Solar Energy, Vol.209, 415-423, 2020
The effect of using hybrid phase change materials on thermal management of photovoltaic panels - An experimental study
The temperature regulation of photovoltaic (PV) modules using passive approach with phase-change materials (PCMs) has fascinated many researchers now-a-days. This article presents real-time experimental investigation of PV panels with PCM under warm climate of Taxila, Pakistan in two phases. In first phase, effect of fins inserted into PCM, is examined by varying number of fins as 2, 5, 8 and 11. Due to improved heat conduction within PCM through metal contact, PV cell temperature lowered by maximum 22.9 degrees C, 23.7 degrees C, 24.1 degrees C, 24.9 degrees C and 26.5 degrees C with finless, 2 -fin, 5 -fin, 8 -fin and 11-fin PV/PCM configurations respectively, improving electrical conversion efficiency from 10.2% to 10.9%, 11.3%, 11.6%, 11.8% and 12.2% respectively. In second phase, effect of using 2 PCMs of different melting points, separated by finned-aluminum plate, is investigated and compared with one PCM for PV cooling. It is found that one PCM configuration is more efficient than two PCM configurations as cell temperature lowers on average by 9.7 degrees C, 7.9 degrees C and 7 degrees C with one PCM configuration and two different configurations (i.e. different order) of 2 PCMs respectively. Electrical power output also enhances by 13.3%, 8.8%, and 7.8% respectively. 2-PCM configurations shows better performance than 1-PCM configuration in case only when it is compared to 1-PCM configuration having PCM of higher melting point. Order of PCMs has no significant effect on PV-performance.