International Journal of Energy Research, Vol.44, No.1, 574-583, 2020
A new production cost effectiveness factor for assessing photovoltaic module cooling techniques
Numerous cooling techniques are available to reduce photovoltaic module (PV) temperature and thus improve PV efficiency. Sometimes, the manufacturing cost of some PV cooling techniques is higher as compared with their power productivity, and thus the cost parameter is needed to be taken into consideration to justify producing certain PV cooling techniques. This paper is intended to link the manufacturing cost of the PV cooler with its output power by providing an economic analysis as there is a research gap in previous studies related to the economic aspect of these products. It proposes a new method by defining and deriving a new parameter called the PV cooling technique production cost effectiveness factor whose value is affected by the PV efficiency gained of a PV with and without a cooler, the manufacturing cost of the PV cooling technique, and the cost of one watt of PV power. Based on the value of this new factor, three possible classifications are suggested. They are production/not production cost effective or neutral. To determine the optimum PV cooler, the minimum value of the PV cooling technique production cost effectiveness factor is defined. The applicability conditions and limitations of the proposed method are illustrated. It is shown that the PV cooling technique production cost effectiveness factor and its minimum value are helpful in classifying the PV cooling techniques based on their power productivity and manufacturing cost. This parameter may have a potential to be used by PV cooling technique designers and manufacturers on making their design decisions.