Famed for its sunshine and high temperatures, Qatar might seem the ideal place to install solar panels, but as it looks to branch out into renewable energy, it has found that it is too hot for the panels to work properly. Summer temperatures that can reach 50C, combined with the build-up of dust, can reduce the efficiency of a photovoltaic panel by more than half. Qatar is ploughing tens of millions of dollars into research to develop desert panels that can withstand the harsh environment. The Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) has about 40 researchers working on the issue in Doha, where it is testing panels from 27 international manufacturers. Marwan Khraisheh, acting executive director, said that the efficiency of some panels could decline by as much as 30 per cent because of the heat, as temperatures in the panels reached 75C. “Certain materials do not function as they are supposed to when the temperature increases, so the transport of electrons from one layer to another becomes less efficient,” he said. Most panels contained silicon layers but the team found that compounds with less pure silicon could be more resilient.
Times 21st Aug 2017 read more »