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Solar Energy 158 (2017) 837–844
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Solar Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/solener
Experimental analysis of solar photovoltaic unit integrated with free cool
thermal energy storage system
P. Sudhakar, G. Kumaresan, R. Velraj
MARK
⁎
Institute for Energy Studies, CEG, Anna University, Chennai 600025, India
A R T I C L E I N F O
A B S T R A C T
Keywords:
Photovoltaic system
PCM
Cool thermal energy storage
The increase in operating temperature of the solar photovoltaic (PV) module results in loss of conversion efficiency. Active or passive based cooling methods are commonly used to remove heat and thus the performance of
PV module is enhanced. In this paper, cooling of solar PV module is achieved with the help of free cool thermal
energy stored in the phase change based storage system in the night and early morning hours. The performance
of the solar PV system combined with free cool thermal energy storage system containing encapsulated phase
change materials is studied. The free cool energy is stored when the ambient air available during early morning
hours is in the range of 20–25°C and allowed to flow over the encapsulated phase change materials (PCMs). The
HS29 PCM used as PCM in the storage tank stores the cool energy at a temperature range of 29–30 °C and the
same is supplied through the bottom of the PV panel during day time hours to keep the panel at a lower
temperature. The instantaneous energy and cumulative energy stored in the storage tank during charging process and the cooling potential during the operational hours of the solar panel with different mass flow rates of air
is studied and the results are presented.
1. Introduction
The depletion of fossil fuels and the degradation of the environment
in recent years necessitate the use of renewable energy resources.
Among the various renewable energy technologies, solar Photovoltaic
(PV) technology has rapidly matured in the recent years. The contribution of solar PV for the generation of electrical power has increased
steadily due to its simplicity. However, solar PV is not able to convert
all the solar radiation falling on it to electrical power, because majority
of the incident solar energy is reflected or dissipated as thermal energy
that reduces the electrical efficiency (da Silva and Fernandes, 2010;
Braunstein and Kornfeld, 1986). To increase the conversion efficiency
and to overcome the thermal degradation of PV panels, an effective
cooling method has to be adopted (Radziemska and Klugmann, 2002;
Han et al., 2013; Boer, 2011). For effective cooling of PV panels a fluid
stream is passed through them, which is technically called as a hybrid
PV/T collector. The commonly used PV/T technologies are (i) air
cooled PVT panel (Tripanagnostopoulos et al., 2002; Tiwari and Sodha,
2007; Garg and Agarwal, 1995; Tonui and Tripanagnostopoulos, 2008)
(ii) water cooled PVT panel (Huang et al., 2001; Kalogirou and
Tripanagnostopoulos, 2006; Chow et al., 2006) (iii) refrigerant-based
PVT (Ji et al., 2008; Zhao et al., 2011) and (iv) heat pipe-based PVT
(Tang et al., 2009).
⁎
Corresponding author.
E-mail address: velrajr@annauniv.edu (R. Velraj).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2017.10.043
Received 4 April 2017; Received in revised form 5 October 2017; Accepted 11 October 2017
0038-092X/ © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The increase in PV panel temperature is about 1.8 °C at each interval
of 100 W/m2 when the solar PV is not cooled, but when it is cooled with
atmospheric air the increase in the temperature is around 1.4 °C only at
each interval of 100 W/m2. The increase in efficiency of air cooled solar
PV is about 4–5%, when it is effectively cooled (Teo et al., 2012).
Hernández et al. (Hernández et al., 2013) improved the electrical
parameters of a PV panel with air as cooling medium. The authors
concluded that there is a percentage increase in electric energy yield by
15% and decrease in panel temperature of 15 °C. Kaiser et al. (Kaiser
et al., 2014) experimentally studied the cooling of building integrated
photovoltaics (BIPV) with air as cooling medium and empirical correlations were formed for the same system. The authors claimed an increase in the power output of 19% for BIPV.
The increase in performance of PV panel by using water as an effective coolant has gained its importance. Krauter (Krauter, 2004) increased the electrical efficiency of PV panels by producing films of
water on the front side of the panels and concluded that there is a
percentage increase in electric energy yield of PV panels by 9%. Odeh
and Behnia (Odeh and Behnia, 2009) experimentally analysed the
cooling of PV panel by incorporating a water flow on it and also numerically analysed the same system in TRNSYS for various geographical
locations. The authors concluded that there is a percentage increase in
electric energy yield of PV panels by 15% at peak incident radiations
Solar Energy 158 (2017) 837–844
P. Sudhakar et al.
Nomenclature
BIPV
CTES
EES
HDPE
HS
INR
PCM
PVC
PV/T
PV
Pt
RPM
TRNSYS
ṁ
cp
N
Qcum
̇
Qins
building integrated photovoltaic
cool thermal energy storage
engineering equation solver
high density polyethylene
hydrated salt
indian rupee
phase change material
polyvinyl chloride
photovoltaic/thermal
photovoltaic
Tic
Toc
Δt
Platinum
revolutions per minute
transient system simulation
mass flow rate “kg s−1’’
specific heat capacity “J kg−1 K−1’
number of measurements
cumulative energy gain “J”
instantaneous energy “W”
inlet temperature of air in CTES tank “°C”
outlet temperature of air in CTES tank “°C”
time interval during each measurement “s”
integrated with PCM and simulated the same for a specific geographic
location. The authors stated that the experimental results showed a
percentage increase in electric energy yield of 9.2% and maximum
energy generation efficiency of 2.8%. They also concluded that simulation results showed a percentage increase in electric energy yield and
energy generation efficiency of 4.3–8.7% and 0.5–1% respectively. Japs
et al. (Japs et al., 2016) experimentally studied the effects of paraffin
PCM with an improved thermal conductivity and standard thermal
conductivity on cooling of solar PV panel. The authors concluded that
the PCM with a higher thermal conductivity had significantly lower
temperatures after charging and a corresponding higher yield.
From literature review the increase in electric energy yield of PV
panel from various cooling techniques are given in Table 1.
Though there are numerous studies on cooling techniques for solar
PV modules, there are limited studies on solar PV collector integrated
with phase change material (PCM) based latent heat energy storage
system. The objective of the present work is to study the performance of
solar PV system cooled using free cool thermal energy stored in the
storage tank containing encapsulated HS29 PCM. The cooling potential
for the solar PV system is evaluated under two different conditions and
with different mass flow rates of air.
and annual performance of PV panel was enhanced by 5%. Yang et al.
(Yang et al., 2012) studied a novel water cooled solar PV/T system
experimentally first and later numerically modelled the same in finite
element analysis method. The authors concluded that there is a percentage increase in electric energy yield of 13.8% for the PV system
considered, and the simulation results are concurrent with experimental values. Bahaidarah et al. (Bahaidarah et al., 2013) experimentally investigated the electrical and thermal characteristics of water
cooled PV panel and validated the same system in Engineering Equation
Solver (EES) numerical model. The authors concluded that there is a
20% decrease in module temperature and 9% relative increase in
electrical efficiency. Elnozahy et al. (Elnozahy et al., 2015) experimentally investigated the performance of self-cooled and cleaned PV
panel and the same is compared with PV panel without coolant and
cleaning system. The authors reported that the electrical efficiency of
self-cooled and cleaned PV panel is 11.7% and 9% for PV panel without
coolant and cleaning system. Nizetic′ et al. (Nižetić et al., 2016) has
experimentally studied water spraying cooling technique on both sides
of PV panel. It is confirmed by the authors that there was a percentage
increase in electric energy yield of 16.3%. Bahaidarah (Bahaidarah,
2016) experimentally studied the cooling of PV panel with jet impingement for the months of June and December and the same was
numerically modelled. The authors found that there was a percentage
increase in electric energy yield of 51.6% for the month of June and
49.6% and for the month of December respectively.
For uniform cooling and to remove heat uniformly from PV panels,
various channels are used by researchers. Rahimi et al. (Rahimi et al.,
2015) analysed a comparative study of single and multi-header micro
channels for cooling of PV cells. The authors concluded that removal of
heat and power output for PV panels with multi header channels was
comparatively higher than PV panels with single header channel. Baloch et al. (Baloch et al., 2015) investigated experimentally and numerically the performances of a converging channel heat exchanger for
PV cooling. The percentage increase in electric energy yield was found
to be 35.5% respectively.
Passive methods are nowadays used to cool the PV panel for the
reduction of power consumed by auxiliary devices in active cooling
system. Chandrasekar et al. (Chandrasekar et al., 2013) experimentally
investigated the cooling of PV with the combination of cotton wicks,
water and nano fluids. Al2O3/water and CuO/water have module efficiency of 10.4%, 9.7% and 9.5% respectively. Alami (Alami, 2014)
studied the effects of evaporative cooling on efficiency of PV modules.
The authors stated that there is a percentage increase in electric energy
yield of 19.1% for cooled PV module. Chandrasekar et al.
(Chandrasekar and Senthilkumar, 2015) experimentally demonstrated
PV module cooled by heat spreaders with cotton wicks. The authors
claimed that the PV module with cooling technique showed a percentage increase in electric energy yield of 14% and 12% decrease in
module temperature.
Recently the application of PCM to cool PV panel has gained importance. Stritih (Stritih, 2016) experimentally investigated PV
2. Experimental investigation
The description of system components, PCM details, measurements
and experimental procedure are discussed in this section.
2.1. System description
The experimental setup shown in Fig. 1 consists of a PV panel, CTES
Table 1
Increase in electric energy yield of PV panel from various cooling techniques.
Sl.no
Author
Cooling technique/
medium
Increase in electrical
energy yield (%)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Hernández et al. (2013)
Kaiser et al. (2014)
Krauter (2004)
Odeh and Behnia (2009)
Yang et al. (2012)
Elnozahy et al. (2015)
Nižetić et al. (2016)
Bahaidarah (2016)
Rahimi et al. (2015)
Baloch et al. (2015)
15
14
9
15
13.8
26
16.3
51.6
28
35.5
11
Chandrasekar et al.
(2013)
Alami et al. (2014)
Chandrasekar and
Senthilkumar (2015)
Stritih (2016)
Air
Air
Water
Water
Water
Water
Water
Water
Water in microchannel
Water in converging
channel
Cotton wicks with
water, nanofluids
Evaporative cooling
Head spreader with
cotton wicks
PCM
12
13
14
838
15.8
19.1
14
9.2
Solar Energy 158 (2017) 837–844
P. Sudhakar et al.
Fig. 1. Schematic of solar PV system with CTES.
hours between 4.00 and 8.00 h. During the start of each experiment the
cool ambient air available freely in the early morning hours was allowed to flow through the CTES tank with the help of an induced draft
blower. The required mass flow rate of air was achieved by varying the
velocity of the air through the adjustment available in the blower. The
charging experiments were conducted at a particular mass flow rate of
0.25 kg/s. The temperature of the PCM was continuously recorded until
the PCM temperature reaches slightly below the freezing temperature
of the PCM. The measured values were used to calculate the instantaneous and cumulative energy gained in the CTES tank.
The ambient air was allowed to pass through the CTES tank and to
the bottom of the PV panel with the help of an induced draft blower
when the PV panels are exposed to solar radiation and in operation. The
experiments were carried out in two different modes namely outdoor
condition and indoor condition. In the first mode the experimental
setup was placed outside under the direct sunlight where solar intensity
was varying continuously and in the second mode it was placed under a
solar simulator provided with a constant heat flux of 894 W/m2. The
first mode of outdoor experiment was carried out during the month of
March in Chennai, India, to determine the performance of the solar PV
system integrated with CTES system. The experiments were conducted
during the day time between 10.00 and 15.00 h when the panel temperature is at a higher level. The air control valve near the blower was
tank and an air blower. The specification of PV module and CTES tank
are given in Table 2 and 3 respectively. The bottom of the PV panel was
made as a duct using aluminium sheet to create a passage for the air to
flow. The CTES tank in cylindrical shape was provided with an upper
opening for the purpose of loading/unloading the PCM spherical capsules. The CTES tank contains spherical capsules made of high density
polyethylene (HDPE) having inner and outer diameters of 0.067 m and
0.075 m respectively to encapsulate the PCM. The PCM tank was kept
horizontally with perforated distributor plates at air entry and exit of
the tank to get a uniform air flow over the spherical capsules. The CTES
tank was well insulated in order to prevent the loss of stored cool energy.
The PCM HS 29 procured from PLUSS polymers New Delhi, India
was filled in the spherical capsules kept in the CTES tank. The thermosphysical properties of HS 29 (a commercial salt hydrate) are given in
Table 4. The CTES tank contained 128 capsules each filled with 0.25 kg
of PCM. An induced draft blower with a specification of single phase,
750 W (1 hp), 2800 RPM & 240 V was used to allow the air to flow
through the CTES tank and the PV panel. The CTES tank, PV panel and
the blower are connected through PVC pipes. The duct and the pipes
were perfectly sealed to avoid leakage of cool air.
The solar irradiance on the PV panel surface was measured using
Pyranometer (Hukeflux LP02) with sensitivity of 15 × 10−6 V/(W/m2).
Calibrated thermocouples PT 100/K type (Iron-Constantan) with a
sensitivity of 55 µ V/○C in the measuring range of −50 °C to 200 °C
along with data acquisition system (Agilent made) were used to measure the temperature of the PCM in the CTES tank, the temperature at
the top and bottom of the PV panel and the temperature of the air at the
inlet and exit. The inlet air velocity to the duct was measured using
digital anemometer (HTC make, model No.AVM-06) with an accuracy
of ± 2.0%.
Table 2
Specification of PV panel.
2.2. Experimental procedure
The charging experiments were conducted during the early morning
839
Description
Specifications
Material
Peak power
Electrical efficiency
Open circuit voltage
Short circuit current
Length
Width
Cost
Mono crystalline
35 Wp
15%
21.6 V
2.32 A
0.96 m
0.44 m
INR 1400
Solar Energy 158 (2017) 837–844
P. Sudhakar et al.
rates of 0.05 kg/s, 0.08 kg/s and 0.1 kg/s. The experiments were conducted until the temperature of the PCM in the CTES tank reaches
slightly above the melting temperature of the PCM.
The second mode of indoor experiment was very similar to first
mode. However a solar simulator was used to provide a constant radiation intensity on the panel instead of varying actual solar radiation.
The experiments were conducted for a period of 3 h under three different mass flow rates. The measured values in two modes of experiments were used to determine the cooling performance of the solar PV
system.
Table 3
Details of storage tank.
Description
Material
Diameter
Length
Thickness
Volume
Cost
Specifications
Mild Steel plate
0.350 m
0.75 m
5 mm
0.07 m3
INR 3000
Table 4
Thermo-physical properties of PCMa.
Phase change temperature (°C)
Density (kg/m3)
Latent heat of fusion (kJ/kg)
Thermal Conductivity (W/m K)
Specific heat capacity (J/kg K)
3. Performance parameters
Solid
Liquid
28–30
1600
205
1.09
0.54
1440
The two parameters evaluated using the measurements made during
̇ ) and (ii)
the charging experiments are (i) instantaneous energy (Qins
cumulative energy gain (Qcum ) in the CTES tank using Eqs. (1) and (2)
respectively.
̇ = mc
̇ p (Toc−Tic )
Qins
Supplier: Pluss Polymers, New Delhi, India.
(1)
where ṁ is mass flow rate of air (kg/s), cp is specific heat capacity of air
(J/kgK), Toc and Tic are outlet and inlet temperature of the air in the
CTES tank.
n
Qcum =
∑
̇ p (Toc−Tic )Δt )i
(mc
i=1
(2)
where Δt is time interval during each measurement and n is the number
of measurements. The same equations were also used to evaluate the
instantaneous rate of heat removal during the experiments conducted to
evaluate the cooling performance of the PV panel by supplying cool air
from the CTES tank.
4. Results and discussion
The charging experiments were carried out for four hours in the
early morning between 4.00 and 8.00 h. Fig. 2 shows the temperature
of the ambient, inlet and outlet air of the CTES tank and PCM temperature during the charging process. It can be seen from the figure that
the temperature difference between ambient and the inlet air to the
CTES tank is varying approximately in the range of 0.8 °C. This increase
in air temperature at CTES inlet is due to the turbulence at the entry.
Afterwards there is an increase of 1.5–2 °C when the air flows through
the CTES tank during the first two hours of the experiment. This temperature difference gradually reduces to 1 °C after 6.30 h and it is
Fig. 2. Temperature of ambient, air temperature of inlet and outlet of CTES tank and PCM
temperature.
used to adjust the flow of air to the system. The velocity of air at inlet to
the CTES tank was measured by anemometer. The temperatures at all
locations were monitored continuously. Solar intensity at the surface of
the PV panel was monitored simultaneously using the pyranometer. The
entire experiments were conducted for three different air mass flow
Fig. 3. Instantaneous energy gain and Cumulative energy gain by CTES
during charging process.
840
Solar Energy 158 (2017) 837–844
P. Sudhakar et al.
Fig. 4. (a), (b) & (c) Variation of ambient, panel, duct temperature and
solar insolation with respect to time at mass flow rates of 0.05, 0.08 and 0.1
kg/s respectively for first mode of experiment (outdoor condition).
tank during the charging process are shown in Fig. 3. The instantaneous
energy in the CTES tank at the start of the experiment is higher due to more
temperature potential difference between the PCM and cool air entry at
CTES, and then the energy gained gradually reduces till 6.30 h. After 6.30 h,
the instantaneous energy shows a constant value of only 0.25 kW till 8.00 h.
This reduction in instantaneous energy gained is due to the increase in the
inlet temperature of the air in the CTES tank and also due to the increasing
maintained till 8.00 h. The PCM temperature is reduced from 30 °C at
4.00 h to 27.9 °C at 6.00 h and construed that the PCM is under phase
change by absorbing the cool energy from the ambient air. The increase
in temperature of the air at the CTES outlet, than the PCM temperature
(approximately 0.6 °C) beyond 7:00 h could be due to air turbulence
and the frictional effect at the exit.
The instantaneous energy and cumulative energy gained in the CTES
841
Solar Energy 158 (2017) 837–844
P. Sudhakar et al.
Fig. 5. (a), (b) & (c) Variation of ambient, panel and duct temperature with
respect to time at mass flow rates of 0.05, 0.08 and 0.1 kg/s respectively for
second mode of experiment (indoor condition).
Fig. 4(a)–(c) shows the variation in the top and bottom PV panel
temperature, inlet and outlet duct air temperature, ambient temperature and solar insolation observed during the first mode of experiment
(outdoor condition) conducted between 10.00 and 15.00 h at various
air mass flow rates of 0.05, 0.08 and 0.1 kg/s respectively. It is seen
from the figure that for all the three cases, there is only a small
conductive resistance offered by the solidified layer inside the spherical
capsules in the CTES tank. The total cumulative energy gained by the CTES
tank during the four hours of charging experiment is 5585.29 kJ. The
maximum energy that can be stored in CTES tank is 6560 kJ. Thus it is
construed that within a period of 4 h, 85.14% of the charging capacity is
utilised in the storage tank.
842
Solar Energy 158 (2017) 837–844
P. Sudhakar et al.
was only a small variation in ambient temperature during the experiments conducted. The temperature difference between the air inlet and
outlet of the duct does not vary for the mass flow rates of 0.08 and
0.1 kg/s. However for mass flow rate of 0.05 kg/s there is a less temperature difference of the air along the duct due to higher temperature
observed at the bottom of the panel for this mass flow rate. It is observed from the figure that the average panel temperature is well above
60 °C. This high panel temperature is due to the experiment conducted
in a room where no wind flows over the panel as in the case of outdoor
condition.
It is seen from Fig. 6 that the instantaneous rate of heat removal
from the panel through the supply air is 0.4 kW when the mass flow rate
is 0.05 kg/s during the initial time of the experiment (i.e. at 10.00 h)
and it gradually decreases to 0.1 kW after a period of 5 h (i.e. at 15.00
h) at the end of the experiment. This decrease in heat transfer removal
is justified as the cool energy withdrawn from the CTES tank is also
decreasing with respect to time which is also observed from increase in
duct inlet air temperature. It should be noted that the average solar
insolation during the time of experiment between 10.00 to 15.00 h
through the 0.5 m2 solar panel is 0.4598 kW and the variation in solar
insolation during the entire period of the experiment is only ± 5% of
0.4598 kW. The decrease in heat removal rate through the air is due to
the increase in duct to the increase in duct inlet air temperature.
The similar trend is not observed during the experiments with
0.08 kg/s and 0.1 kg/s. Unexpectedly the rate of heat removal through
the air in both the experiments exceeded the solar insolation during the
major portion of the experiment. The heat removal rate is 1.5–2.5 times
the solar insolation falling on the solar panel. This higher magnitude of
heat removal rate than the supplied heat infers that the heat is generated during the passage of air flow through the duct due to viscous heat
dissipation at higher mass flow rate. This shows that the flow is turbulent at the mass flow rates of 0.08 kg/s and 0.1 kg/s. This turbulent
flow will cause higher pressure drop which in turn increases the blower
power requirement in addition to the unnecessary heat addition in the
duct. The similar trend is also observed during the experiments conducted during the indoor mode which is shown in Fig. 7.
It is construed from the above results that during the adoption of air
cooling mode, it should be ensured that the air flow under the panel
should not be subjected to viscous heat generation and hence optimising the flow velocity and the mass flow rate through the duct under
the PV panel is very essential to achieve the desired rate of cooling.
Fig. 6. Instantaneous heat removal rate by air during outdoor mode of experiment for
various mass flow rates.
Fig. 7. Instantaneous heat removal rate by air during indoor mode of experiment for
various mass flow rates.
5. Conclusion
variation in ambient temperature during the experiments conducted.
The average solar insolation at the start of the experiment for all three
different mass flow rates was approximately 900 W/m2. Maximum
average solar insolation reached around 13.00 h was 950 W/m2. It
gradually reduced at the end of the experiment to an average value of
875 W/m2 at 15.00 h. The decrease in temperature difference across the
duct is more after 13.00 h due to increase in solar insolation. The
bottom and top panel temperatures as depicted in figures show that the
PV panel is heated well above 50 °C, so the PV panel has to be cooled to
achieve higher efficiency and to enhance its life period. It is inferred
from the figure that, the air temperature at the duct entry is always
lesser than the ambient temperature because the ambient air is cooled
by the CTES. The average maximum and minimum temperature difference between the ambient air and duct entry air is 5.4 °C and 3.4 °C
respectively.
Fig. 5(a)–(c) shows the variation of top and bottom panel temperature, inlet and outlet duct temperature and ambient temperature
observed during the second mode of experiment (indoor condition) at
various mass flow rates of 0.05, 0.08 and 0.1 kg/s respectively. This
indoor experiment was conducted using a solar simulator maintaining
the intensity of 894 W/m2. The total duration of the experiment was
three hours. It is seen from the figure that for all the three cases there
An experimental investigation of the performance evaluation of a
solar PV system integrated with cool thermal energy storage (CTES) is
carried out. The charging of CTES system has been conducted separately during early morning hours. The experiment with solar PV
system and CTES has been conducted during day time hours under
outdoor and indoor conditions separately.
The instantaneous energy gained by CTES system depends on the
ambient air temperature and it is maximum at early morning 4.00 h and
decreases gradually till 6.00 h. The total cumulative energy gained by
CTES system is 5585 kJ and the total charging efficiency of the CTES
system is 85.14%.
It is well known that the PV panel efficiency decreases with increase
in temperature. If there is no air flow at the bottom of the panel the
stagnant air definitely will increase the panel temperature to as high as
60–70 °C depending on the ambient conditions. Hence the circulation of
air under the panel is essential to avoid the stagnation of air. However,
it is understood from the discharge experiments that if the air is allowed
to flow at a higher velocity through a duct the turbulence intensity
inside the duct will cause heating effect. It is concluded from the present experiment that better cooling could be achieved only through the
cool air supply at lower velocity. The cool air supply will be very useful
to reduce the mass of air required and also to increase the volume flow
843
Solar Energy 158 (2017) 837–844
P. Sudhakar et al.
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handling capacity of blower which will reduce the operational cost of
the blower.
The present experiments conducted to store the cool air during the
early morning hours and to use this cool energy supply at low velocity
to dissipate the heat rejected from the panel during the hours is the best
method to achieve higher operational efficiency from the solar PV
panel.
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