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University of Nevada, Las Vegas (2019)

Investigation of Efficiency Loss of Distributed Solar Power Due to Soiling and Efficiency Recovery by Rainfall

Tanaka Amanda Mayumi

Titre : Investigation of Efficiency Loss of Distributed Solar Power Due to Soiling and Efficiency Recovery by Rainfall

Auteur : Tanaka Amanda Mayumi

Université de soutenance : University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Grade : Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) 2019

Résumé partiel
As the concern with global warming increases causing the need for CO2 reduction, renewable energy is of great interest as it has lower carbon footprint when compared to conventional sources (natural gas, coal, oil and nuclear). Solar energy has been drawing worldwide attention since it can transform sunlight directly into electricity with the use of photovoltaic (PV) cells. However, this technology has some drawbacks that need to be addressed including dust deposition on solar panels, also known as soiling. Soiling can decrease PV panel’s efficiency thereby resulting in less energy production. The soiling rates are very site specific and depend on the geographic location of the panels and the climate in that area. The solar panels can be cleaned naturally (by rainfall, snow or wind) or mechanically washed. This thesis addresses the impact of solar panel soiling and washing on the energy production of solar PV plants located at the UNLV campus.

The objectives of this project were (a) to evaluate whether rainfall alone, in the desert environment with low rainfall, is sufficient to clean up the solar panels, and, if possible, determine the minimum amount of rainfall necessary to clean up panels. ; (b) to examine the efficiency loss caused by soiling using different methods of analyses and (c) to evaluate if panel washing is worthwhile given the cost and the efficiency gain that is obtained by washing. To calculate the efficiency of the panels, a model was developed to generate parameters that were not measured at the site. Panel efficiencies before and after rainfall events were compared to determine the minimum amount of rain necessary to clean the panels. It was found that at least 0.2 inches of rain was needed to partially restore clean-panel efficiency. In Las Vegas, the recurrence periods of different depths rainfall were calculated using data from the past 29 years. It was observed that the 50th percentile recurrence period of a rainfall event with depth of 0.2 inches or higher was approximately 52 days.

Mots clés  : Energy ; Photovoltaic ; PV Panels ; Rainfall ; Solar Energy ; Solar Panels

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Page publiée le 20 novembre 2020