Investigation Results and Analysis of Solar Cells Performance Enhancement by Cooling using Thermoelectric Cooling (TEC)
Keywords:PV module, Solar cells, Peltier device, Laboratory tests, thermoelectric devices, PV cooling, spatial effect.
Solar energy received special attention and extensive studies were conducted to increase the efficiency of solar collectors and solar cells. One of the major problems of the operation of solar cells is the temperature rising which causes a reduction in the energy yield. The main objective of this work is to experimentally investigate the cooling effect of thermoelectric cooling devices (TEC) on solar cell performance. To overcome the rising temperature effect, the cooling by using the Peltier device is proposed and investigated. In this approach, the TEC cooling module is attached to the backside of the photovoltaic cell. It is assumed that the required power to run the TEC module is provided by the photovoltaic cell itself when the additional power obtained by the cooling is more than the needed power to operates the TEC device. The results show that the cooling of the tested PV cells/modules samples by using the Peltier TEC device was slightly enhanced the PV cells' performance. In our case of study for a 2Wp solar cell sample, the maximum temperature difference obtained due to Peltier cooling is about 5.3C° which produced an enhancement for the produced power and the open-circuit voltage by 7.02% and 2.64% respectively. However, the needed power to feed the Peltier element is significantly higher than the recovered power due to the Peltier cooling. The same trend was investigated for the tested samples of PV modules. So, the proposed combination of PV and Peltier cooling system was investigated to be economically not feasible regardless of the cost evaluation. Finally, the spatial effect and the proposed system can be improved significantly by altering and improving the performance of the Peltier element and the thermal characteristics of the solar cells/modules encapsulation material.
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