Finite difference thermal model of a latent heat storage system coupled with a photovoltaic device: Description and experimental validation

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Abstract

The use of photovoltaic (PV) systems has been showing a significant growth trend but for a more effective development of this technology it is essential to have higher energy conversion performances. Producers of PV often declare an higher efficiency respect to real conditions and this deviation is mainly due to the difference between nominal and real temperature conditions of the PV. To improve the solar cell energy conversion efficiency many authors have proposed a methodology to keep lower the temperature of a PV system: a modified PV system built with a normal PV panel coupled with a Phase Change Material (PCM) heat storage device. In this paper is described a thermal model analysis of the PV–PCM system based on a theoretical study using finite difference approach. The authors developed an algorithm based on an explicit finite difference formulation of energy balance of the PV–PCM system. To this aim, a forward difference at time t and a first-order central difference for the space derivative at position x was used. Two sets of recursive equations were developed for two types of spatial domains: a boundary domain and an internal domain .The reliability of the developed model is tested by a comparison with data coming from a test facility. Results of this experience confirm the performed numerical simulations and show that the proposed model is valid and can be used to determine the thermal behaviour of a solar cell coupled with a PCM heat storage device.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-193
Number of pages13
JournalRenewable Energy
Volume68
Publication statusPublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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