The photoelectric conversion efficiency of a solar cell is dependent on its temperature. When solar radiation is incident on a photovoltaic (PV) panel, a large portion of it is absorbed by the underlying material, which increases its internal energy, leading to the generation of heat. An overheated PV panel results in a decline in its performance, which calls for an efficient cooling mechanism that can offer an optimum output of electrical power. In the present numerical work, thermal management with a porous nanochannels device capable of dissipating a high heat flux is employed to regulate the temperature of a commercial PV panel by integrating the device on the back face of the panel. The spatial and temporal variation of the PV surface temperature is obtained by solving the energy balance equation numerically. By evaluating the steady-state PV surface temperature with and without thermal management, the extent of cooling and the resulting enhancement of the electrical power output are studied in detail. The nanochannels device is found to reduce the PV surface temperature significantly with an average cooling of 31.5 °C. Additionally, the enhancement of the electrical power output by ∼33% and the reduction in the response time to 1/8th highlight the potential of using porous nanochannels as a thermal management device. Furthermore, the numerical method is used to develop a universal curve that can predict the extent of PV cooling for any generic thermal management device.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Fuel Technology
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology