Solar PV R&D
Under bright sunshine, solar panels typically operate 30°C above ambient temperature when rack-mounted in the field and an additional 10-15°C hotter when roof-mounted. Not only does this reduce peak power output by 15-20% below rated performance, but it also accelerates all chemical degradation processes within the panel and shortens its operating
The question arises, are there passive cooling techniques that can be built into the module or the mounting structures that enhance cooling, and can this be done cost effectively?
This project targets improved solar panel design to lower the operating temperatures in the field, leading to higher efficiency, and increased energy production. We do this be comparing and testing the benefits of several passive cooling technologies:
- Can we reflect the light from the surface that doesn’t contribute to energy production
but leads to heating of the module?
- Can we conduct the heat that is generated away from the surface?
- Can we improve material properties to radiate heat efficiently from the surfaces?
- Can we change the structure to improve air flow to remove heat efficiently?