays. Furthermore, Maximum PV output reduction induced by dust can reach 79.77%, 18.16%, 5.88%, 2.66% or 1.89% from the first to the last row of PV panels, respectively. Therefore, the most degradation of PV efficiency appears for the first row of PV panels.


Dust deposition

Solar PV array

Efficiency reduction

Numerical simulation

© 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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