Performance of four air-based photovoltaic thermal collectors configurations with bifacial solar cells

Highlights

Four bifacial photovoltaic thermal solar collectors were designed, fabricated and evaluated at steady state conditions.

Mathematical models were developed based on the first and second laws of thermodynamics.

The highest energy and exergy gains were observed at the highest packing factors.

The highest total energy efficiency was observed at the double-path parallel flow design (51%–67%).

Abstract

This paper presents the experimental and analytical investigation of four air-based bifacial photovoltaic thermal collectors. The experiments were performed on four bifacial PV panels with four different packing factors and four different configurations of air-based PVT collectors. A mathematical model was developed to evaluate the energy and exergy performance of the collectors. The four designs were studied in under the steady-state conditions. All four models of photovoltaic thermal collectors were fabricated and indoor experimental studies were conducted using the solar simulator. The double-path parallel flow design indicated the highest total energy efficiency of 51%–67%, and the single-path design indicated the lowest total energy efficiency of 28%–49%, at a 0.7 packing factor. The single-path collector design is the best option if electrical energy is the dominant desired output energy. However, double-path parallel flow design is the best option if the thermal energy is the dominant desired output energy. In addition, the single-path design had the highest exergy efficiency (8.2%–8.4%) followed by double-path parallel flow design (7.2%–8%).

Keywords

  • Bifacial solar cell;
  • Photovoltaic thermal collectors;
  • Energy balance;
  • Air-based;
  • Exergy analysis;
  • Reflector

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