KUWAIT: Three Kuwaiti researchers working with the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research has obtained a patent issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for an invention measuring the effect of dust and other pollutants on solar panels. Dr Firas Al-Zoubi, Engineer Abdullah Al-Kandari, and Engineer Abdel Wahab Al-Asfour succeeded in designing the platform that will allow testing photovoltaics of all kinds and under different pollution conditions, allowing the invention to have a wide range of potential applications.

The invention uses a single solar cell, which is measured under three different conditions in three stages within a very short period of time. Stage one: full and direct exposure to sunlight. Stage two: exposure to light through clean transparent glass. Stage three: exposure to light through transparent glass that is exposed to dust or any natural pollutant, as the solar cell is allowed to move in two directions to measure the energy produced under different points of the contaminated glass, which is the distinctive feature of this invention and the first of its kind.

Measuring the effect of the accumulation of pollutants on photovoltaic devices is still in its infancy, and with regard to the invention presented, irregular pollution can cause a greater reduction in energy compared to regular pollution. The information may be utilized in the future in the construction and design of layouts for solar panel farms as well as cleaning cycles and potential losses due to pollution. Kuwait has in recent years pushed forward with a variety of sustainable energy initiatives aimed at preparing the country for a future without oil.