Photovoltaic Panel Efficiency Optimization Using Forced Convection

Photovoltaic Panel Efficiency
Optimization Using Forced
Convection Cooling In Porous
Media Enclosure
Master’s Degree Project
Bradley Fontenault
Problem Definition
• Photovoltaic cells lose efficiency as operating
temperature increases (~-0.54%/deg. C for
single crystalline Si cell)
• The objective of this study is to investigate a
method of cooling PV panels as to increase
their electrical output efficiencies
Various Methods Have Been Explored
to Cool PV Cells to Improve Efficiency
• Various methods have been developed to cool PV
• Heat extracted from cells is typically used for
other purposes (heat potable water, radiant floor
heating, heat swimming pool water, operate a
heat pump, etc.) while increasing electrical
efficiency of cells
• Bakker – geothermally cooled cells, coolant water
used for potable water
• Chen – used refrigerant R134a to cool cells, heat
energy used in heat pump
Project Objective
• Pump water through porous media in
enclosure on back of PV panel to cool
– Will analyze various water flow rates
– Will analyze various porous materials
– Will analyze various porosity and
permeability parameters
• Calculate thermal energy extracted and
temperature decrease of solar cell
exposed to constant sun irradiance
• Can determine increase is solar panel
efficiency using public solar panel
efficiency data
Yang et. al.