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The sensitivity of various solar photovoltaic technologies to dust, temperature and relative humidity is investigated for Qatar's environment. Results obtained show that mono-crystalline PVs have efficiencies as high as 85% compared to 70% for amorphous ones. Also, dust accumulation degrades more critically the efficiency of amorphous and mono-crystalline silicon PVs than the panel's temperature or relative humidity. In addition, the results show that amorphous PVs are more affected by temperature and relative humidity than mono-crystalline PVs. However, amorphous PVs prove to be more robust against dust settlement than mono-crystalline PVs and hence are more suitable for implementation in desert climates like Qatar unless cleaning strategies are devised. It was estimated that 100 days of dust accumulation over mono-crystalline PV panels, caused the efficiency to decrease by around 10%. This limitation makes solar PV an unreliable source of power for unattended or remote devices and thus strongly suggests the challenge of cleaning the panel's surface regularly or injecting technical modifications. Furthermore, the study suggests operating solar PV plants in Qatar from 11:00 am to 02:00 pm to optimize production.
Date of Conference: 26-28 March 2012