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Energies 2016, 9(10), 782; doi:10.3390/en9100782

Energy Efficiency Enhancement of Photovoltaics by Phase Change Materials through Thermal Energy Recovery

College of Engineering, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain 15551, UAE
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Academic Editors: Senthilarasu Sundaram and Tapas Mallick
Received: 12 June 2016 / Revised: 27 July 2016 / Accepted: 29 July 2016 / Published: 28 September 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4775 KB, uploaded 28 September 2016]   |  

Abstract

Photovoltaic (PV) panels convert a certain amount of incident solar radiation into electricity, while the rest is converted to heat, leading to a temperature rise in the PV. This elevated temperature deteriorates the power output and induces structural degradation, resulting in reduced PV lifespan. One potential solution entails PV thermal management employing active and passive means. The traditional passive means are found to be largely ineffective, while active means are considered to be energy intensive. A passive thermal management system using phase change materials (PCMs) can effectively limit PV temperature rises. The PCM-based approach however is cost inefficient unless the stored thermal energy is recovered effectively. The current article investigates a way to utilize the thermal energy stored in the PCM behind the PV for domestic water heating applications. The system is evaluated in the winter conditions of UAE to deliver heat during water heating demand periods. The proposed system achieved a ~1.3% increase in PV electrical conversion efficiency, along with the recovery of ~41% of the thermal energy compared to the incident solar radiation. View Full-Text
Keywords: photovoltaics (PV); phase change material (PCM); thermal management; water heating; energy recovery photovoltaics (PV); phase change material (PCM); thermal management; water heating; energy recovery
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Hasan, A.; Alnoman, H.; Shah, A.H. Energy Efficiency Enhancement of Photovoltaics by Phase Change Materials through Thermal Energy Recovery. Energies 2016, 9, 782.

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