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Mechanism underlying the effect of physical properties on the dynamic behaviours and erosion characteristics of particles on solar photovoltaic panels

Xueqing Liu, Song Yue, Luyi Lu, and Jianlan Li

State Key Laboratory of Refractories and Metallurgy, Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China



Received: 5 November 2021  Accepted: 5 March 2022


Dust deposition and erosion phenomena on solar photovoltaic (PV) panels substantially reduce their power generation efficiency, useful life and safe operation. In the present study, the dust motion and erosion characteristics of clear and dusty PV panels are investigated using a discrete element model. The physical properties of dust particles and PV panels are experimentally compared between the POWERCHINA Hubei Electric Engineering Corporation (HEEC) Limited building and the power building of the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST). In addition, the effects of the physical properties of dust particles on their dynamic behaviours and erosion rates are discussed. The phase composition of the dust particles at the HUST is mostly SiO2, while the dust particles from the HEEC consist of CaO, Fe2O3, Al2O3, CaCO3, SiO2 and Ca(OH)2. Dust deposits with multiple phase compositions exert a greater negative effect on the panel working performance than dust deposits with a single phase composition. Maximum panel erosion may cause irreparable mechanical damage to PV panels even after cleaning. For dust particles and panels from the HEEC, gravitational, liquid bridge, electrostatic and van der Waals forces are the primary deposition forces; the largest adhesion rates are observed for Fe2O3, Ca(OH)2, SiO2 and Ca(OH)2. The greatest and lowest maximum erosion rates are observed for Fe2O3 and SiO2, respectively. Long-term erosion will lead to a significant increase in the maximum erosion value and the erosion areas and even cause the whole panel to undergo wear. These research findings are very important for power generation optimization and the safe and efficient operation of PV panels.

Keywords: Solar energy; Photovoltaic; Particle motions; DEM

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-022-02175-3


Chemical Papers 76 (7) 4443–4457 (2022)

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