Experimental Investigation of Thermal Performance of Photovoltaic Thermal (PVT) Systems

Abstract The phenomenon of photovoltaic systems is based on the principals of semiconductor physics and they operate with a semiconductor element, such as silicon. Photovoltaic cells can generate electricity only when they receive a certain amount of photon energy and thus they convert only a fraction of the solar irradiance, which is received from the sun in the form of electromagnetic radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum, into electrical energy. The remaining radiation is stored as heat in photovoltaic systems, causing some irreversibilities in the system.

In general, the experimental setup, the accumulated heat, which reduces the efficiency of the photovoltaic systems, is aimed to be removed from the system and turned it into useful energy. By employing some heat transfer enhancement systems, the photovoltaic cell temperature decreased to the range of 40-60 °C, the temperature range at which a photovoltaic system runs optimal, whereby an approximate improvement of 20% in electrical efficiency of the PV system achieved. Aluminum and copper cylindrical fins or some refrigerant fluids used as heat transfer enhancement elements in the systems.

In this operating conditions, the electrical efficiency of the system decreases to around 6.5% down from the nominal electrical efficiency of 12% under optimal operating temperature. The fin surface temperature and ambient temperature of the control volume decreased in direct proportion to the air velocity. At about 5 m/s air velocity, the fins bodies and ambient air were cooled down by about 50%, accordingly, the electrical efficiency decreased from 12% to only 9.5%.

Keywords Thermal efficiency of PV cells; electrical efficiency; copper fins; aluminum fins; pv/t systems.

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Engineering Journal: Experimental Investigation of Thermal Performance of Photovoltaic Thermal (PVT) Systems

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