In this study, prototype electrodynamic dust shield (EDS) devices large enough to cover commercial photovoltaic (PV) modules were fabricated and tested in the lab and in the field. The EDS device consisted a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrate with screen-printed silver electrodes, and a PET cover sheet that bonded to the substrate using a synthetic rubber adhesive. The voltage-current characteristics of the EDS device was measured while square wave high voltage was applied to the device, so as to determine the power consumption of the EDS device. The EDS device was also tested in the field to determine its effectiveness in soiling mitigation.
Measurements showed that the EDS capacitance varied from approximately 600 pF in the air-conditioned lab to 2 nF in the field when the EDS device temperature reached 45 °C. The variation of the capacitance has significant relevance to the capacity requirements for the high voltage sources needed to energize the EDS device and its power consumption. Under laboratory conditions, the EDS power consumption was found to be 0.3 W m−2 at 6 kVp-p and 1 Hz, and roughly proportional to the voltage squared.
In the field test electrode damage was observed, due to electrical discharge at the electrode lines. As a result, the EDS operation did not show significant effect of soiling mitigation.
The results of this study are useful for designing high voltage sources for EDS operation, and for modifying the design and fabrication methods in order to produce EDS devices that can effectively repel dust in the field.