Solar PV R&DProject Solar PV Module Design
This is the final Knowledge Sharing Report on an investigation into the methods and benefits of different module cooling technologies.
Solar panels spend their entire operating lives out in the sun! Yet If the operating temperature for solar panels is too high, it has a negative impact on how much electricity the module can produce. Higher operating temperatures can also shorten the lifespan of the solar panels.
In this project, the methods and benefits of different module cooling technologies were investigated. Models and simulations were used to expand on previous research to discover and improve ways for lowering operating temperatures of modules.
The project supported a desktop study at UNSW, co-sponsored by ARENA, materials manufacturer 3M Ltd and Australian Innovator 5B Pty Ltd to deliver modelling and optimisation for module and system design for lower field operating temperature.
Research focussed on conduction of heat, managing air flow and the reflection and radiation of light to reduce temperature effects. Models were built that looked at a whole-of-system analysis to develop practical, cost-effective and innovative module designs.
Initial studies have been completed and resulted in impressive outcomes that have prompted the filing of three related patents, significant interest at an international PV Module Reliability Workshop (NREL, March, 2018).
The improvements modelled will result in better module materials and changes to the way modules are manufactured and/or deployed, with a target cost of 5 to 10 USD per 1.5m2 of module.