The electric power generation efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) panels depends on the solar irradiation flux and the operating temperature of the solar cell. To increase the power generation efficiency of a PV system, this study evaluated the feasibility of phase change materials (PCMs) to reduce the temperature rise of solar cells operating under the climate in Seoul, Korea. For this purpose, two PCMs with different phase change characteristics were prepared and the phase change temperatures and thermal conductivities were compared. The diurnal thermal behavior of PV panels with PCMs under the Seoul climate was evaluated using a 2-D transient thermal analysis program. This paper discusses the heat flow characteristics though the PV cell with PCMs and the effects of the PCM types and macro-packed PCM (MPPCM) methods on the operating temperatures under different weather conditions. Selection of the PCM type was more important than the MMPCM methods when PCMs were used to enhance the performance of PV panels and the mean operating temperature of PV cell and total heat flux from the surface could be reduced by increasing the heat transfer rate through the honeycomb grid steel container for PCMs. Considering the mean operating temperature reduction of 4°C by PCM in this study, an efficiency improvement of approximately 2% can be estimated under the weather conditions of Seoul.
- Phase change materials (PCMs)
- Photovoltaic panel
- Solar energy
- Specific heat capacity
- Thermal conductivity