The effect of soiling on the efficiency of solar panels In West Africa

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Solar energy has experienced accelerated interest worldwide, including in Africa, due to pressure from environmental organizations and international institutions to decarbonize the energy supply system. To maximize the power output from solar panels and increase their efficiency, there is a need to understand how photovoltaic systems are affected by external factors such as dust particles in different geographical locations. Soiling is a problem that can severely affect the viability of PV systems resulting in substantial economic losses. This research project investigates the effect of the accumulation of dust particles on the efficiency of PV modules at one location in the Eastern region of Ghana. This is accomplished by setting up an experiment with a power tracking device that can measure panel performance and elicit its relationship with key environmental conditions. The data obtained from the setup is then analyzed and compared against similar experiments done in other parts of the world, especially the one done by Coello and Boyle in the US. If the data obtained from our research does not obey the models developed by Coello and Boyle, it is then used to model the relationship between dust accumulation on the panel and the drop in efficiency of solar panels.
Capstone Project submitted to the Department of Engineering, Ashesi University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, May 2022
renewable energy generation