The main focus area of this research paper to efficiently remove the heat generated during conversion of solar energy into electricity using photovoltaic (PV) module. The photovoltaic conversion efficiency of commercial available PV module varies in the range of 8%–20% depending on the type of solar cell materials used for the module construction, e.g. crystalline silicon, thin film, CIGS, organic, etc. During the conversion process, only a small fraction of the incident solar radiation is utilize by PV cells to produce electricity and the remaining is converted into waste heat in the module which causes the PV cell temperature to increase and its efficiency to drop. This thermal energy could be extract using air or water as a heat removal fluid to utilize in heating applications. The purpose of a solar photovoltaic module is to convert solar energy into electricity. The hybrid combination of photovoltaic module and thermal collector called Photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) module. Such PVT module combines a PV, which converts electromagnetic radiation (photons) into electricity, with a solar thermal module, which captures the remaining energy and removes waste heat from the PV module. Cooling of cells either by natural or forced circulation can reduce the PV cell temperature. The simultaneous cooling of the PV cells maintains their PV efficiency at a satisfactory level and offers a better way of utilizing solar energy by generating thermal energy as well. PVT system has higher overall efficiency as compared to separate PV and thermal collector. The heat output of a PVT module can be used for space heating or production of domestic hot water.
This paper presents an innovative design of top cooling Thermal Photovoltaic (T-PV) module and its performance under outdoor weather condition of Singapore. T-PV collector is designed to flow fluid over the top of PV panel through a very narrow gap between the solar lens. This process improves heat removal process from PV panel, and hence, improves the electrical output of PV panel as compared to other PVT collector available in the market. By flowing the water from top of the PV panel will also provide better thermal efficiency. A T-PV collector system with storage tank, sensors, pump, flow meters, data logger and controls, have been installed at test-site located in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore. Performance analysis of T-PV collector system has been evaluated under the tropical climatic conditions of Singapore. It was found that T-PV module could produce additional electrical power as compared to standard PV panel of same capacity by operating at lower temperature. In addition to electricity, T-PV panel also generate the hot water up to 60 deg C at an average thermal efficiency of 41% for usage in residential and commercial buildings. The average thermal energy output was 3.1 kWh/day on typical day’s basis.