This project aims to design a solar PV module that lowers operating temperatures, increases power output and improves a system’s lifespan to further increase solar’s competitiveness.
- UNSW assessed different technologies to cool solar PV modules, including mechanical fins (Vortex Generators), thermally conductive tape, textured glass surfaces, mounting designs, and ground covers.
- The Vortex Generator technology could reduce the levelised cost of energy by 5-8% if implemented as an add-on during module manufacturing. A 2-3°C cooling benefit outweighs the estimated cost of USD 3-5/m2
- The glass texturing technology could reduce the levelised cost of electricity by 3-15 %. This technology can only be implemented when manufacturing PV modules. This benefit varies depending on the actual cooling effect, which has a wide estimate range of 1-5 °C. The cost of this technology is expected to be very low, at less than USD 0.4 /m2
- A key output has been new partnerships with materials and module manufacturers with an interest in manufacturing and deployment tests of new designs.
Solar PV modules produce more power and last longer when they operate at lower temperatures. This project will investigate different module and mounting system designs that aim to lower the operating temperature of solar PV.
Operating temperature has a significant effect on both output power and the long-term durability of solar modules. A ten degree lower operating temperature in the field is projected to lead to a doubling in the module lifespan.
The project will include desktop studies of different module materials and module designs, focusing on enhanced convection and conduction losses and their interaction with the environment, mounting structures and field design.
The project combines the established expertise in cell and module design at UNSW with the materials science and manufacturing expertise of project partner 3M Company. The project will assess multiple types of solar panel technologies and installations.
Lowering solar module operating temperatures in the field will increase the module lifespan. This in turn improves the overall investment prospects of the solar farm and results in more competitive solar pricing due to increased yield.
A key output will be prospective partnerships with module manufacturers and innovators, including project partner 5B Solar and solar farm developers with an interest in manufacturing and deployment tests of new designs. Success will see the delivery of cost-effective and innovative module designs to change to the way modules are manufactured or deployed.