This paper reports an experimental investigation of the dust particle deposition process on solar photovoltaic (PV) modules with different surface temperatures by a heating plate to illustrate the effect of the temperature difference (thermophoresis) between the module surface and the surrounding air on the dust accumulation process under different operating temperatures. In general, if the temperature of PV modules is increased, the energy conversion efficiency of the modules is decreased. However, in this study, it is firstly found that higher PV module surface temperature differences result in a higher energy output compared with those modules with lower temperature differences because of a reduced accumulation of dust particles. The measured deposition densities of dust particles were found to range from 0.54 g/m2
to 0.85 g/m2
under the range of experimental conditions and the output power ratios were found to increase from 0.861 to 0.965 with the increase in the temperature difference from 0 to 50 °C. The PV module with a higher temperature difference experiences a lower dust density because of the effect of the thermophoresis force arising from the temperature gradient between the module surface and its surrounding air. In addition, dust particles have a significant impact on the short circuit current, as well as the output power. However, the influence of particles on open circuit voltage can be negligible.
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