Can lensing damage photocell arrays?

Article By : John Dunn

Is it possible for photoelectric device point location damage to be caused by unintended sunlight focusing?

A lecturer whom I once heard at a meeting of the Bonsai Society of Greater New York cautioned his audience not to let water droplets remain present on the surface of any plant being exposed to direct sunlight. The reason is that each droplet can act as a lens and focus the sun into a tiny little point at which plant tissue can get burned.

I once described this in an essay entitled Leaf Burn. Might a similar issue apply to photocell arrays?

photocell array lensingWater on a photocell array could act as a lens to focus sunlight to a very sharp point.

I’ve read many articles and postings where the question has been asked whether solar cells can be damaged by exposure to direct sunlight. Of course, that’s the very condition in which I’d think they’d be used. The answer is invariably “no”. Solar cells will not be harmed by such exposure nor be harmed by a multitude of other meteorological circumstances either. My question about that is “How come?”

I raise the question again because I have never seen any reference to lensing issues and their potential, if any, for doing point location photocell damage.


John Dunn is an electronics consultant, and a graduate of The Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (BSEE) and of New York University (MSEE).

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