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Open AccessArticle

Theoretical and Numerical Study of a Photovoltaic System with Active Fluid Cooling by a Fully-Coupled 3D Thermal and Electric Model

1
Scuola di Ingegneria SI-UniBas, Università della Basilicata, via dell’Ateneo Lucano, 10, 85100 Potenza, Italy
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Department of Electronics, Telecommunications and Energy, Valahia University of Targoviste, 130004 Dambovita, Romania
3
Energy Department, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2020, 13(4), 852; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13040852
Received: 31 December 2019 / Revised: 5 February 2020 / Accepted: 8 February 2020 / Published: 15 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photovoltaic Modules)
The paper deals with the three-dimensional theoretical and numerical investigation of the electrical performance of a Photovoltaic System (PV) with active fluid cooling (PVFC) in order to increase its efficiency in converting solar radiation into electricity. The paper represents a refinement of a previous study by the authors in which a one-dimensional theoretical model was presented to evaluate the best compromise, in terms of fluid flow rate, of net power gain in a cooled PV system. The PV system includes 20 modules cooled by a fluid circulating on the bottom, the piping network, and the circulating pump. The fully coupled thermal and electrical model was developed in a three-dimensional geometry and the results were discussed with respect to the one-dimensional approximation and to experimental tests. Numerical simulations show that a competitive mechanism between the power gain due to the cell temperature reduction and the power consumption of the pump exists, and that a best compromise, in terms of fluid flow rate, can be found. The optimum flow rate can be automatically calculated by using a semi-analytical approach in which irradiance and ambient temperature of the site are known and the piping network losses are fully characterized. View Full-Text
Keywords: photovoltaic modules; thermal–electrical model; computational fluid dynamics (CFD); solar energy; active cooling photovoltaic modules; thermal–electrical model; computational fluid dynamics (CFD); solar energy; active cooling
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D’Angola, A.; Enescu, D.; Mecca, M.; Ciocia, A.; Leo, P.D.; Fracastoro, G.V.; Spertino, F. Theoretical and Numerical Study of a Photovoltaic System with Active Fluid Cooling by a Fully-Coupled 3D Thermal and Electric Model. Energies 2020, 13, 852.

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