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Title: Optics-based approach to thermal management of photovoltaics: Selective-spectral and radiative cooling

For commercial one-sun solar modules, up to 80% of the incoming sunlight may be dissipated as heat, potentially raising the temperature 20-30 °C higher than the ambient. In the long term, extreme self-heating erodes efficiency and shortens lifetime, thereby dramatically reducing the total energy output. Therefore, it is critically important to develop effective and practical (and preferably passive) cooling methods to reduce operating temperature of photovoltaic (PV) modules. In this paper, we explore two fundamental (but often overlooked) origins of PV self-heating, namely, sub-bandgap absorption and imperfect thermal radiation. The analysis suggests that we redesign the optical properties of the solar module to eliminate parasitic absorption (selective-spectral cooling) and enhance thermal emission (radiative cooling). Comprehensive opto-electro-thermal simulation shows that the proposed techniques would cool one-sun terrestrial solar modules up to 10 °C. As a result, this self-cooling would substantially extend the lifetime for solar modules, with corresponding increase in energy yields and reduced levelized cost of electricity.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN (United States)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2156-3381
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 2156-3381
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)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; radiative cooling; reliability; selective-spectral cooling; self-heating; sub-bandgap absorption
OSTI Identifier: