Solar Energy, Vol.188, 96-110, 2019
From Sweden to Portugal: The effect of very distinct climate zones on energy efficiency of a concentrating photovoltaic/thermal system (CPV/T)
In the presented paper, we developed a partnership with the Swedish company Solarus AB to study the performance of a CPV/T under very distinct climate zones: Sweden and Portugal. We focus on thermal effects and their influence on the CPV/T's energy efficiency. Therefore, we develop an electromagnetic-thermal finite element model (FEM) of the CPV/T in 2D and 3D, capable of computing the heat transfer occurring due to the flow of cooling fluid. Furthermore, we use the developed model to evaluate temperature conditions over the different layers of the photovoltaic panel and fluid temperature along the CPV/T. The evaluation shows that it is the CPV/T cooling structure that has a major influence on CPV/T's performance when it functions in climate zones with very different temperature scales along the year. The shape of cooling channels, for example, must continue to ensure a better heat transfer, leading thus to a more uniform distribution of the temperature along with the receiver. Also, fluid flow rates must be carefully selected to avoid solar cells reach their maximum operating temperatures (85 degrees C).