International Journal of Energy Research, Vol.45, No.2, 1269-1308, 2021
A review of photovoltaic thermal systems: Achievements and applications
The use of photovoltaics has spread widely, and government agencies have begun adopting plans to deploy plants with large capacities, due to their environmental friendliness, low manufacturing costs, and high productivity. In the sunny countries where this technology should spread, the photovoltaics' energy conversion efficiency decreases due to the high temperature of which the cell's operate at; because a large part of the solar radiation is absorbed by the solar panels as heat, while the smaller part converts it to electricity. From here, the benefit of the shift towards the PV/T technology that works to reduce the photovoltaic modules temperature and improve their electricity produced along with yielded thermal energy which can be utilized in other applications. In this study, a thorough review of many recent research and studies published in the field of PV/T has been carried out. The present study was divided into several sections to clarify and focus on the effect of each technology separately. Researchers used one or more fluids to cool the solar panels, and their research dealt with many of these fluids, starting with air, water, oil, etc. Other researchers have tended to increase the thermal conductivity of liquid cooling fluids by adding many types of nanoparticles with high thermal conductivity. Other researchers have used variable-phase materials to take advantage of the large storage of the latent heat of these materials. Other researchers have studied improving heat transfer of PCMs by mixing it with nanomaterials with high thermal conductivity. Others have also combined nano-PCMs and nanofluids together in one system, and they have demonstrated, in theory and practice, that this technique exhibits higher energy collection and utilization than the other types of PV/T. At the conclusion of the study, some critical points are identified that work is still limited and needs more research efforts and studies.