Experimental investigation of the impact of airborne dust deposition on the performance of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules

Hai Jiang, Lin Lu, Ke Sun

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

229 Citations (Scopus)


Deposition of airborne dust on outdoor photovoltaic (PV) modules may decrease the transmittance of solar cell glazing and cause a significant degradation of solar conversion efficiency of PV modules. Previous studies of this issue indicated that dust deposition is closely related to the tilt angle of solar collector, exposure period, site climate conditions, wind movement and dust properties. However, few studies considered the influence of the properties of PV module itself on dust deposition and efficiency degradation, such as the cell types and surface materials. This experimental work aimed to study the dust accumulation onto different types of solar PV modules and the corresponding efficiency degradation. The experiment was designed and conducted in the laboratory with a sun simulator and a test chamber. The degradation of PV module efficiency caused by dust deposition under various conditions was investigated. The results indicated that dust pollution has a significant impact on PV module output. With dust deposition density increasing from 0 to 22 g m-2, the corresponding reduction of PV output efficiency grew from 0 to 26%. The reduction of efficiency has a linear relationship with the dust deposition density, and the difference caused by cell types was not obvious. When the dust deposition density was fixed, the reductions of output efficiency at relatively lower or higher solar densities were much more severe. Moreover, the surface material may influence dust deposition and accumulation considerably. The poly-crystalline silicon module packaged with epoxy degraded faster than other modules with glass surface under the same dust concentration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4299-4304
Number of pages6
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011


  • Dust deposition
  • Efficiency reduction
  • Photovoltaic modules
  • Surface material

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

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