The influence of cleaning frequency of photovoltaic modules on power losses in the desert climate

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Dust accumulation on the photovoltaic (PV) surface decreases the solar radiation penetration to the PV cells and, eventually, the power production from the PV system. To prevent dust-based power losses, PV systems require frequent cleaning, the frequency of which depends on the geographical location, PV integration scheme, and scale of the PV power plant. This study aims to measure the drop-in radiation intensity, as well as power output, due to dust and to determine the optimal time interval for PV cleaning in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) climate. In this research, a dusting study experiment was carried out at the Renewable Energy Laboratory, Falaj Hazza Campus, UAE University, Al Ain, UAE, for 3.5 months, from 22 April 2018 to 7 August 2018. To measure the pure radiation losses caused by the dust, four transparent glasses were used to mimic the top glass cover of the PV modules. The dusting induced power losses were measured for four selected PV cleaning frequencies (10 days, 20 days, 1 month, and 3 months). This study revealed that up to 13% of power losses occurred in PV panels that remained dusty for 3 months, compared to panels that were cleaned daily. PV cleaning after 15 days brought the losses down to 4%, which was found the most feasible time for PV cleaning in this study, considering a reasonable balance between the cleaning cost and energy wasted due to soiling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9750
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2 2020


  • Cleaning frequency
  • Desert environment
  • Dust accumulation
  • PV performance
  • Power loss
  • Solar radiation
  • Time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Building and Construction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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