Modeling and simulation of the effects of cooling photovoltaic panels
The purpose of this study is to develop a flexible computer tool to predict the power produced by a photovoltaic (PV) panel. The performance of the PV panel is dependent on the incident solar radiation and the cell temperature. The computer tool predicts voltage-current curves, power-voltage curves, and maximum power point values. Five different models are implemented to predict the temperature of the panel, and comparison between the different thermal models is good. A thermal capacitance approach that uses a simple relationship for the forced convection heat transfer coefficient is used to predict the cell temperature. Both the electrical and temperature models are verified through comparisons using PVWatts and validated by comparisons to measured values. The model is flexible in the sense that it can be applied to PV arrays of any size, at any location, and of different cell types. After being verified and validated, the model is used to investigate the effects of cooling on the photovoltaic panel to improve the panel efficiency and increase its power output. Typical results show that for every degree Celsius rise in temperature, the efficiency of the solar panel is reduced by 0.5%. The effect of cooling and the resulting increase in energy production in two different climatic zones are studied and discussed.