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Numerical Simulations of a PV Module with Phase Change Material (PV-PCM) under Variable Weather Conditions

Stefano Aneli, Roberta Arena,
International Journal of Heat and Technology , Volume 39, pp 643-652; doi:10.18280/ijht.390236

Abstract: The electrical efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) modules can be improved through the cooling of the PV. Among the passive cooling strategy, one of the most promising concerns the use of phase change materials (PCMs) to decrease the operative temperature of a PV panel. This paper investigates the performances of a conventional PV panel in which two organic PCMs are added (PV-PCM) to reduce the temperature rise of PV cells and consequently to increase the electrical performances. With this aim, unsteady numerical simulations have been carried with Ansys Fluent software using a two-dimensional simplified geometry for the PV modules with the PCM is incorporated (PV-PCM), as well as for the benchmark PV module. The numerical simulations have allowed evaluating the PV cell temperatures, the power production, as well the PCM thermal behavior. As regards this latter aspect the dynamic analysis has evidenced the need to extend the time of simulation at least for two days in such way to take into account of the degree of solidification achieved during the night by the PCM materials. PCM with low melting temperature cannot complete solidifying during the night and so the heat stored during the day will be lesser than the theoretical one. The results of this study pointed out that the PV-PCM units allow achieving higher performances in comparison with a conventional PV module, especially during the hottest months. An increase in the peak power of 10% and of 3.5% of the energy produced all year round is attained.
Keywords: numerical simulations / PV module / conventional PV / behavior / PV PCM

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