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Phase-Change Material to Thermally Regulate Photovoltaic Panels to Improve Solar to Electric Efficiency

[+] Author Affiliations
Andrew H. Rosenthal, Bruna P. Gonçalves, J. A. Beckwith, Rohit Gulati, Marc D. Compere, Sandra K. S. Boetcher

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL

Paper No. IMECE2015-50650, pp. V08BT10A009; 6 pages
  • ASME 2015 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 8B: Heat Transfer and Thermal Engineering
  • Houston, Texas, USA, November 13–19, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5750-2
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


This paper investigates the use of phase-change material (PCM) for temperature regulation of a rack-mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar panel. PV panels exhibit a significant decrease in electrical efficiency as temperature trends higher. Current PV panels are approximately 10–16% efficient at harnessing incident solar irradiation into effective electrical power. The remaining solar irradiation that is not converted to electricity will heat the PV panel and decrease efficiency. Using PCM for temperature regulation and temporary heat storage in photovoltaic/thermal systems (PVT) is an emerging technology that has attracted attention recently. The PCM absorbs heat and regulates peak temperature, which allows the PV panel to operate at lower temperatures during peak solar conditions. Further, the waste heat stored in the PCM can be used for other applications. The main focus of this paper is to experimentally evaluate the heat dissipation of four different PCM containment configurations from a simulated PV panel.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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