Substantial time and money have been directed toward photovoltaic solar power. However, mitigation of dust on solar panels has been largely neglected. The objective of this research was to determine the performance and power consumption of an electrodynamic dust shield (EDS) to clean solar panels as a function of dust particle size. We utilized a discrete element method to computationally simulate the transport, collision, and electrodynamic interactions of particles subjected to electrodynamic waves generated by an EDS. The EDS consisted of electrodes embedded within a dielectric material. 1250 monodisperse particles with diameters of 30–50 μm were simulated. In the absence of particle-particle interactions, an increase in diameter increased particle transport distance due to increased particle charge. However, inclusion of particle-particle collisions produced interactions such that an intermediate diameter yielded the smallest transport distance. Average power required to lift a particle off the surface was smallest with the smallest particle; however, power requirement decreased with diameter with a constant loading of particles on the EDS. Calculated from our simulation data, power consumption per unit area of an experimental EDS agreed with previous experimental studies. Our study elucidated important aspects of EDS operation and power consumption to mitigate dust on solar panels.

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