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.
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