Sand and Dust Storms Impact on Photovoltaic Panels in Saudi Arabia

Authors: Dr. Zakiah Radhi Alhajji (1), Dr. Platon Patlakas (2), Eng. Ioannis Alexiou(3,) Prof. Mohamed Elsayed Hafez (4)
Expert in Applied Climate studies at WMO Sand and Dust Storm Warning Regional Center, National Center for Meteorology, P.O. Box 2749, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (1)
Research Associate at Department of Physics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 15784, Athens, Greece (2)
Expert in Environmental Sciences at Aramco, P.O. Box 31311, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (3)
Professor in the Department of Geography - Applied Climate, Faculty of Arts, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2456, Riyadh,11451 Saudi Arabia (4)
Email: alhajji.zakiah@gmail.com
doi.org/10.52132/Ajrsp.e.2024.58.1


Abstract:

This research aims to assess the spatial potential of solar energy in Saudi Arabia by estimating the total sum and analyzing the spatial variability of solar radiation to determine the best sites for solar energy generation that are least affected by sandstorms in the country. It also explores the effects of sandstorms on solar panels, identifies preventive measures, analyzes their impact on productivity, and recommends best practices for future development. The study utilizes time series analysis to estimate the impact of dust on productivity and identify effective ways to mitigate it. The spatial suitability of solar cell placement in different regions of the country is also analyzed. The study reveals that the Al-Ahsa region is significantly affected by sandstorms, with an average of around 25 sandstorms annually, indicating the region's vulnerability to these environmental phenomena. The western region, specifically the Tabuk station, experiences a lower frequency of about 5.5 sandstorms per year. The Al-Ahsa region shows the highest daily average rate of sandstorms, ranging from 0.4 to 0.7 sandstorms per day, with the highest rates occurring from March to May. In terms of solar energy potential, the northwestern region in Tabuk exhibits the highest average potential of about 6 watts per square meter per day, followed by the southwestern region in Asir with approximately 5.5 watts per square meter per day. These findings provide valuable insights into understanding sandstorm patterns and identifying optimal locations for solar energy production, contributing to sustainable development efforts and climate change mitigation.

Keywords:

Sand, Dust storms, Photovoltaic Panels, Solar panels, Saudi Arabia

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AJRSP
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