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Title: Reducing Operating Temperature in Photovoltaic Modules

Abstract

Reducing the operating temperature of photovoltaic modules increases their efficiency and lifetime. This can be achieved by reducing the production of waste heat or by improving the rejection of waste heat. We tested, using a combination of simulation and experiment, several thermal modifications in each category. To predict operating temperature and energy yield changes in response to changes to the module, we implemented a physics-based transient simulation framework based almost entirely on measured properties. The most effective thermal modifications reduced the production of waste heat by reflecting unusable light from the cell or the module. Consistent with previous results and verified in this work through year-long simulations, the ideal reflector resulted in an annual irradiance-weighted temperature reduction of 3.8 K for crystalline silicon (c-Si). Our results illustrate that more realistic reflector concepts must balance detrimental optical effects with the intended thermal effects to realize the optimal energy production advantage. Methods improving thermal conductivity or back-side emissivity showed only modest improvements of less than 1 K. We also studied a GaAs module, which uses high-efficiency and high-subbandgap reflectivity to operate at an annual irradiance-weighted temperature 12 K cooler than that of a c-Si module under the same conditions.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [3];  [3]
  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  2. University of Toledo
  3. University of Minnesota
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
OSTI Identifier:
1419416
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5J00-67837
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; computer simulation; optics; photovoltaic cells; photovoltaic systems; ray tracing; solar energy; solar panels; thermal conductivity; thermal management

Citation Formats

Silverman, Timothy J, Deceglie, Michael G, Repins, Ingrid L, Subedi, Indra, Podraza, Nikolas J., Slauch, Ian M., and Ferry, Vivian E. Reducing Operating Temperature in Photovoltaic Modules. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1109/JPHOTOV.2017.2779842.
Silverman, Timothy J, Deceglie, Michael G, Repins, Ingrid L, Subedi, Indra, Podraza, Nikolas J., Slauch, Ian M., & Ferry, Vivian E. Reducing Operating Temperature in Photovoltaic Modules. United States. doi:10.1109/JPHOTOV.2017.2779842.
Silverman, Timothy J, Deceglie, Michael G, Repins, Ingrid L, Subedi, Indra, Podraza, Nikolas J., Slauch, Ian M., and Ferry, Vivian E. 2018. "Reducing Operating Temperature in Photovoltaic Modules". United States. doi:10.1109/JPHOTOV.2017.2779842.
@article{osti_1419416,
title = {Reducing Operating Temperature in Photovoltaic Modules},
author = {Silverman, Timothy J and Deceglie, Michael G and Repins, Ingrid L and Subedi, Indra and Podraza, Nikolas J. and Slauch, Ian M. and Ferry, Vivian E.},
abstractNote = {Reducing the operating temperature of photovoltaic modules increases their efficiency and lifetime. This can be achieved by reducing the production of waste heat or by improving the rejection of waste heat. We tested, using a combination of simulation and experiment, several thermal modifications in each category. To predict operating temperature and energy yield changes in response to changes to the module, we implemented a physics-based transient simulation framework based almost entirely on measured properties. The most effective thermal modifications reduced the production of waste heat by reflecting unusable light from the cell or the module. Consistent with previous results and verified in this work through year-long simulations, the ideal reflector resulted in an annual irradiance-weighted temperature reduction of 3.8 K for crystalline silicon (c-Si). Our results illustrate that more realistic reflector concepts must balance detrimental optical effects with the intended thermal effects to realize the optimal energy production advantage. Methods improving thermal conductivity or back-side emissivity showed only modest improvements of less than 1 K. We also studied a GaAs module, which uses high-efficiency and high-subbandgap reflectivity to operate at an annual irradiance-weighted temperature 12 K cooler than that of a c-Si module under the same conditions.},
doi = {10.1109/JPHOTOV.2017.2779842},
journal = {IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2018,
month = 1
}