Increased Lifespan and Energy Output from Passively Cooled PV Modules

Technology #32952

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Typical module configuration as modified in this invention
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Researchers
Robert Reedy
External Link (www.fsec.ucf.edu)
Managed By
Raju Nagaiah
Licensing Associate 407.882.0593
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending

By maintaining cooler temperatures on a daily basis, as well as throughout the life of a photovoltaic (PV) module, this invention from researchers at the University of Central Florida improves energy output and extends module lifespan. One issue that this novel passive cooling method remedies is the degradation of PV cells which is accelerated by high atmospheric temperature. Additionally, over a year’s time, crystalline-silicon PV modules may lose as much as one percent of power output, which increases the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE). Where uncooled modules lose around 0.4 – 0.5 percent of energy output per degree Celsius rise in temperature, the new advancement preserves and maintains PV module energy output over time, without the drawbacks of conventional methods. Most solutions currently on the market to overcome this issue contributed to increased cost and complexity of manufacturing PV modules.

Technical Details

A PV cell that incorporates this invention can function more efficiently by laterally transporting the heat along the planar heat sink. The module configuration is comprised of two unique layers. The insulating layer consists of a very thin film of electrically insulating material, located between the PV cell substrate and the lower layers. This is followed by the planar heat sink layer, made of thermally conducting material such as graphene or aluminum. Channels or tubes, which can be economically fabricated, are incorporated across a full dimension, lengthwise or by width, of the module. This arrangement allows ambient air to flow through the channels while absorbing heat from the channel wall. Due to the typical mounting angle of PV modules, these tubes or channels convectively carry the heat out of the end of the channels.

Benefits

  • Increased electrical output
  • Longer lifespan
  • Greater cooling effectiveness
  • Greater cell reliability
  • Compatibility with current manufacturing techniques

Applications

  • Photovolatic cells
    • c-Si PV cells